The Department of Photography and Imaging is centered on the making and understanding of images. The curriculum is built around two principal areas: creative practice and critical studies. Creative practice covers camera vision and presentation techniques while critical studies covers the history of film-based photography and contemporary new media strategies. A comprehensive understanding of the tradition of visual art directly supports the student as she or he develops a personal creative identity.
The freshman year includes studio courses Visual Thinking, a non-photography art-making course, and the photography and imaging digital and analog courses that provide a foundation in black-and-white photography, color photography, digital imaging, and darkroom and digital printing. These courses introduce tools while students simultaneously work on assignments and individualized projects. The freshman year offers a critical studies course in contemporary media entitled Culture, History, Imaging, and Photography Studies.
Sophomores complete the studio and critical studies foundation courses and begin to master various modes of photographic production, developing a personal vision while studying the history of photography and critical theory. In either the sophomore or junior years, students take the final studio foundation-level requirement, which will be one of any of the photography and imaging conceptual, photo-based courses, incorporating elements of moving image, sound, and Web. For critical studies, sophomores take the Social History of Photography. A series of liberal arts courses is also required, including one in the history of art. For the remainder of the sophomore and junior years, students take courses according to his or her creative focus and critical studies interests.
During the fall semester, all seniors take Senior Directed Projects to develop and complete their thesis projects. There is a series of senior exhibitions throughout the spring semester, the last of which is the B.F.A. exhibition. Accompanying this show is the B.F.A. catalog, which is produced by seniors in the course Senior Focus: Catalog, in which design and production of a catalog is learned. Many seniors also take the Business of Art, which offers seniors the opportunity to prepare portfolios and write grants for professional work and graduate school.