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Your Own Vision and Technique.

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An Influential Role in Society.

Photography

As artists, observers, and imagemakers, photographers play an influential role in society that profoundly impacts the way we understand the world around us.

Photography at MECA emphasizes the importance of visual literacy, composition, process, and light. In addition to learning the techniques of image-making, you’ll also understand the historical and contemporary context from which they are created. This understanding is part of a transformation you’ll experience at MECA as you grow from a casual photographer into an artist. As a Photography major at MECA, you’ll learn how a body of work or a series engages your audience beyond a single image. You’ll experiment with technical and conceptual elements of traditional and contemporary processes, including 35mm, medium-format, large-format, and digital capture. Before you graduate, you’ll possess the skills to create a professional fine arts portfolio, develop an artist statement and resume, establish your own web presence, and create a final thesis exhibition.

Spotlight

  • Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Student
  • Greta Grant '16

    After taking color photography classes I realized how essential color is to my work.

    Describe a body of work that you are currently working on. In my current body of work, I am investigating disappearances, and what remains in the wake of those who are absent, but still alive. These photographs explore intimacy, identity, and loss within a family. I sometimes construct my photographs, but most are made spontaneously, . . .Read More

  • Harlan Crichton ’12 & Zak Taillon ’12

    [intro]“I made this compilation during a 13,000-mile road trip through rural America. These are places . . .

    "For the Love of Dolphins" is a compilation made during a 13,000-mile road trip through Rural America. Created by Harlan Crichton '12, soundtrack by Zak Taillon '12Read More

  • Brittany Marcoux '10

    My time spent at MECA was crucial to my photographic practice.

    Describe a body of work that you have made. During my time at MECA I worked on a photographic series dealing with my hometown in Swansea, Massachusetts. I titled it Born Into This, a line borrowed from a Charles Bukowski’s poem “Dinosauria We.” I had just moved back to the East Coast to finish my […]Read More

  • Ray Ewing '12

    My education at MECA laid the groundworks for my approach to my studio practice as an image-maker first.

    Describe a body of work that you have worked on recently. Since I left my resort-town island home of Martha’s Vineyard, my work has been about exploring my relationship with that place. Obsessing over my connection to Martha’s Vineyard has led to in-depth investigations of tourism, leisure, and simulated beauty. My . . .Read More

  • Justin Kirchoff

    My perspective is not of the idealistic youth, beauty or one of older wisdom. It is an incongruent blend.

    Through his art, Professor of Photography Justin Kirchoff explores his personal curiosity of the built landscape, personal identity and beauty of the photographic print.  His current work explores the contradictions and connections of fatherhood, masculinity and the home, while prodding the clichés of midlife.  In 2013 he received a . . .Read More

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Outcomes

  • Formal

    Students bridge lessons learned in Foundation-level classes with techniques and content developed in photography. From 3-D design, they harvest knowledge of how light, surface and form create spatial relations. In 2D Design, students gain an understanding of composition and the process of looking critically and objectively at their work. Students understand how formal decisions and processes inform content and develop skills and techniques that allow students to use the camera as an artistic tool.

  • Technical

    Students learn the preparation procedures for all mixed chemistry with safe and proper handling procedures to EPA standards. Students experience all camera formats, from 35mm, medium format, digital, pinhole, and 4×5 and 8×10 view cameras. Students gain an understanding of basic film development, in silver gelatin, black & white, and color printing. Students learn how to control contrast range within the negative through choices of developer and time manipulation. Students obtain a working knowledge of digital exhibition printing using Photoshop, InDesign, Epson, Image Print, and Nikon scanning software. Students learn various print presentation skills that include black & white and color print retouching, dry mounting, window matting, grometting, and other frameless techniques. Students also learn traditional and non-traditional book binding skills. The culmination of these processes fosters a solid photographic proficiency and literacy exposing students to the many options available to problem solve formal and conceptual concerns, and to express their ideas, emotions, and beliefs.

  • Conceptual

    Students learn the history of photography and how it relates to contemporary art and critical theory. Visual literacy and the ability to articulate criticism is stressed through slide lectures and critiques. Exposure to a broad range of ideas and practice allows students to understand the many possibilities of photographic expression. This, in turn, allows students to develop their own photographic vision and vocabulary. They gain the skills to develop, edit, and sequence a self-directed body of work and place their ideas within a historical and contemporary context.

  • Professional

    Students gain the skills to create a professional portfolio that includes a thesis or personal essay about their work, artist statement, resume, and cover letter. Students learn how to develop a personal web page, and how to generate 35mm slides and a digital presentation of their work. Students gain experience in applying for national juried exhibitions and are expected to perform several lectures and gallery talks on their work during their senior year. Students engage in the production of creating a final thesis exhibition.

FAQs

  • What are some of the career paths for someone who majors in Photography?

    Students have gone onto Graduate school, or have become an Exhibiting Fine Art Commercial Photographer, Curator, Editorial Picture Editor, or Film Maker.

  • How do you prepare your students for the real world?

    We critique students with blunt honesty. The school has embedded in the curriculum opportunities to apply for shows, take commercial photography courses, and create professional web sites. Every class prepares them for the “real world.”

  • What are some examples of what your alums are doing?

    We have two alums finishing thesis work at Columbia College and Mass Art this year. We have had students attend Yale as well. We have an alum operating a successful portrait and wedding business in the Caribbean Islands. We have had alum show at the Museum of Modern Art. Many students work in commercial studios or other art/media based businesses. Often students start their own professional studios. We have a student teaching art therapy at a Psychiatric hospital in New Jersey.

  • What are the prerequisites to major in Photography?

    Introduction to Photography PH101 and Intermediate Photography PH102.

  • What unique skills do your students get?

    Students taking photography classes at Maine College of Art gain skills to develop, edit, and sequence a self-directed body of work and articulate their ideas within both a historical and contemporary context. Students bridge lessons learned in foundation level classes and apply how they can be used with any camera frame. From 3D-design they harvest the knowledge of how light, surface, and form create spatial relations. The culmination of these processes fosters a solid photographic proficiency and literacy that enables students to have many options available to problem solve formal and conceptual concerns, to express their ideas, emotions, and beliefs.

  • Will I be able to incorporate other media or interests with my work as a Photography major?

    Yes— students in the past have incorporated filmmaking, design, printmaking, sculpture, performance, digital media, and audio.

  • What are your facilities like?

    We have "wet darkrooms" for printing from film which include enlargers for 35mm, medium and large format negatives, as well as equipment for mural printing. In addition to our two group darkrooms (one for beginners and one for advanced users), we also have an individual darkroom. For camera equipment, there is an assortment of Digital SLRs, 35mm, and medium and large format cameras; all are available for checkout to students enrolled in Photography classes. Our digital output lab includes a range of large format Epson printers, 27" iMacs, and both drum and flatbed scanners.

  • What are some examples of internships your students have done in the past?

    Russell French Photography, Macomber Inc., The Bakery Photographic Collective, and Discovery Channel.

  • How many students (juniors and seniors) do you typically have in your major?

    Students in the major typically range from 12-20.

Program

Preparation (1st & 2nd Year)
Introduction to Photography (PH 101) and Intermediate Photography (PH 102)

Junior Year (3rd Year)
Photography Majors Studio (PH 321-PH 322), Introduction to the Discipline: Photography (PH 351), Junior Seminar (SEM 352-3-4), and (2) Approved Studio Electives

Senior Year (4th Year)
Photography Majors Studio (PH 421), Photography Majors Studio (PH 422), Senior Synthesis (SEM 451-SEM 452), and (2) Approved Studio Electives

Workspace & Tools
  • Advanced and beginner darkrooms for black-and-white processing
  • Large and medium-format film cameras
  • Digital SLRs
  • Portable lighting kits
  • Full artificial lighting studio
  • Archival digital printers for 44-, 24-, and 17-inch formats
  • Film scanners
  • Dedicated iMac lab for digital output
  • Weekly equipment checkout opportunities
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  • Studying art is an intrinsically complex process. The Photography Faculty make it simple by encouraging my work to dictate my process. The criticism given is meant to guide me towards my goals and is invaluable. Experimentation is provoked and the discoveries I make are my own.

    Vivian Ewing  2015  //  Photography  //  Martha’s Vineyard, MA

What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2015 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

57% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

47% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.

63

Work as professional artists

23

Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors

16

Founded a business

23

Work as craft artists

38

Work as fine artists

29

Work as art teachers

17

Pursued an MFA after graduation

49

Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers

91

Make art in their personal time

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