Get Psyched: Photographer Jeff Topping on Positive Psychology

Monday, December 4, 2023
Jeff Topping at Changing Hands Bookstore recently took at Positive Psychology class at Phoenix College with professor Anndee Rickey

Jeff Topping started making photographs in 1976, when he bought a camera for a bicycle trip. “I thought, Maybe I can make this a profession.” When he arrived in Phoenix, he took some lessons at Your Darkroom: processing film, making prints, and learning about exposure.  He moved to Flagstaff and took a few photojournalism classes at NAU and transferred to ASU for a degree in journalism with an emphasis in photojournalism. He interned at Tempe Daily News and then took a full-time job at the Mesa Tribune for nine years.  “I quit and freelanced from 1990 to 2008 for The New York Times, Associated Press (AP), Reuters, a few magazines, and some other clients, but mostly editorial stuff with the wire services.” See Jeff's photography work on his website

Jeff eventually moved to Dubai to work for an English language newspaper for four years and stayed in Dubai as a freelancer. Several years ago, Jeff returned to Central Phoenix where he has owned a house in the Roosevelt neighborhood for over twenty five years and became a volunteer mentor for Kids in Focus, a local nonprofit dedicated to mentoring youth to overcome adversity and build resilience through the art of photography.  At one of the events, he met Phoenix College Psychology professor, Anndee Rickey. “She told me about her class and I knew Phoenix College had a good reputation, so I took her 200 level psychology course. We read The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World and discussed the relationship between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, how they interact with other people, and what it means to be compassionate. I learned how to work with people and understand the human process more than before I took the class. As a journalist, I enjoyed writing papers for the class since I did a lot of that in my career.” 

Want to learn more about Positive Psychology and the Science of Well-Being?  Sign up for the Spring 2024 class or check out other Psychology classes we offer.