The Students of Deep Springs College

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Deep Springs College is the most unusual college in America. Arguably, it is also the best. It is located in such a remote place in the high desert in eastern California that its mailing address is in Nevada -- and the nearest gas pump is thirty miles away over a mountain pass. There are up to twenty-six students who hire and fire the faculty, design the curriculum, select the incoming students, do all of the work on the college's organic farm and ranch, cook the meals, work in the office, and generally maintain the school. Tuition is free. Does this sound like a 1960s college run by ex-hippies? Far from it. Deep Springs has been in existence since 1917.

Academically, Deep Springs is virtually unrivaled. The students at this two-year, all-male school are invited to apply from among the top two percent of College Board score achievers, though others may also apply. In a recent poll, Deep Springs College ranked third academically, behind only Princeton and Yale.

Photographer Michael A. Smith discovered Deep Springs College quite by chance after photographing in California's remote White Mountains. He eventually went back to Deep Springs to teach for a term. While in residence he created a superb photographic portrait of the college. Since at Deep Springs the students are the college to a degree unapproached by any other college or university, Deep Springs is shown through portraits of the students. Smith's photographs impart a deeply personal vision and capture the essence of America's most remarkable educational institution.

To accompany their portraits, the students contributed autobiographical notes as well as writings about their experiences at the school. Collectively, these writings give the reader a vivid sense of the Deep Springs College experience.

In his essay about the history, philosophy, and life of the college, L. Jackson Newell, President of Deep Springs College, provides important information that rounds out the picture of the school and sets the photographs in context.

In the afterword, noted author and former Deep Springs student, William T. Vollmann, recounts some of his memorable experiences at the college and recognizes how they formed a touchstone for living.

With this book, the story of this amazing college is revealed to a wide public for the first time. The photographs, reproduced from 8" x 10" and 8" x 20" contact prints are printed in 600-line screen quadtone. This book sets a new standard in the reproduction of photographs.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781888899023
  • Publisher: Lodima Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 86
  • Product dimensions: 9.88 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

The Students
Samuel Tregar
Jacob Giessman
Nikolai Slywka
Nathaniel Birdsall
Octavian Drulea
Christian Von Nicholson
Stephen Singer
Joe Gardner Wessely
John Dewis
Geoffrey Andersen
Owen Gjertsen
Franklin Zaromb
Joshua Kim
T. Abraham Lentner
Fritz Donnelly
Aron Fischer
Mihir Kshirsagar
Rosten Woo
Carson Thoreen
John-Henry Behrens
Zachary Herold
Mark Rutschman-Byler
Matthew Kwatinetz
David Gregory
Keith Hiestand
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