PHOTOGRAPHY

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The Photography program prepares students for the wide range of methods of visual expression necessary in today’s photographic market.

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The Photography Major at NMU

The Photography Program at Northern Michigan University is designed to provide students with a platform for personal success in the multi-faceted and ever changing world of contemporary image making. The focus is on the integration of leading-edge digital technology, traditional photographic and historic alternative methods to enhance each individual’s image making goals.

Photography students have their choice of undergraduate degree programs: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science and Associate of Applied Arts. Consult the current NMU Undergraduate Bulletin to determine which degree best suits your vision, whether it is a career in visual arts, graduate school education or personal development at: NMU Undergraduate Bulletin

The Photographic Program at NMU with its broadly based General studies concept which incorporates courses in both digital and traditional photographic processes along with theoretical concepts of artistic communication prepares students for the wide range of methods of visual expression necessary in today’s photographic market.

In 2005 the School of Art and Design moved into a new building with leading-edge facilities. All Photography majors utilize the four Mac-based computer labs along side Computer Art, Graphic Communication and Digital Cinema students providing the foundation for the contemporary dialogue and integration of digital technology, theory and applications from related disciplines in image creation. The labs are equipped with Epson and Canon photo printers, state-of-the-art hardware with the most current versions of all the graphic software necessary for photographic manipulation, illustration and output. In addition, the lab offers a lending service of digital SLR cameras, tripods, portable strobes and battery packs and other photographic equipment.

For photography students interested in traditional methods this meant state of the art wet lab facilities for the exploration of black-and-white silver gelatin and historic processes such as cyanotype, gum bichromate, platinum/palladium and salt printing using digital files converted to large format negatives for contact printing. The commercial lighting studio is equipped with professional quality ProFoto strobes and studio stands, digital and film view cameras – equivalent to a working studio.

Professional Pursuits in Photography:

Photography’s rapid technologically evolution requires that students acquire skills in all aspects and applications of the medium. Our goal is to prepare students for success in whatever aspect of discipline they plan to pursue. Whether one is seeking a future in a commercial studio, photojournalism, photographic illustration, fine arts, graduate school or the myriad of other possible applications of the medium, our curriculum is geared to the development of the necessary skills to attaining ones goals.

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The Photography Major Exposes Students to Multiple Processes Including Historic, Traditional, and Digtial

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Photography Studio

The black and white darkroom area has 29 Beseler 45XL enlargers. All the stainless steel sinks have built-in ventilation. A large film processing area supports black and white processing and print drying. For color film and large format film processing we have a Jobo 2500 processor. Color printing is accomplished by using digital cameras or film scanning and printing via Epson 4800, 4880 and 10600 printers. Our photography lighting studio is equipped with professional quality ProFoto strobes, Sinar view camera, Cambo Digital view camera and Foba studio stands. Critique rooms are illuminated with track lighting. A separate finishing room is available for film sorting and print mounting. The general work area (normal illumination) faces an outdoor courtyard area.

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Film Processing Area
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Photo Studio
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The Photography Studio is Equipped with Professional Lights and Digital Camera Systems

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Photography Faculty

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Dennis Staffne

Professor
BFA Art Instutite of Chicago
MFA Art Instutite of Chicago

Dennis Staffne has been involved with photography since his high school days. In college he completed a range of art and design classes including graphic design and drawing courses. Ultimately his emphasis was directed toward photography and photo-printmaking. He completed both his BFA and MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After completing a year of work at Obata Design in St. Louis he accepted a teaching position at Northern Michigan University. Over the years Dennis has used his skills to professionally explore commercial and architectural photography. His work has been represented in numerous group and solo exhibits.


EMAIL

dstaffne@nmu.edu

WEBSITE

staffnephotography.com
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Dennis Staffne
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Dennis Staffne
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Christine Lenzen

Assistant Professor
BFA University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
MFA University of Notre Dame


EMAIL

clenzen@nmu.edu

WEBSITE

christinehinzlenzen.com
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Christine Lenzen
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Christine Lenzen
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Photography Courses

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AD 117 Introduction to Photography

4 credit hours

Introduction to the fundamentals of photographic image making techniques and theoretical practices using digital technology. Assignments and critiques introduce students to digital image structures, workflow and software applications for image making practices. Each student must have access to a digital camera with RAW file capability.


AD 217 Color Digital Photography

4 credit hours
Prerequisites: AD 117

Advanced Digital will focus on extending students’ knowledge of digital media used to manipulate and enhance photographic images and contemporary issues pertaining to digital imaging culture. Students can expect to acquire techniques used for specialized image manipulation using photo manipulation and editing software. Students will create a cohesive final portfolio of professional quality using these new tools supported by critical discussions, reading, and research.


AD 317 Alternative Photographic Practices

4 credit hours
Prerequisites: AD 217

Introduction to traditional and alternative photographic darkroom practices and advanced digital negative formation. Students explore and array methods for creating imagery using traditional film, hand-built and toy cameras in addition to creating photographs from alternative chemical processes. Each student must have access to a camera of any format.


AD 417 Commercial Studio Lighting

4 credit hours
Prerequisite: AD 317

Advanced studio lighting techniques for both portraiture and table-top compositions using large format digital camera capture techniques tethered to computer to replicate current commercial studio theory and practices. Students develop professional portfolios for entrance into the commercial photographic industry.


AD 454 Photography: B.F.A. Seminar

4 credit hours
Prerequisites: AD 303 and AD 417

Preparation of a professional portfolio by each student.

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Photograpy FAQ

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What degree should I pursue?

The majority of photography majors pursue the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree often referred to as the BFA degree. This degree provides for more studio credit hours than does a BA or BS degree. Once you declare a major or your pursued degree you may change at any time - so don't feel as if you are locked in – you are not.

What do I need in terms of a camera?

All photography students (starting with the 100 level class) will need to have access to a digital camera with RAW capability. The photography lab has twenty Nikon D 40 Digital SLR cameras available for loan to students on a 24 hour time period. Students must provide their own secure digital card when borrowing cameras from the lab. Advanced photography majors will need to have access to a film camera of any format from 35mm SLR, medium format cameras to pinhole or plastic toy cameras. View camera work requires the use of a studio view camera (both digital and film based) which are provided by the university in the lighting studio. Some of our students do go on to purchase better cameras and lenses, however, there is no requirement for that.

Will I need to summit a portfolio for admission?

No portfolio review is required. For general requirements for admission into the University you should check with the Admissions Office.

What emphasis will I find in the photography program?

You will learn photography from actual hands-on assignments and group critiques. AD 117 (the first class in our photography program) places an emphasis on the fundamentals of photographic image making techniques and theoretical practices using digital technology. You will learn how to use your camera, compose as you photograph for specific assignments, and produce prints as you acquire skills in Adobe software applications for image editing practices. The emphasis is on creativity and communication. In the AD 217 class you will learn color photography using digital technology and some transparency film. The digital images will be downloaded directly into the computer. Transparencies will be electronically scanned to produce final photo quality prints using digital printers. In the upper level classes an emphasis is placed on traditional black-and-white and alternative processes, use of the film and digital view cameras, studio lighting, refinement of print quality and pursuing your personal and professional direction.

Do most of your majors find employment?

Since not all graduates keep in contact it would be difficult to answer that question. However, many of our graduates who keep in contact have found related employment after graduation. Our program provides instruction in the most current technological methods along with traditional processing techniques, essential to the educational experience and foundation for seeking professional employment. We also provide insight as to what future employers will expect from graduates. Our students generally stay within the Mid-West after graduation. However, we have had students work professionally from Los Angeles to New York. One important realization about professional photography is the diversity of the field. Portraiture, fashion, food, product, editorial, architectural, corporate photography and fine art practices are just a few of the possible professional directions to pursue. A growing number of our graduates are also pursuing graduate studies.

What about the new building?

The new photography facility provides a much-improved working space for the photography program. The computer art laboratory is equipped with the most up to date versions of software on the newest models of Macintosh computers and Epson printers. The traditional wet darkroom has more enlargers in the black and white print room as well as for the advanced lab; a larger film processing area, another processor room for color film and large format processing will accent the new space. Over all the new area should be much improved as far as work flow and space utilization.

May I enroll in other Art and Design classes?

Yes - there are elective Art and Design credits designed into the curriculum. You should consult with your advisor for specific details. Any 100 level Art and Design studio class has no pre-requisites.

What if I have problems enrolling in the AD 117 Introduction to Photography?

The AD 117 photography class does fill quickly. If the class is closed contact the professor (via email). Sometimes there are some drops in enrollment before the semester starts so check again.

Should I purchase supplies early?

It is always best to attend class first to find out what specific supplies are required.

Are there scholarships for incoming freshman?

The school offers the High School Freshman Scholarship (four $1000 awards) that is available each year with applications due in February.

See the web for details
Scholarship Information

More Questions?
Please write Professor Christine Lenzen clenzen@nmu.edu
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