A photographer’s growth is the product of the simultaneous development of three interdependent factors. The first is the conscious or intuitive understanding of the visual language of photography—that is, how the world is translated into a photograph and how a photograph orders a segment of the world in the space and time that it shows. This is a photograph’s grammar. The second factor is the acquisition of technique. Without a technical foundation there is no possibility of expression; the broader the foundation, the greater the scope of expression. This is a photograph’s vocabulary. The third factor is the photographer’s work on his or her self. This entails overcoming visual and psychological preconceptions and conditioning, deepening and clarifying perceptions, opening emotions, and finding passions. This is a photograph’s content. The Photography Program instructs students in this three-part process and provides a historical and aesthetic framework for their development.
Photography students are expected to take and pass one studio course in photography each semester; Photography 113, History of Photography; at least one upper-level history of photography course; and one additional art history course. Moderation occurs at the end of the fourth semester: by that time photography majors should have earned at least 60 credits and taken Photography 113 and at least two semesters of photography studio classes. The student meets with a Moderation board, presenting two short papers and a portfolio of 30 prints, 8” x 10” or larger. The portfolio demonstrates to the Moderation board whether the student can see and think photographically, can communicate his or her perceptions and feelings in pictures, and possesses the technical skills required for expression.
Recent Senior Projects in Photography
- “A Photograph Is Always Invisible”
- “Poser,” vernacular self-portraits that address the public performance of white American women in the digital age
- “Still: A Photographic Meditation on Representation and Memory”
- “What Would Life Be Like without Pictures?”
Following is a course of study for studio classes. First semester: Photography 101, Introduction to Photography. In the second through fourth semesters: Photography 105, Photographic Seeing; Photography 201, The View Camera; and Photography 203, Color Photography. In the fifth and sixth semesters: Photography 301–302, Advanced Photography, and Photography 305, Digital Imaging. Students work on their Senior Project in the seventh and eighth semesters.