MAGAZINE: City College photo professor making best with dark (class)room

Dave Eichinger overcoming challenges of teaching photography classes remotely during the pandemic

Dave Eichinger

City College photography professor Dave Eichinger. Photo by Marina Moloditz

Brittney Gray, Contributor

Legend Magazine Cover

This story originally appeared in the fall 2020 edition of the Legend Magazine

The darkroom may be closed, but San Diego City College students are still learning the methods of photography with Dave Eichinger, a professor of photography for 16 years.

Eichinger has been teaching remotely since March when his classes were suddenly moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lacking access to facilities on campus has created unique challenges for Eichinger and his students, but he has tried his best to work with what they have.

“Students don’t have professional studios at home, and they don’t have darkrooms at home,” he said.

During online photography classes in the past, students were able to bring their camera to Eichinger to solve technical issues in person. Now, troubleshooting camera problems is “difficult, if not impossible,” he said.

Eichinger always wanted to be a teacher, first wanting to teach music before discovering his passion for photography. He decided that’s what he wanted to teach, and has done so for over 41 years.

Lindsey Best
Lindsey Best, a former City College student, performs on stage. Photo by Dave Elchinger

He takes great pride in the many success stories of his former students, with one having gone on to become a renowned music photographer and others who have held popular showcases of their work.

Eichinger has seen a lot of changes in the technology used in photography over his many years of teaching, along with the students who have grown up with it.

“I’ve had students in class who have never seen a roll of film before,” he said.

He even has a few tips for smartphone photographers, too.

“Take a photography class specifically for smartphones,” he said.

For photo editing, he recommends using apps like SnapSeed. Finally, he talked about making sure to print as much as you can.

“If you think your grandkids are going to have the password to your cloud photographs, you’re crazy,” he said.

Though, he admitted, most of the photographs taken today probably aren’t worth saving.

“Everything that’s being shot today, 99 percent of it is going to be lost,” Eichinger said. “And a lot of it should be lost.”

As for the future, Eichinger hopes to get back in the darkroom to develop all of the photos he’s been shooting recently.

“I have several rolls of films here that I need to get developed one of these days,” he said. “When I’m allowed to.”

To see more of Dave Eichinger’s photography, please visit

To view his Instagram, visit

Brittney Gray was a student in the DJRN 200, Newswriting for Multimedia, during the fall 2020 semester.