At Western, the phrase "fine art photography" continually undergoes creative, expansive redefinition. The emphasis relates to all other disciplines in the Art department in an atmosphere of cross-fertilization and evolution. Having significantly influenced every fine art medium in the 20th century, photography has irrevocably altered the perception and participation of artists. Today, that lively interaction continues in Western's photography courses. Although faculty members support experimentation and aesthetic freedom, they also expect students to meet the demanding, critical challenges of artistic growth and technical expertise.
In beginning photography classes, Western Art students sample a wide range of basic, practical information and conceptual issues. Intermediate classes offer in-depth studies of specific ideas and technical areas. In advanced classes, students have opportunities for more self-directed projects, developed through group seminars and frequent private consultations with the instructor.
Because the complex relationships between media, emotional expression, and visual exploration form such an integral part of the department's approach, students need to gain a general knowledge of other media, a basic understanding of art history, and a thorough comprehension of the history of photography.
The department furnishes strong technical support, including a printing lab, basic chemistry, finishing area, view cameras, tripods and lighting equipment, black-and-white darkroom, and Macintosh computers with industry-standard software.