Tommi Cahill

Asst Professor, Art



P: 909.748.8822

Office: Art, Peppers Art Center 

Current Research

Currently she is working on a candid narrative photographic portrait series about the unexpected pageantry of the world around her. She is looking and thinking about the ways in which people interact and cope with others as well as objects, landscapes, animals and the inevitable solitude and struggle with self.

Description of Research and Professional Background Highlight

Themes of my work range from gender and sexuality to perception.

For two years during my graduate studies at Yale University I rented a room inside a fraternity house. I was the only woman in residency. Everyday I would awaken to the aftermath of senseless acts of destruction and find a newly transformed house from the night before. At any and all hours of the night they would summon me to rise and make photographs of themselves running through the halls naked or lighting things on fire. I was constantly amazed to find that no matter what their background or breeding they were still utter slobs, temporarily afflicted with amnesia regarding anything to do with decorum. Yet, oddly, throughout all of this mayhem I found that there was an underlying true love and intimacy the boys shared with each other--underneath all of their bravado they could be vulnerable and deeply caring individuals. In turn the biggest surprise was that these man-children were, somehow, coming into their own. Forging their way to become the leaders of tomorrow.

My current work has been driven by the fascination of the human spirit and the lengths one will go to for their dreams. Limelight, a portrait series, provides an intimate look at background actors who are pursuing their dreams of cinematic acclaim in an unforgiving industry. These Tinseltown workers come from all stations of society -- from wealthy adventurers to ex-cons -- but all of them are hoping to be "discovered," hoping to hang in there until they get that "big break." But, ultimately, it is often about the perusal of dreams that are all too often unrealized. Though extra work is a means to an end, it is not an easy one with up to 16-hour days and minimal compensation. The stark reality is that vocation is not invariably a fruitful one.

Courses Taught at Redlands

  • Beginning Photography
  • Digital Imaging
  • Advanced Senior Projects
  • Portrait Photography

Degrees Held

  • 2004 BFA California Institute of the Art,

  • 2006 MFA Yale

Previous Teaching Experience

Long Beach City College, Long Beach, CA
Art 80 Elements of Photography
PHOT 281AD - Photography Lab
PHOTO 291AD- Advanced Photography Lab

Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, CA
Beginning Photography

Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Beginning Photography

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
Gallery Teacher, K-12 tours, Programs, and Teacher Professional Development

Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT
Teaching Assistant to Phillip Pisciotta, Intermidiate Photography

Yale University Summer School of Music and Art
Art Division Teaching Assistant to David Hilliard, Beginning Photography

California Arts Partnership, Valencia, CA
Teaching Assistant to Darrel Walters, 14-18 year olds Beginning Photography

Major Awards

Richard Benson Prize for excellence in photography (2006)

Significant Publications and Exhibitions

  • FABRICA-The First Ten Years , 2007

  • Espace Croisé 1994-2006, 2006

  • Yale 2006 MFA Photography GYST Press, New Haven, CT 2006

  • Fabrica Nick and Me. Tommi Cahill artist in residence, Documentary 2004

  • Her work is included in the collection at the Yale University Art Gallery.