The photography program at James Madison University encourages an experimental and interdisciplinary approach to image making. The curriculum reflects a commitment to traditional photography, including 35 mm manual camera basics and black and white darkroom skills using silver gelatin based film and printing paper, yet also embraces advances in digital imaging and emerging technologies. We emphasize the interplay between craft, material and content, and students are encouraged to take risks while developing ideas based on personal, historical, and theoretical perspectives. We offer a variety of courses at both intermediate and advanced level each semester; students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty to explore their emerging ideas in the context of contemporary art practice. It is our belief that making art generates expansive thinking and promotes a deeper understanding of the environment we live in. It is our goal to enable students to be skilled both technically and conceptually, and to truly engage with the world.
The photo facilities are located in Memorial Hall Arts Complex, completed in 2010. The studios are well equipped to support a varied and creative approach to the use of photographic processes, including digital, traditional, and alternative process photography, photographic mixed media, lens-less photography, and lens-based media such as video. There is a black and white darkroom for traditional, experimental and large format photography; an exposing and printing space for alternative processes; a digital lab with photo and video editing software, scanners and large format printers; and, a finishing room with mat cutters and a drymount press. A general classroom provides group learning and critique space. A variety of cameras, including large format, digital and toy cameras, lighting units, and other equipment is available for checkout.