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The MPS Fashion Photography program is a one- year intensive degree program for the technologically proficient photographer who wants to develop a more creative and original body of work through an immersion in the narrative, conceptual and cultural subtext of fashion photography, and with direct engagement with the leading figures in fashion and fashion photography in New York.

At the core of the program is a 30-week Critique course as well as the weekend Symposium. The Critique is a weekly gathering in which the students discuss and challenge each other's work, guided by a faculty-moderator. It is a team effort: the critique sessions are individually conducted one evening per month by four different faculty. The weekend Symposium is a flexible format that acts as a framework for critiques with fashion photographers, creative directors, museum directors, and fashion designers and for field trips, lectures, readings, fashion shows and exhibitions, and various dialogues with industry professionals. An emphasis is placed on the synthesis of diverse and unexpected cultural information as pictorial inspiration.

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Video, and its increasing importance in fashion, will be central to the program, and as a new genre, what constitutes fashion video will be developed and defined and shaped. The influence of the Internet, social networking and transformations in media and publishing will be part of the conversation, and each student will be expected to complete a fully realized video piece.

One-semester courses will be held on fashion photography topics such as history, logistics, career development, digital practice, narrative and cinema. The goal of the program is the cultivation of an individual sensibility that will withstand the pressure for aesthetic and market compromise, and will profoundly influence the future of the medium.


• Successful completion of 30 credits, including all required courses and thesis project. Documentation of all thesis projects must be on file in the Fashion Photography Department to be eligible for degree conferral. 

• Two semesters of residency (fall, spring). Students must complete their degree within two years, unless given an official extension by the provost. 

• Students are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) in order to remain in good academic standing. 

Note: Departmental requirements are subject to change by the department chair if the chair deems that such change is warranted.



PFG-5140 Fashion Photography Critique I
PFG-5145 Fashion Photography Critique II
PFG-5170 Symposium I
PFG-5175 Symposium II
PFG-5330 History of Fashion Photography
PFG-5510 Fashion Photography Today
PFG-5530 Seminar
PFG-5570 Concept and Narrative 
PFG-5630 Video and Fashion Photography I
PFG-5635 Video and Fashion Photography II 

In addition to assignments, students are expected to create and present new work for critique courses every two weeks.

General Course Listing

PFG-5140 / PFG-5145
Fashion Photography Critique I and II
Fall and spring semesters: 3 credits per semester
At the conceptual core of the program is the weekly discussion of each participant’s images, followed by a rigorous and thorough analysis of those works. As an intimacy with one another’s work and objectives develops, the work becomes refined through being challenged. A vigorous participation in the conversation about each person’s work, and a balance of generosity and useful criticism is expected. 

PFG-5170 / PFG-5175
Symposium I and II
Fall and spring semesters: 3 credits per semester
Throughout the year of study, Symposium acts as a weekly gathering of program participants for an array of activities: guest lectures and critiques, and field trips to museums and gallery exhibitions. The emphasis will be on bringing a broad range of cultural ideas to the conversation, and to partake in the resources that New York City has to offer. 

History of Fashion Photography
Spring semester: 3 credits
Serving as a chronological examination of fashion photography, this course will begin with its inception as society reportage and its early flowering alongside pictorialism, surrealism and modernism in the 1920s and ‘30s. We will then follow the creative developments of the genre both during the Second World War and the postwar era, when the American fashion industry emerged, and through the great social and stylistic changes of the 1960s and ‘70s. Finally, the course will consider the influence of social liberalization on fashion imagery; the growth and globalization of the fashion image; and the impact of digital photography, the Internet and Photoshop from the 1990s to the present. 

Fashion Photography Today
Fall semester: 3 credits
The course will use as its premise the notion that the fashion photographer has taken on a role in culture that is unique among other photographers and visual artists in general. By looking at major talents of the very late 20th and early 21st centuries, we will see how the idea of a fashion photographer has evolved into a vastly more significant force than in previous eras. Fashion photographers have become celebrities in themselves and beyond just creatively recording trends in fashion, they are often times helping to drive the discourse. Using a geographical jumping-off point, topics such as Surreal Los Angeles: Ritts and Rolston, London thru Knight and Day and Steven Meisel’s New York will be explored. Students will complete readings on numerous topics as well as assignments developed to help focus their creative vision. There will be guest lecturers from both the editorial and fine art fields. 

Fall semester: 3 credits
With two faculty members working with students as a project team on a rotating basis, this course will support the efforts of each student’s collaborative projects in achieving an original and coherent set of images. 

Concept and Narrative
Fall semester: 3 credits
Similar to cinema, fashion photography is a collaborative medium, and its success lies in photographer’s ability to work with a crew of individuals to produce the desired image. This course will address the logistics of that effort, and emphasize the importance of creative collaboration. Each student, based on his or her sensibility and aesthetic, will form a creative team from the ranks of the professional photographic community. 

PFG-5630 / PFG-5635
Video and Fashion Photography I and II
Fall and spring semesters: 3 credits per semester
Partly as a result of the rapid transformations in media and publishing, and the influence of the Internet, fashion video has become increasingly important and the subject of much speculation. As a fashion venue, it increases narrative and contributes sound, music and motion. These courses will focus on the production of a video short. Sessions will include digital lab time with editing instruction.

Contact Information

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587