One of the first programs of its kind worldwide, the photography program at MICA was established more than 100 years ago.

Building on this legacy, the program today thoroughly examines both film and digital photography while encouraging a diversity of approaches. Students master technical skills as they work in state-of-the-art digital facilities, learn traditional and alternative darkroom processes, and develop a deep understanding of the medium's history and contemporary directions.

Curricular Overview

The sequence begins with dual entry points Light & Color: Digital Photo I and/or Shadows & Time: Film Photo I. These introductory courses establishes foundational skills in vision, camera operation, traditional B&W darkroom processes, and the latest digital techniques.

Students continue to build their core photography skills in Reimagining the Darkroom, Studio & Location Lighting, and Digital Materials & Methods.  

Critical thinking and contextual knowledge is built through required courses History of Photography and Contemporary Directions. This pair of classes looks at the historic roots of the medium and expands to encompass key contemporary ideas and practitioners.  The required Professional Strategies course builds best professional practices through discussion of foundational business skills, grantwriting, and marketing/promotion strategies. 

Students develop independent practice in Junior Seminar and Senior Thesis, working closely with faculty mentors to find individual pathways and voices. 

These courses are supplemented by new topics, experiences, and skills in a wide range of upper level electives, such as Photographic Book, The Body in Photography, and Alchemy of Light, among many other topical choices.  

Students are also required to complete an Professional Internship, gaining real world experience in a full array of careers, including in the studios of professional photographers, marketing firms, museums, newspapers, magazines, galleries, and medical institutions. 

Facilities Overview

The facilities in the photography department provide a professional workspace, including  state of the art digital print labs, a dedicated film scanning room, a professional lighting studio and portable lighting systems, a flex space for experimental video installations, fully equipped traditional black and white darkrooms, and facilities for antiquarian and alternative processes. The department's courses and facilities also serve students in other majors who have met course prerequisites or demonstrated equivalent experience.

The department is also home to the Wilgus Gallery, a student-run exhibition space. 

Featured Course

Alchemy of Light

This course introduces students to historical techniques in photography and consider how these approaches can augment contemporary vision. Students explore the concept of light and time as they work with the properties of hand-coated emulsions. Students work in digital and analogue spaces and develop a command of the cyanotype and van dyke processes with an introduction to palladium, cliché verre and lumens print. Working with camera-less and pinhole photography, as well as film and digital negative output, students gain a broader understanding of experimental possibilities of image making.

Danielle Winston '24 + Enlarge
Sara Hinterlong '24 + Enlarge
James Benoit '24 + Enlarge
Mathilde Mujanayi '24 + Enlarge

Sara Hinterlong '24

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