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Staff Report
9:58 am PST December 27, 2018

The Santa Monica College Photography Department is offering free, private group portrait sessions to families affected by the Woolsey Fire. 

Each family will get a 20-minute photo session on Saturday, Jan. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the photo studios (Drescher Hall, Room 110) at SMC’s main campus, 1900 Pico Blvd., in Santa Monica. Sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hair and makeup touch-up services will be provided by SMC Cosmetology students, and SMC Fashion Design & Merchandising students also will be on hand to assist with any last-minute wardrobe styling adjustments. 

Each family will receive a complimentary matted 8x10 archival black-and-white print, as well as 10 digital images for personal use.

Appointments can be booked through 

According to SMC Photography Instructor Blue Fier, the Old Topanga Fire of 1993, which caused widespread destruction in Malibu, was the original impetus for the project. 

“I remember seeing families, friends, and people of all ages being interviewed by TV newscasters,” Fier said. “What touched me was that nearly all of those whose homes had been burnt said they were glad they grabbed their family photo albums ... or that they regretted not having taken them.”

At the time, Fier took family portraits for free as a personal project. This time, Fier thought it would be an ideal project for SMC students.

The participating student photographers are enrolled in Josh Withers’ Photo 31 (Lighting for People 1) course, and in Photography Department Chair Josh Sanseri’s Photo 32 (Lighting for People 2) course.

The photo sessions are sponsored by Workbook, Dripbook, Yodelist LLC and Red River Paper. Additional inquiries may be directed to SMC Photography professor Craig Mohr at (310) 434-8163. 

Free parking is available in campus parking lots adjacent to Drescher Hall on Pico Boulevard (Lots 3 and 4). To view a map of SMC’s main campus, visit

The Santa Monica College Foundation also has partnered with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified District to raise funds for over 150 families of students and employees who lost homes and/or had their homes damaged in the Woolsey Fire. Donations can be made to

News Briefs are compiled by Editor Lauren Coughlin,