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Degree Requirements 

1.   Successful completion of 120 credits, including all required courses, with a basic distribution of at least: 

• 72 credits in studio art
• 30 credits in humanities and sciences 
• 15 credits in art history 
• 3 elective credits

2.     Students must meet all requirements of the BFA Photography and Video Department and complete a portfolio review at the end of each year. Students may enter their next year level only after all Photography and Video Department requirements have been satisfied in their current year.

3.     Students must successfully pass a departmental evaluation of studio work at the end of the fourth year to be conducted either by faculty committee or by the chair.

First-Year Requirements

AHD-1090 History of Photography 
PHD-1030 Workshop I
PHD-1035 Workshop II
PHD-1060 Photography on Assignment
PHD-1080 Digital Photograhy I
PHD-1085 Digital Photogtaphy II
PHD-1110 Video I
PHD-1280 Picture Symposium
HCD-1020 Writing and Literature I
HCD-1025 Writing and Literature II 

Second-Year Requirements

The recommended course load is 15 credits per semester. All students should see their advisor about individual art history and humanities and sciences distribution credit needs. 

Second-year photography and video majors are required to take one semester of:

PHD-2040  Studio I
PHD-2045  Studio II
PHD-2060  Critique I
PHD-2065  Critique II
PHD-2070  The Critical Eye I: Writing, Reading, Seeing, Discussing
PHD-2075  Visual Literacy
PHD-2090  Video II
PHD-2092-2096 Intermediate Digital Photography
PHD-2120  The Professional Community

Third-Year Requirements

The recommended course load is 15 credits per semester. All students should see their advisor about individual art history and humanities and sciences distribution credit needs. 

Third-year photography and video majors are required to take:

Requirement A
One semester each of
PHD-3040 Seminar I
PHD-3045 Seminar II
PHD-3060 Visual Literacy
PHD-2092-2096  Intermediate Digital Photography
  or PHD-3091-3097 Advanced Video 

Requirement B
One 3-credit studio elective chosen from the following departments: animation; computer art, computer animation and visual effects; film; fine arts; photography and video. 

Requirement C
Third-year students must choose one of the following art history courses to complement their photographic literacy with a deeper understanding of the history of video or related media, including cinema and other screen arts.
AHD-2068   The Language of Film
AHD-2070   International Cinema
AHD-2302   History of Video Art: 1965 to 1985
AHD-2309   Sound Art: Theory and Practice
AHD-2429   Cinema and Revolution
AHD-2553   Experiencing Contemporary Art in New York City’s Galleries and Museums
AHD-2713   Film Noir
AHD-2722   History of Comedy in Films
AHD-2732   Image-Making in the 1960s
AHD-2737   Paranoid Style in Hollywood Film
AHD-2744   Student Protest on Film
AHD-2761   Wandering in the Boneyard: The Horror Film Genre
AHD-2080   Who’s Looking? (The Function of Women in Film)
AHD-2811   Women Make Movies
AHD-3067   American Maverick Filmmakers
AHD-3138   Body, Gesture, Cinema
AHD-3140   Memory and History in Film
AHD-3404   Experimental Movies: 1918 to 1980
AHD-3899   The Experimental, Electronic Moving Image: 1965 to the Present



Fourth-Year Requirements

Fourth-year students must submit their finished thesis portfolios to the department chair no later than two weeks before the end of the semester. In addition to the requirements that follow, students may take other supplemental portfolio courses for credit. 

Fourth-year photography and video majors are required to take:

Requirement A
One semester each of
PHD-4080  Thesis I
PHD-4085  Thesis II 

Requirement B
9 studio credits of photography and video electives, chosen from the elective courses for photography and video majors only (please refer to the Photography and Video General Course Listing for course descriptions and information) 

3 elective credits chosen from any undergraduate area, including photography and video.

Students must see their advisor early to determine remaining credit needs and requirements and must be able to complete all 120 credits of the BFA degree, including all course and credit requirements, within the fourth year to be eligible to graduate. 

Photography General Course Listing


History of Photography
One semester: 3 art history credits
Serving as an introduction to the history of photography, this course will examine the major photographic movements and technological advances of the medium from its invention through the first half of the 20th century. Prominent figures from these periods will be closely studied to provide a foundation for understanding not only the medium’s history but also the limitations of canonical approach to understanding photography’s democratic reach. 

Workshop I
One semester: 3 studio credits
With an emphasis on extensive darkroom work and group critique, this course will cover printing, negative development, spotting and mounting. Assignments will be given and students will submit a portfolio at the end of the semester. 

Workshop II
One semester: 3 studio credits
With an emphasis on extensive Lightroom work and group critique, this course will focus on making archival pigment prints from color negatives and digital files, and color correcting, as well as creating digital video content, and color grading, for viewing on multiple platforms. Establishing a strong technical foundation in color and developing a personal, aesthetic direction will also be stressed. Photography and video assignments will be given and students will submit a portfolio at the end of the semester. 

Photography on Assignment
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course in photographic nuts and bolts will include technical demonstrations and assignments concerning the use of meters, filters, lighting and flash, among other topics. Students will be given location assignments, which will imitate those of a commercial or editorial photographer working in the current marketplace. The course emphasizes the practical, and will help students be flexible and resourceful in their problem solving abilities. Students will receive individual critique of their work. 

Digital Photography I
One semester: 3 studio credits
Gaining a fundamental understanding of Adobe Photoshop, Bridge and Lightroom applications will be the focus of this course. Topics covered include image size and resolution, flatbed and film scanning, color modes, file formats, painting and editing tools, file management, image adjustments, working with layers and layer masks, and output options. By the end of the semester, students will have a basic understanding of how to work with photographs in a digital environment. 

Digital Photography II
One semester: 3 studio credits
The emphasis of this course will be placed on an exploration of the full potential of Adobe Photoshop. Students will apply advanced digital imaging techniques to their work and critically examine the effects that imaging technologies have on the ways we see and make art. A variety of topics will be covered, including advanced selection techniques, shape-and-text tools, channels, paths, blending modes, filter effects, service bureaus, color management, monitor calibration and digital cameras. 

Video I
One semester: 3 studio credits
The goal of this course is to familiarize students with video in its technical form as well as its conceptual possibilities. Various genres of the medium will be explored, and students will articulate their interests in narrative form. 

Picture Symposium
One semester: 3 studio credits
This foundational course unpacks students preexisting and potential relationships with pictures and image, two central elements of contemporary art, commerce, communication and exchange. Striving toward fluency in the making (speaking) and interpreting (reading) of pictures in all contexts, students will work collaboratively to build a foundation for how to create and circulate still and moving images with the necessary agency to distinguish their voices and identities while communicating with one another as well as audiences beyond their classroom. The current relationships between printed pictures and pictures on screens (computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.) will be closely examined, providing students with a stronger understanding of how to navigate their presence as picture makers in both physical and online spaces of the 21st century. 

HCD-1020 / HCD-1025

Writing and Literature I and II
Two semesters: 3 humanities and sciences credits per semester
The first part of this two-semester offering will help students become capable, critical and independent writers. With its focus on developing an argument, the course offers an introduction to some of the skills necessary for critical analysis of written art. It will include a review of writing basics (grammar, coherence, idea development, sentence and essay structure). Since reading widely is a foundation of good writing, course readings are drawn from a selection of premodern Western works, including drama, poetry, the narrative and the critical essay, which will be used as discussion and writing prompts. The second semester will emphasize essay development, reading and critical thinking. Students will write essays and a research paper, and continue to work on their grammar and essay development. Readings are drawn from a selection of modern works, including drama, poetry, the narrative and the critical essay.


PHD-2040 / PHD-2045
Studio I and II
Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester
The techniques of shooting still and moving images in the studio are covered in these courses. Working in both a daylight studio and in a studio with incandescent lights, strobe and LED panel lighting will be explored. Exercises in still life, animating still life through video capture, portraiture, and other aspects of studio photography and video will be given; images will be produced using a variety of analog and digital devices. 

PHD-2060 / PHD-2065
Critique I and II
Two semesters: 2 studio credits per semester
Critique initiates an in-depth conversation about photography and video as driven by content, and each student’s exploration of subject matter. Intention and articulation will be emphasized. 

The Critical Eye I: Writing, Reading, Seeing, Discussing
One semester: 2 studio credits
This course will introduce the photography and video student to critical discourse. Its aim is to enhance in-class dialogue through readings, writing, and the methodology of observation and criticality, to serve aesthetic production in all photographic and video genres. 

Visual Literacy
One semester: 2 studio credits
This course covers the history of photography from the postwar period to present day, articulating movements, tendencies and styles that have positioned the medium as a central visual art as well as a social, cultural, and political currency. We will identify the prominent figures that appear in contemporary photographic canons while addressing the inherent bias of singular histories. By the end of the course, students will not only be literate in naming and recognizing familiar figures in the medium’s recent practice but should also be able to articulate their own needs in deeply understanding specific photographic histories while being aware of others.

Video II
One semester: 2 studio credits
This course expands upon the technical concepts introduced in PHD-1110, Video I. Its emphasis will be on an enhanced understanding of the medium through critical discourse. 

PHD-2092 through PHD-2096
Intermediate Digital Photography
One semester: 3 studio credits
Having mastered fundamental digital processes, each student chooses an area of digital specialization of interest and relevance to their future photographic activity. 

Intermediate Digital Photography: Fashion and Beauty
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will cover specialized retouching skills needed to attain successful fashion images. Adobe Photoshop will be the primary software. The course will help students gain increased competence in digital manipulation. 

Intermediate Digital Photography: The Fine Art of Digital Compositing
One semester: 3 studio credits
With advanced image processing, this course will focus on image-making from concept to output. We will examine the essential elements of a successful composite using layers, layer adjustment, advanced masking, retouching techniques, selection, printing and color management. The creative workflow needed to produce compelling and seamless photomontage images will be emphasized. 

Intermediate Digital Photography: Printmaking and Color Management
One semester: 3 studio credits
The goal of this course is to develop a working understanding of the materials, practices and aesthetics of contemporary fine art digital printmaking, especially the use of digital color management tools. Through lectures, demonstrations, project-based assignments, as well as studio visits and field trips to digital labs and galleries, students will expand their proficiency and confidence in producing a personal artistic vision through various digital printmaking techniques. Included with the practical aspects of the course will be an exploration of historical and contemporary uses of digital imaging in commercial and fine art photography. 

Intermediate Digital Photography: Branding Yourself
One semester: 3 studio credits
Creating a brand identity as a photographer and artist is paramount to professional success. In this course, students will produce cohesive projects based on self-promotion, such as business cards, promo cards, photo books, portfolios and websites. The course is designed to further your Adobe Photoshop skills and introduce new skills using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. 

The Professional Community
One semester: 2 studio credits
Through a series of field trips and lectures, students will become familiar with the varied aspects of the professional photographic and video community. Students will also develop an in-depth understanding of self-promotion and résumé building, and skills required for professional communication. Trips to galleries, museums, studios and auction houses, to name a few, will give students firsthand knowledge of professional opportunities. Through guest lecturers, a variety of topics will be addressed: from copyright law to how to work with design, advertising and stock photography agencies, as well as magazines and book publishers. Other practical topics will include grant writing; portfolio design; introducing work to galleries, museum and nonprofit spaces; and alternative means of presentation. 

Introduction to Alternative Process
One semester: 3 studio credits
Do you want to get your hands dirty? Are you looking to go beyond the traditional gelatin silver darkroom? This course is an introduction to analog alternative processes: hand-coated emulsions and nonsilver darkroom processes. Students will become self-sufficient in creating works using chemistry and raw material based techniques and processes, including wet-plate collodion, cyanotype, Van Dyke, kallitype, palladium, gum bichromate, and more. 

Go Shoot Yourself
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course is all about you. Every part of you. Every feeling, every thought, every desire, every fantasy, every relationship, every anxiety and joy. All these factors go into making self-portraits. It doesn’t matter if you’re introverted or extroverted—who you are inside and out becomes your work. You conspire with your camera; you get to be in front of and behind the lens at the same time, alone and/or with others. Plus you have the support of everybody in the class who wants to make intimate, personal pictures. 

Exposing History
One semester: 3 studio credits
History is subjective, murky and hazy, and as time marches forward it can blur even more. History is generally a series of seemingly factual events, but within places, persons and dates, there are revisions and even fictions spun alongside it. For the first century of photography’s existence, it was assumed that the photographic image was a “truthful” document of reality, but we now know that even Alexander Gardner, photographing the Civil War, manipulated what was in front of him for the sake of a better story. This course directs students to actively reinterpret the past through photography. The use of primary archival materials, examined through the filter of photography, is the focus of the course. 

Production and Logistics
One semester: 3 studio credits
The ability to make powerful images is not the same as the ability to make them on demand. A big photo shoot requires planning and non-photography expertise completely unrelated to your creative skills. This course will address how to approach and manage the activities necessary to execute projects for commercial clients. Estimates, contracts, releases, securing an advance, location permits, sourcing specialized equipment and talent (like stylists and make-up artists), shoot schedules, transportation and logistics will all be covered, demonstrated and discussed. This course will provide the detailed knowledge necessary to successfully coordinate people, facilities and supplies for complex photography assignments, with the aim of helping you retain clients, attract new ones, increase your income and enhance your reputation. 

Shoot, Shout, Change
One semester: 3 studio credits
Conceived to facilitate connections in photography, politics and activist practice, this studio course is structured around critiques, critical readings and presentations by visiting artists on the work of artists and collectives that have used photography as a way to question and alter social and political realities. We will address documentary photography and film, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary uses of the photographic medium in demonstrations, performances, street actions and social sculpture, as well as the increasing impact of social media. This course will prepare students to participate responsibly and critically in the ideological realm of 21st-century visual culture. 

PHD-3040 / PHD-3045
Seminar I and II
Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester
A continuation of the discourse begun in PHD-2060, Critique I, these seminars will culminate in a body of work that is self-motivated and relates to the student explorations in photography and video to date. A commitment to this process is required, as well as the progression of the students’ understanding of their work and the ability to articulate their ideas. 

Visual Literacy
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course covers the history of photography from the postwar period to present day, articulating movements, tendencies and styles that have positioned the medium as a central visual art as well as a social, cultural, and political currency. We will identify the prominent figures that appear in contemporary photographic canons while addressing the inherent bias of singular histories. By the end of the course, students will not only be literate in naming and recognizing familiar figures in the medium’s recent practice but should also be able to articulate their own needs in deeply understanding specific photographic histories while being aware of others. 

Digital Studio: Advanced Lighting Techniques
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will explore the mastery and control of light as well as lighting concepts used for professional editorial and advertising photography. Through visual presentations of printed matter, students will review examples of the direction and quality of light and understand its function in the photograph. Students will acquire a repertoire of lighting techniques to heighten the expressive capacity of their work. Students will shoot tethered with the latest available digital cameras and software in a full digital studio environment. 

3D Portraiture
One semester: 3 studio credits
Photography is no longer only a 2D medium. This course is for students interested in using photographic techniques to create 3D scans of the world around them. We will explore various techniques of computational photography (photogrammetry, structured light, laser scanning, Microsoft Kinect) and learn how to navigate 3D modeling environments (Autodesk Maya), print in 3D, and create virtual and augmented reality environments (Unity3D and Unreal Engine). With these techniques, students will build a virtual environment to explore. Previous experience with 3D modeling is not required but students must have a strong understanding of digital photography and editing. 

Your Camera, Your Computer and Your Work
One semester: 3 studio credits
The fundamentals of working in a studio that is fully integrated with digital technology will be covered in this course. Students will be working with medium format Leaf digital backs tethered to a computer and Adobe Lightroom, and will progress to an understanding of digital workflow. Processing images from creation to finished print is increasingly the responsibility of the photographer, and this course will help to streamline that process. 

PHD-3091 through PHD-3097
Advanced Video
One semester: 3 studio credits
Having mastered fundamental video processes, each student chooses an area of video specialization of interest and relevance to their future video activity. 

Advanced Video: Working in the Edges—Using Alternative Techniques to Create a Unique Vision
One semester: 3 studio credits
The ways in which videomakers can employ alternative techniques and sound to produce a truly original vision will be explored in this course. It will examine in detail alternative visual possibilities in order to help create a unique signature aesthetic, such as using alternative cameras or experimenting with manipulating actual film. Concepts around sound, as well as the software to clean up and enhance sound will be addressed. Students will be introduced to working with alternative cameras, in addition to working with LUTs to create an unconventional color palette. Advanced techniques with Adobe Premiere will be taught as well as an introduction to working with moving footage in Adobe After Effects. Students will build a solid body of video work through open and collaborative assignments. Class time will be spent surveying video from the last ten years (including the Internet), discussing readings, critiquing student work, guest lecturers, gallery visits, and concepts related to the contemporary video scene. 

Advanced Video: Film and Cinematic Narrative
One semester: 3 studio credits
Although video as an art form grows out of television broadcasting, its inherent overlap with film and cinematic narrative is significant, particularly in our increasingly digital age. This course will introduce students to the principles of cinema as technological advancements makes the once cost prohibitive space of movie-making obtainable. The course will assist students in recognizing their photographic advantage to craft visually compelling, narrative films with the tools of video and sound capture already at their disposal. Special attention will be placed on how the camera moves using rigs and on the cinematic and narrative strategies utilized in Hollywood as well as those more commonly found in Independent cinema. 

Advanced Video: Documentary Video
One semester: 3 studio credits
Perhaps one of the more familiar forms of video practice, this course will emphasize nonfiction narrative—the creating of a sequential story in an effort to share information. A genre that often fulfills a political and social agenda, we will look at the history of documentary film in both its long and short form, and its recent shifts in relation to social media. Students will finish an independent video that explores a subject of their own choosing. 

Advanced Video: Experimental Video
One semester: 3 studio credits
With a rich history that parallels mainstream filmmaking and the visual and performing arts, experimental film and video have made a restless and inventive contribution to the medium. We will study the history of experimental video from its nascent origins with the work of Stan Brakhage, Nam June Paik, Jonas Mekas, and Yvonne Rainer, and its emergence as a conventional form via YouTube. Each student will create several videos throughout the semester, and all interpretations will be considered—from lo-fi equipment and material to advanced digital effects, video as installation and experimental audio. Students will be encouraged to create a radical reinvention of the known. 

Advanced Video: Compositing with Adobe After Effects
One semester: 3 studio credits
Compositing video and photography using Adobe After Effects is the focus of this course. Students will explore fundamental animation techniques, including key frame animation, masking and applying effects using the timeline. Combined with technical knowledge, there will be an emphasis placed of art direction and storyboarding to create projects. Advanced compositing techniques using green screen, rotoscoping and 3D will also be covered. This is an introductory After Effects course; however, students must feel comfortable compositing in Adobe Photoshop and have an understanding of shooting and editing video. 

Advanced Video: Music Video
One semester: 3 studio credits
Filmed musicals and The Beatles first two feature-length films provided a historical framework for the emergence of the music video as a separate cable television station MTV in 1981. Its impact on the recording industry as a promotional tool is well known, and the genre continues to offer homegrown interpretations of popular music. This course will emphasize music video’s professional iterations, and operate as both an expressive idea and a vocational possibility. Students will be led through the full process of the music video from storyboarding to editing. 

Advanced Video: Fashion Video
One semester: 3 studio credits
As an extension of fashion photography and with some of the information of the filmed runway show, fashion video quickly established itself as a crucial creative opportunity, and a collaboration with the fashion designer to expand the understanding of the fashion brand. As a genre it is flexible and elastic and seems to have few restrictions. This course is for students interested in fashion photography who would like to expand their understanding to include motion, sound and narrative. 

Advanced Black-and-White Printing
One semester: 3 studio credits
For those who want to extend their printing skills to develop a personal printing style, this course will consist predominantly of work in the darkroom with technical critique of prints by the instructor. Students will explore and refine various advanced printing techniques. 

Analog Color Darkroom and Printing
One semester: 3 studio credits
With an emphasis on color darkroom work as well as group critique, this course will focus on making C-prints from color negatives, color correcting and establishing a strong technical foundation in color. Students will receive technical assignments while pursuing a specific project that develops a personal aesthetic direction in which analog color processes are central. Each student will submit a portfolio at the end of the semester. 

Principles of Color for Photographers
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will focus on how to unleash the power of color to give maximum impact to your photographs. Whether it’s fine art, editorial or commercial work, successful photographers know the secrets of color that painters and designers use to create effective color images. Exploring both the technical and aesthetic aspects of color, we will examine such topics as the psychology and symbolism of color, contrast and harmony of colors, and the interaction of colors. Taking advantage of New York’s resources, we will visit galleries and museums to examine contemporary color and to see how great painters of the past handled color. Through lectures, slide presentations, shooting assignments and critiques, students will gain a core understanding of how color works, which will improve their technical ability to shoot and print, with film or digital technologies, as they uncover the aesthetic principles behind creating strong color photographs. 

Explorations in Abstract Photography
One semester: 3 studio credits
The notion of an abstract photograph is illusive. Is it related to abstract painting or a product of technique: a cameraless image, a multiple exposure, montage? Or is it a result of digital imaging and scientific instrumentation—a visualization of the imagination in a non-representational form? Designed for the ambitious student, this will be a workshop and critique course in which participants will explore the concept of abstraction through the production of a body of work. 

Light Lab
One semester: 3 studio credits
Light Lab will investigate light and the photography of light. Students will experiment with prismatic, iridescence, refracted and programmed light, experimental light sources, smoke and mirrors, and with ways to capture the results of these experiments photographically. Examining the history of artists who worked with light and photography, including Alvin Langdon Coburn’s vortographs and the photograms of the Bauhaus and the Czech avant-garde, and light-art inventions of pioneers such as Thomas Wilfred’s lumias and Otto Piene’s light ballets, as well as the innovations of current practitioners, students will dive deeper into the area of their choice to produce their own still photographs and moving images of light. 

Beyond the Camera: The Hidden (Marketable) Skills of a Photographer
One semester: 3 studio credits
We learn to ask what is a photograph? This course asks the question What is a photographer? Deconstructing the act of and processes around image making, we identify and illuminate the habits of mind and intellectual activities that are cultivated alongside the act of making a picture and mastering analog and digital processes. Well-trained photographers are among other things excellent technicians and communicators, they are visionaries, plucky and brave, they are truth seekers, and storytellers, project managers and they are idea machines. This course will explore the often under-investigated skill sets and range of academic interests that are naturally developed as we cultivate our craft as photographers. At a time when many trained artists are not only working in specific media but apply their acumen to a myriad of creative fields, it is more important to understand all of the skills cultivated in a photographic education so that students can confidently engage in varied arenas of work that require creative problem-solving. Each week students will explore a particular area of expertise that they develop concurrently in their evolution as artists and photographers such as social science, curation, project management, finance, design thinking, brand development, entrepreneurship, trend analysis, taste-making, activism, research and leadership.



Experimental Documentary Video

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course will examine a wide range of works in cinema, video art and photography that originate from or draw upon the documentation of concrete reality—actual people, factual events and verifiable phenomena—yet yield challenging and experimental results, often seeming not of the real world. This style of work parallels the documentary technique, but ultimately the artist distorts this reality by freely bending the boundaries of the genre. Through discussion and practice, we will explore the notions of subjective time and space, and of memory and interpretation—raising questions about the perception of truth, the creative interrelationship between fact and the imagined, and issues of morality and ethics. Lectures, screenings and critiques of work are included. Artists whose works we will look at include Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard, Stan Brakhage, Guy Maddin, Agnès Varda, Gillian Wearing, Chris Marker, Lars von Trier, Gilad Ratman, Abbas Kiarostami, Christoph Schlingensief and Ulrike Ottinger, among others.



Lecture Series

One semester: 3 studio credits

This series will provide an introduction to several aspects of, and approaches to, photographic practices. A diverse group of photographers will show their work and share their experiences, providing information and insight into the requirements of working professional photographers.



Wet Plate Collodion

One semester: 3 studio credits

This intensive course will dive into wet plate collodion, which was the leading process of photography in the 1850s and ’60s. The process is most commonly known in its three forms—tintypes (positives on tin), ambrotypes (positives on glass), and glass negatives (negatives on glass). The basics of the collodion process will be covered and topics will include: hand coating collodion plates, creating wet collodion images, mixing the chemistry, building a darkroom and modifying cameras for the process, as well as how to print pre-existing imagery using an enlarger onto wet collodion plates. Techniques of preparing the plate, cleaning glass, pouring collodion, exposing, developing, fixing and varnishing will all be addressed. Experimentation will be strongly encouraged. All materials, including cameras, enlargers, chemicals, glass and metal will be supplied.



Photo Bookworks: The Handmade Book

One semester: 3 studio credits

What do you do with all those photos you have made that are sitting around in boxes? This is a hands-on approach to the photo book using simple bookbinding methods. We will investigate several handmade book structures, including scroll, scrapbook, pamphlet, Oriental fold and fan, as well as the concepts of series, sequence and pacing of images within the books. Books will be examined from the viewpoint of both object and container. A historical overview of book arts—photography books in particular—will be presented. Students will create works from groups of photographs, bound together in completed form. Six to eight books and a group project will be completed.



Photo Bookworks: Zines and Monographs

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course will concentrate on the editing and sequencing of photographs to create chapters with narrative structure. Working on individual projects, students will assemble weekly chapters of work. Several of these handmade zines will lead to a combined larger work that will be printed on demand (POD) by an outside publisher. Examples of past and current artist books will be presented and discussed, and visits to publishers and libraries will be scheduled.



Volumes: Art and Photography Books at the SVA Library

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course will firmly establish art book literacy for students by providing a formal knowledge of art books, photography books, artist books and art book culture. We will examine all aspects of art book publishing and production in-depth: categorization, subject matter and content creation, editorial direction and creative direction, book design, prepress and print production, author/scholar/curator collaborations, publisher relations, distribution channels and institutional structures. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the many contexts in which art publications are produced and the ability to pursue interests and artistic research, as well as evaluate the broad range of possibilities for consideration of one’s own work in the realm of publishing projects. This course will meet in the SVA Library, and will include guest lecturers from the field of art book publishing and relevant site visits outside of SVA, including artists, publishers, and others such as Isaac Diggs, photographer; Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, founder/editor/publisher, Osmos; David Senior, chief of Library and Archives, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and David Strettell, founder/editor/publisher, Dashwood Books.



Fashion Photography and Video: On Assignment

One semester: 3 studio credits

Intended to build an original and informed portfolio of fashion photography and video, this course is structured by assignments that are driven by those in the professional community. Open to students with a strong studio and technical background, as well as those who have a less formal relationship to fashion photography and video, the course will emphasize vigorous competence with the complexity of fashion photography and video, and create insight into its particular demands. Visual intelligence and creative ambition are the prerequisites.



Location Photography and Video

One semester: 3 studio credits

Providing the technical background necessary for versatility and competence in location photography and video is the aim of this course. The objective is to develop each student’s imagination in order to find visually compelling locations, to study the space and available light, and to determine what additional light to bring to the “set.” This course will be supplemented with individual portfolio projects—both exterior and interior locations—and students will explore areas of their own special interest.



How to Make It as a Working Photographer

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course will focus on developing an understanding of the professional world of photography while maintaining your individual style. Class assignments will be geared toward creative problem solving and developing professional skills, including promotion, marketing, invoicing, budgets and how to manage your life as a freelancer. The course will culminate in two portfolio reviews with industry professionals.



Fifteen Short Investigations Through Photo-Based Art

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course will investigate ideas in culture as they relate to photography and art. We will explore inherent photographic concepts, such as appropriation, decontextualization, multiplication, systems, memory, the archive and technology, as a means for generating photo-based work. Issues concerning context and intentionality, authorship and originality, individuality and collectivity, will be addressed in relation to relevant cultural and theoretical concepts. Weekly photo-based assignments, critiques, readings and slide presentations will serve to deepen the students’ understanding of their work and locate it within the context of these issues. The objective of this course is to gain agility with a broad range of working methods and a fluency in critical art vocabulary, while fostering a personal relationship to contemporary visual ideas and practice.



Artists After the Internet

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course will explore how digital networks are reshaping society, the role of the artist today, and photography as the centerpiece of a burgeoning field and its unique position as the bridge between physical and digital worlds. Through exposure to new ideas and critique, our goal is to produce relevant artworks for the gallery and beyond, and to engage with a dialogue about the future; new media and interdisciplinary work are welcome and encouraged. Class discussions will include topics such as social media, Silicon Valley and post-Internet; an extensive reading list will be assigned. Visiting artists and speakers will help to familiarize the class with recent art and texts.



The Big Flat Now; Photography’s Expanded Field

One semester: 3 studio credits

The Big Flat Now is a critique-based course that explores the fluid identity of contemporary photography in the broader framework of contemporary art. It will investigate the current visual vernacular and how consumer technology, the Internet and social media have been shaping the ways we produce and consume images. Students will learn how to navigate this ocean of images and read cues in the over-saturated visual landscape. They will develop their own ability to connect elements from different contexts to create smart, challenging and consistent work, whether it will be a sequence of photographs, a video, an installation, a book, or anything in between.



Fashion: Concept and Narrative

One semester: 3 studio credits

Through discussion, practice and photographic assignments, this course examines fashion photography as a conceptual vehicle. In the process, we will acknowledge the most progressive and subversive fashion work being created and the cultural underpinnings that have stimulated this work. This is not a studio course per se, but a discourse on contemporary narrative. Verbal participation is essential.


PHD-3233 / PHD-3234

Advanced Fashion Studio I and II

Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester

These courses are designed for students who are seriously interested in fashion. We will cover all aspects of the field: editorial, advertising, beauty and portrait. Both studio (tungsten and strobe lighting), and location (available light augmented by strobe) will be taught. Various camera formats, from 35mm to 4x5”, will be used. Emphasis will be on the anatomy of a fashion shoot: working with models, hair and makeup people, editors, art directors, etc. Personal style will be stressed.



Commercial Careers

One semester: 3 studio credits

For photography students with commercial aspirations, this course is driven by and focuses on building a body of work. Portfolio reviews will be balanced by the discussion of practical aspects of the field, from assisting to postproduction to estimates, invoicing, stock and resale. Guest speakers, including art buyers, photo editors, producers and photo agents, will add information and insight.



A Survey of Portraiture

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course is both practical discussion and hands-on exploration/survey of portrait photography and camera format (digital or film is an optional choice for each student and both may be used). Planning or producing a portrait sitting, researching the sitter and coming up with ideas, lighting, composition, location/studio and interaction with the subject will be covered through discussion, demonstration and class sessions with models. Review sessions will focus on looking at and critique of the previous week’s in-class assignment, as well as planning and preparation for the following in-class portrait sitting.



Still Life/Moving World

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course will cover advanced technical and aesthetic considerations for commercial and fine art still-life photography. Students will concentrate on subject matter, lighting, composition and learning the complex workflow required in postproduction and motion work. Each session will begin with a participatory critique, followed by a short presentation and weekly assignment.



Still Life: Objects of Desire and Disgust

One semester: 3 studio credits

Fruit, lipstick, corpses, skin, insects, purses, diamonds and seashells: all items that have been imaged in modern photographic still life. The Dutch classical masters defined it as an expression of consumption and mortality through static physicality, but today still life images are most often associated with commerce. This course will lead an inquiry into the differences between the historical significance of still life and its modern possibilities, and students will be encouraged to experiment with the genre. Commercial and self-expressive motivations will be equally addressed.



Performance, The Body; Photography and Video

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course will investigate performance and its relation to contemporary photography and video, and the performative aspects of much photographic narrative, including each student’s own work. Of particular emphasis will be the body itself, and its relationship to the frame. The course is a collaborative venture with an emphasis on using the resources and people around you; students will learn how to successfully plan and execute their concepts. Assignments will be given to challenge preconceptions and to encourage students to explore new possibilities in their work.



Philosophy of Photography

One semester: 3 studio credits

Addressing innovative aspects of photography and lens-based arts and examining the notions of reality, language and limit; time, space and light; point of view, interpretation and truth from a conceptual and experiential standpoint, this course intends to provide new means and insights to reflect upon the questions posed by the practice of contemporary photography. As we live immersed in a gluttonous state of overexposure to a multitude of often no longer discernible information, the goal of this course is to achieve an integrated understanding through theory, critique and art practice. Students are encouraged to develop their own vision, expression and identity immersed in a multifaceted cultural environment in which to share knowledge and experience, nourishing their visual quest along a path of creative expression to discover who we are through what we see.



The Secret Sits in the Middle

One semester: 3 studio credits

Robert Frost said, “We dance around in a ring and suppose, but the secret lies in the middle and knows.” This course embraces the idea that a photograph can be an outbreathing of a deeply personal self, a reflection of one’s inner journey, and a way to honor one’s own life by discovering or, more accurately, uncovering one’s own poetry—a poetry that resonates with the richness of our unique history, dreams and feelings, one’s center and soul. The course is about finding images from the inside out—finding that place within where imagination and intuition, the conscious and the unconscious, begin their dance, enabling us to truly become the source of our own photographs. We will explore the workings of the creative process and investigate our own sensitized surfaces, mining our discoveries for information, inspiration and the necessary courage to let our vision flow out into the world through our work. Guest artists in different mediums will discuss their processes, and will foster the kind of receptivity and awareness that will allow our best work to emerge.



Wood, Rubber, Leather and a C-Clamp

One semester: 3 studio credits

There’s a long tradition in photography of the photographer/inventor. This course will help students to develop skills while they pursue a specific project that aids in the realization of their vision and personal style. Students will construct cameras, lenses and accessories; make modifications to existing equipment, or create a device to help achieve specific photographic results. We will learn to select appropriate materials, develop problem-solving strategies and acquire the necessary skills to see each project from concept to functional device. Projects can be large and complex or small and simple. Class time will be spent on design and construction. As work progresses and projects begin to yield images, they’ll be adjusted and refined to provide superior results. Participants will be taught basic shop safety and will be supervised when using power tools.




One semester: 3 studio credits

Focusing on the application of theory and practice, this course will explore the uses of visual information in space. We will concentrate on the implications of the relationships among artist, object and audience. Using photo editing, drawing and drafting, model construction, computer and digital technology, experimental materials and nontraditional approaches in installation, students will explore the formal, spatial, conceptual and political aspects of presentation and installation. Class time will employ discussion, slide and electronic media presentation, guest lectures, gallery and museum visits and student experimentation. Assignments are geared toward an end-of-semester exhibition.



The New Hegemonic: Explorations of Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality in America I

One semester: 3 studio credits

In this critique course students will begin a new project or reconsider an existing one in relationship to the shifting cultural landscape of 21st-century America. Taking into consideration the election of the first African American president, the championing of female, LGBTIQ and minority individuals, and the growing support of same-sex marriage, we will attempt to locate an aesthetic sensibility, which embodies the multifaceted visions of identity, ethnicity, race, gender and sexuality that have entered the American mainstream over the last 20 years. We will look closely at the growing presence of the other—women, African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, Latinos and LQBTIQ individuals—in positions of recognition and power in fine art and popular culture to expand the sense of aesthetic possibilities for all visual artists today. This course will feature readings, screenings and discussions of the work of minority photographers and artists, who are often overlooked or undervalued in the traditional canon, to inform and inspire the class with the production of their own projects.



The New Hegemonic: Explorations of Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality in America II

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course is a continuation of PHD-3511, The New Hegemonic: Explorations of Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality in America I. Students will have the opportunity to continue a project initiated in the first semester or begin a new one. Building upon readings and conversations around feminist and queer theory, we will consider how scholarship in these fields overlaps with American Indian, Latino, African America and Jewish studies and what roles new technologies play for contemporary artists as they navigate these areas. Readings and topics of discussion will include post-Internet art and cyberfeminism as we ponder new aesthetic possibilities for the 21st century. Lectures by visiting artists and topical field trips will supplement course work. Collaboration is encouraged.



No Place Like Home

One semester: 3 studio credits

This critique-based course will explore various notions of home and how our understanding of family and domestic space influences our perception of home. Class discussions will guide students in developing a series of photographs that directly addresses their own ideas of home and family. The role and treatment of the domestic landscape in contemporary art and film will be considered through slide lectures, film screenings and readings. We will look at the work of photographers and directors, including P. T. Anderson, Tina Barney, Richard Billingham, Larry Clark, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Sally Mann, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Douglas Sirk, Laurie Simmons, Larry Sultan, Wolfgang Tillmans and John Waters, as well as that of visiting artists. This course is open to all genres of photography.



The Visual Diary

One semester: 3 studio credits

Diaries are intimate, private and personal memoirs that chronicle lives and have long been part of the history of most creative genres. This course will explore the visual diary in a myriad of contemporary approaches. As a class, we will inquire into the boundary between public and private information and the influence of YouTube, cell phones, Facebook, craigslist and other conveyors of information, as well as historical diaristic forms. As a workshop and critique course, participants will explore the relevance of the diary in the production of a body of work.



For Memory’s Sake

One semester: 3 studio credits

Events and changes occur in our private lives and in our communities that deserve photographic record and interpretation, both for the present and for posterity. This is a vast subject area with great opportunity for students to find subjects that they feel passionate about. Anything considered worth remembering can be pursued. Photo projects as varied as diaristic and quite personal to far more traditional documentary subjects are appropriate. Through weekly critiques, students will be encouraged and guided to produce a cohesive body of work. The work of relevant artists using a variety of mediums, including painters, sculptors, filmmakers and photographers will be viewed weekly. Students will be encouraged to share artists’ work that inspires them.



Teaching Photography

One semester: 3 studio credits

This course is an outreach program in which SVA students will assist in teaching basic photography to a select group of public high school students. Student-teachers will work on the development of lesson plans and assignments, and share their technical and aesthetic expertise in the classroom. This experience will help you to gain confidence in articulating concepts, and, in the process, contribute to the future of the medium and the community of New York City.


PHD-4080 / PHD-4085

Thesis I and II

Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester

The function of these courses is two-fold: as critical seminar of depth and insight, which helps each student to build a coherent body of unique work; and also as an information forum that prepares students for careers in photography and video.



Phase One Workshop

One semester: 3 studio credits

This is a course for fourth-year students who wish to be trained in Phase One software, which will enable them to assist on professional jobs for a commercial studio. Software proficiency and on-set workflow will be the focus of in-class tutorials. Students will gain hands-on experience, and those who pass an end of semester exam will be certified in Phase One software.


Independent Study

One semester: 3 studio credits

Junior or senior students who wish to pursue a special project not covered by the parameters of their department’s curriculum are eligible to apply for an independent study course. Students must have earned a grade point average above 3.00 at SVA, and must submit their study goals as a detailed proposal for approval by the department chair. Proposals for an independent study must be made prior to the course adjustment period for that semester.


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