Photography

Studies in Photography at Grand Valley State University encompass the history, critical and aesthetic theory, and varied practice of photography as a medium of visual communication and expression in culture and society.

As in all forms of communication, the study of photography requires that students synthesize analytical and creative capacities and apply them to the critical interpretation and creative production of meaning. Mastery in photography requires an understanding of the visual language of the medium, the acquisition of technique, and a disposition of intellectual curiosity.


Degree Options

BA/BS in Photography

The B.A. and B.S. degrees prepare students to engage graduate studies in fine art programs, begin careers as professional artists, work creatively in commercial advertising and portrait studios, produce compelling work as photojournalists and editorial photographers, apply their expertise in museums and galleries, or combine a knowledge of image-making with another field for a variety of interests and functions. 

Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Sciences, Photography – Information

Minor In Photography

The Photography minor offers students in other majors the opportunity to pursue their interest in photography. Students take seven courses for the minor for a minimum of 21 credits

Minor in Photography - Information


Why Photography at GVSU?

A dedication to the education of intelligent image-makers that is neither constrained in a vocational training program, nor a narrow studio art emphasis alone, is what makes the photography program at Grand Valley distinct and valued in the state and region.

  • The school has many ties with business, community, and cultural organizations, and has contacts with experts in a variety of areas in communications, which serve as outstanding resources both within the classroom and for internships.
  • The diversity of courses offered allows students the opportunity to explore a variety of photographic methods and applications as they develop their personal expertise and interests.
  • The program prepares students to engage graduate studies in fine art programs.
  • Faculty in photography have a broad range of professional experience and a dedication to teaching.

Learning Environment

Photography Classroom Activity

Photography students discussing their recently-produced imagery.

The photography program offers high-quality, student-centered, production and theory courses aimed at developing liberally educated professionals able to thoughtfully adapt and thrive in a variety of professional and creative environments.

As meaning-makers, students need to combine photographic technique and their understanding of visual language with ideas that emanate from an authentic sense of self. The individuality and integrity of the photographer are essential grounds for the self-governance and success of any artist and professional.  Although the photographer needs expertise in the practice, history, and critical study of photography, these are rarely the content of the photographs they make which operate as densely-coded objects in a system of cultural discourse.  Breadth and depth in studies in a variety of fields contribute to the intellectual life of a photographer and his or her understanding of the cultural, political, social, ethical, economic, aesthetic, and psychological uses of images. This dedication to the education of intelligent image-makers that is neither constrained in a vocational training program, nor a narrow studio art emphasis alone, is what makes the photography program at Grand Valley distinct and valued in the state and region.


Faculty

Emily Najera

Emily Najera
Visiting Professor

Stafford Smith

Stafford Smith
Associate Professor

Anthony Thompson

Anthony Thompson
Professor
Photography Coordinator

Victoria Veenstra

Victoria Veenstra
Associate Professor


Students' Works


Course Catalog

An introductory course in the use of the still camera and in the essentials of black-and-white darkroom photography. Emphasis on the basic aesthetics and techniques that underlie photographic communication. Offered every semester. Access to a 35mm film camera, with manual control option, required.

Credits: 4

The aesthetic and technical concepts beyond basic photography. Emphasis on fine-tuning black-and-white negative and printing methods, including the zone system. Students register for one lab section in addition to lecture. Access to 35mm camera, with manual control option, required. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: CPH 171.

Credits: 3

An introductory course in still photography without darkroom instruction. Covers camera operation, composition, aesthetics, image manipulation, and visual communication. Access to a digital camera with manual exposure controls is required. Counts toward the photography minor, but not the major. Fulfills Foundation - Arts. Offered fall and winter semesters. 3 credits

A survey of the origins and developmental phases of photography. Technical innovations will be examined, but emphasis will be on the historical motivations and changing climates of aesthetic intent, philosophical rationale, and visual experimentation in the history of photography from the early 19th century to the present. Offered fall semester.

Credits: 3

Introduction to the use of computers in photography with emphasis on digital image processing. Students will gain experience with hardware and software used to access, manipulate, and output photographs for use in display, print, and the digital environment. Offered every semester. Prerequisites: ART 149 or 150 and one of the following: CPH 175, CPH 172, CFV 226, or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

Emphasis upon the use and application of the large format camera, the zone system of previsualization and exposure/development control, and the production of the classic black and white print. Subject areas represent the classic themes drawn from the history of photography. Offered fall and winter semesters. Prerequisite: CPH 172 or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

Introduction to color theory and expressive use of color in photography. Offered fall semesters. Prerequisite: CPH 272.

Credits: 3

A study of topics not regularly covered in the curriculum. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. One to three credits.

An examination of the principle theories and debates in photography from the early 19th century to the present, their social and political contexts, and their expression in both photographic practice and critical writings. Offered winter semester. Prerequisites: CPH 266 and junior standing; or permission of the instructor.

Credits: 3

An advanced production course that investigates experimental and nontraditional applications of black-and-white imaging materials and processes. Historical and contemporary experimental work will be examined. Emphasis is on the expressive and visual significance of experimentally generated imagery. Offered winter semester. Prerequisite: CPH 273.

Credits: 3

An exploration of the history, contemporary trends, and future possibilities of digital imaging processes. Includes an examination of visual communication within the digital environment. Student readings and discussions will be augmented with digital imaging projects. Offered winter semester. Prerequisite: CPH 272 or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

An advanced course emphasizing various approaches to color photographic image making. Areas of investigation include color theory, color and perception, color and light, color strategies, and color as image, as well as contemporary trends in color photography. Offered winter semester. Prerequisite: CPH 279 or permission of instructor.

Credits: 3

Creation of studio still-lifes, artificial studio lighting, and principles of studio portraiture. All work done with digital photography. Prerequisite: CPH 272.

Credits: 3

Explores the photographic tradition of the social documentary. Practical emphasis on black-and-white image making depicting people: their activities, relationships, conditions. (Color slides optional with permission of instructor.) Photo essays will be produced. Lab to be arranged. Offered fall semester, even-numbered years. Prerequisite: CPH 272.

Credits: 4

An intensive investigation and a sustained image-making activity in one area of photographic practice. Examines both historical and contemporary approaches, as well as aesthetic and cultural attitudes that have informed them. Students will produce various solutions within the course theme. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: CPH 272

Credits: 3

A study of topics not regularly covered in the curriculum. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. One to three credits.

An experience of an essentially scholarly and/or creative nature undertaken by a student under the supervision of one or more faculty members. Initiated by the student who has a special interest in a subject that is not available in the current curriculum. The student and the faculty sponsor agree on the scope of the study, its components, and methods of evaluation. Offered every semester.

Credits: 1 to 6

A study of topics not regularly covered in the curriculum. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Prerequisite: Senior standing or permission of instructor. One to three credits.

A supervised work experience in an area of a student’s potential career interest. Initiated by the student, who plans the work experience with the advisor, the faculty sponsor chosen to supervise the internship, and the supervisor at the worksite. Credit is awarded only when the student, the faculty sponsor, and the work supervisor have completed evaluations of the internship. Offered every semester.

Credits: 1 to 6

A culminating course in which students demonstrate their conceptual understanding and creative abilities in photography and visual communication. Each student develops a coherent body of work and a thesis paper reflecting on that work from a personal, historical, and critical perspective. Offered fall and winter semesters, but not necessarily in the summer. Prerequisites: CPH 266 with a grade of C or better and CPH 366.

Credits: 1 to 6


Other Links


Visit Us

Prospective Students are invited to attend one of the High School Student Receptions, held throughout the academic year. Receptions follow the Laker Experience Days.

Attend a High School Student Reception


Request Information

For questions about the Photography area, please contact:

Anthony Thompson
Photography Coordinator
104 Lake Michigan Hall
(616) 331-3606
thompsoa@gvsu.edu

 

 



Page last modified October 11, 2017