The photography curriculum is designed to give students a thorough knowledge of the medium, including historical and aesthetic concerns, as well as experience with conventional, experimental and digital photography. The program relates to all the other areas in the department by emphasizing inter-media applications through the combination of photographic images or electronic output with the traditional materials associated with drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics to encourage communication and understanding across the disciplines. The intent is to conceptualize ideas by using the medium of photography and related practices. Although experimentation and aesthetic freedom is encouraged, the program is demanding and critically challenging. The curriculum encourages students to develop knowledge, skill and creative thinking through realistic problem-solving and technical instruction. Students study camera vision, equipment and technique; black-and-white, color and alternative processes; the use of natural and artificial light; and the photographic applications of digital technology. At all levels students learn to develop their critical judgment through discussion of contemporary and historical photographic practice.
The enormous facilities in the basement of Igoe Hall consist of numerous wet darkrooms, a shooting studio and a high-end digital lab utilized only by students enrolled in photography courses. The large “gang” darkroom includes 20 Saunders LPL enlargers and a large stainless steel tray-processing sink. Individual darkroom areas are provided for intermediate and senior students while an “alternative darkroom” is dedicated to historical techniques. A 500 sq. ft. shooting studio enables students to work in a more commercial setting and the 1100 sq. ft. Macintosh computer lab contains 21 Mac Pro towers, 1 Nikon film scanner, 3 Epson flatbed scanners, 3 Epson Stylus Pro wide-format printers, Wacom drawing tablets along with current versions of all Apple and Adobe photo editing software.
Many intern and study exchange programs are available to photography students. Influential programs in which recent students have participated include the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and photography internships at the George Eastman House, the New York State Assembly and Wegmans Food Markets. SUNY Fredonia Visual Arts and New Media photography graduates are prepared to pursue employment in a wide range of fields, from fine art to commercial applications. Many graduates have established their own photography studios, some have advanced their fine art training through graduate education at prestigious Master of Fine Arts programs while many more have obtained advanced Education degrees and teach at a variety of K-12 programs throughout the country.
Faculty member Liz Lee developed the Academic Practicum Workshops for the Society for Photographic Education. More information about the society can be found at www.spenational.org