The photography area provides artists with a clear understanding of the photography medium by exposing the various practices and intellectual positions available, ranging from documentary and representational traditions, to digital photography and new media.
Beginning courses provide a technical and conceptual background upon which to build a viable and engaging photographic practice within an art context. Introductions to basic 35mm-camera functions as well as black-and-white analogue procedures are the main technical emphases of the course. In addition to learning to make photographs, courses ask: What is a photographic practice within an art context? Students address what it means to critically evaluate one's own photographs and those of others within an art context.
Intermediate courses continue an examination of the aesthetic, conceptual, technical, and historical tools necessary for a well-informed, deliberate art practice. Courses consists of critiques, class readings, technical seminars, and informal lectures on photographic histories and contemporary practices, with a emphasis on the history and contemporary use of color photography using medium-format cameras. Students further develop their ability to critically evaluate and write about photographs, and understand production within a historical and critical framework.
Advanced courses facilitate a shift from teacher-assigned work to self-directed, self-motivated research and art production. Students are encouraged to assemble a unique constellation of interests that posit new associations untenable in other fields. The process of making photographic art is the focus of this course as much as the final outcome. As a result, there is a combination of self-assigned artwork, creative exercises designed to expand skills of research and exploration, and technical demonstrations. Technical skills introduced in this course include the 4x5 field camera, advanced strobe lighting techniques, and advanced scanning techniques.