BFA Photojournalism

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program is an ideal training ground for a new generation of creative visual reporters and documentarians. Photojournalism majors learn the traditions of visual reportage and are introduced to the new media and skill sets required in this rapidly changing field.

The program's faculty includes working photographers from The Washington Post and other news media, White House photography staff, and picture editors from National Geographic. The curriculum includes a variety of fine art components that stress the importance of individual creativity in today's marketplace alongside classes that emphasize the legal, ethical, and economic challenges of the profession.

The Corcoran's overall photography curriculum recognizes the critical importance of the photographic image and lens-based media in contemporary society while establishing its historical context within the history of art. Photojournalism and Fine Art Photography are unique programs that influence and strengthen each other as issues of documentary practice and subjective interpretation play out across both curricula. Both programs are committed to risk-taking, analytical thinking, and conceptual problem solving. An ongoing dialogue in joint seminar courses and critiques enhances each major's practice and energizes students and faculty in both disciplines. College-wide and departmental visiting artists, along with exhibitions in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, enrich students' experience of how photography can be a vehicle for creative expression as well as an agent for change.

Curriculum

In the 120-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program, students start by gaining a thorough grounding in the history, techniques, aesthetics, practices, and critical understandings of photojournalism. From there, students can advance their photography, audio, and video skills in the context of real-life client interaction and project development.

Required Courses

• Photo Fundamentals I: Light Studies and Optical Culture
• Photo Fundamentals II: Techniques and Practice
• Media Lab I and II
• Photojournalism Studios I - IV
• Photojournalism Thesis I and II
• Photojournalism Seminars I and II
• Professional Practices for Photojournalism

Specialized Courses

• Advanced Studio Lighting: Commission Project
• Speed of Sound and Real Un-reel
• Web Essay

Study-Away Courses

The Corcoran Photography Department promotes an international, cross-cultural awareness with courses that have on-site components in Mexico, El Salvador, and Israel.

Sample Curriculum

Required Courses – First Year

• Art History I: Now, Contemporary Perspectives
• Art History II: Historical Perspectives
• Writing I
• Writing II
• First Year Studio I
• First Year Studio II
• Photo Fundamentals I: Light Studies and Optical Culture
• Photo Fundamentals II: Techniques and Practice
• Two Studio Electives

Required Courses – Upper Level

• Media Lab I
• Media Lab II
• Photojournalism Studio I
• Photojournalism Studio II
• Photojournalism Studio III
• Photojournalism Studio IV
• Photojournalism Seminar I
• Photojournalism Thesis I
• Photojournalism Thesis II
• Photojournalism Seminar II
• Professional Practice for Photojournalism
• 20th Century Art
• Contemporary Culture
• History and Aesthetics of Photography
• Humanities I
• Humanities II
• One Art History Elective
• Four Arts and Humanities Electives
• Four Fine Art or Photojournalism Specialization Electives
• Four Studio Electives

Sample Elective Courses

Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program can choose electives from a variety of innovative courses conducted both at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and abroad, with focuses on fine art photography or photojournalism. Here are some examples:

• Color Photography
• Extended Image
• Summer Study Away in Israel
• Place and Narrative: Study Away in Mexico
• Studio Lighting
• Advanced B&W Printing
• Pre-digital Alternative Processes
• Advanced Digital Photography
• Advanced Studio Lighting: Commission Project
• International Experience/Transnational Identity: El Salvador Study Away
• Making Meaning: Narrative and the Art of the Photography Book
• Real Un-reel
• Picture Editing
• Web Essay
• Speed of Sound
• The Photograph in Contemporary Art

Careers

With its location in the heart of Washington, D.C., the Corcoran College of Art and Design gives photojournalism students access to a constant procession of news and documentary subjects. As the program progresses, faculty also help students identify internship and career possibilities.

Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program have interned with The Washington Post, The Washington Times, MediaStorm, National Geographic magazine, The White House, The Pentagon, and U.S. News & World Report.

Graduates of the program have gotten jobs at United Press International, U.S. News & World Report, Politico, The Washington Post, and other major news outlets.

Photography/Photojournalism Faculty

Margaret Adams
Assistant Professor

Mary Battiata

Gabriela Bulisova
NMPJ Faculty

Natalie Cheung
Adjunct Faculty

Caroline Couig
Adjunct Faculty

Frank DiPerna
The Ruesch Family Professor of Photography

Andy Grundberg
Professor, Dean, Associate Provost

Muriel Hasbun
Chair of Photography, Associate Professor

Madeline Marshall

Antonio McAfee
Adjunct Instructor

Pablo Ortiz Monasterio

Jennifer O'Neill
Director of Academic Advising

Robert Reeder
Adjunct Faculty

Jon Routson
Adjunct Faculty

Claudia Smigrod
Professor of Photography

Susan Sterner
Director of Photojournalism Programs, Assistant Professor of Photojournalism

Lauren Stockbower
Adjunct Faculty

Lori Waselchuk
Adjunct Faculty

Terri Weifenbach
Adjunct Faculty

Tamsen Wojtanowski
Adjunct Faculty

Department Life

The Corcoran's Photograph Department promotes excellence in a supportive environment where students can develop their artistic and technical skills and cultivate their aspirations.

Under the guidance of the department's faculty of professional artists and photojournalists, students in the Fine Art Photography and Photojournalism programs participate together in projects and events that complement the curriculum. Students can mentor peers as a Photography Department lab tech, reach out as photography and video instructors to young people in the broader Washington, D.C. community, attend lectures, view exhibitions, and work closely with visiting artists to help realize and document projects.

FotoWeek D.C.
As a major center for collecting, displaying, and studying photography and photojournalism, the Corcoran is a regular participant in FotoWeek D.C., an annual festival dedicated to the photographic arts. Since 2008, the Corcoran has participated as a sponsor of the festival and often as a site for FotoWeek lectures and exhibitions.

Visiting Artists
The Corcoran College of Art and Design's Visiting Artist program and other opportunities to connect with working artists and designers enhance the efforts of the faculty to provide a broad perspective on contemporary practice.

The Visiting Artist-in-Residence program facilitates opportunities to build relationships with professional artists and photographers through lectures, critiques, and workshops. And "Critics in the Classroom" plays a pivotal role in studio and classroom reviews, providing students with focused points of view and a direct connection to the world of a working photographer.

Recent visiting artists have included David Levinthal, Alex Prager, Donna DeCesare and Arnold Newman Distinguished Lecturers in Photography Carrie Mae Weems, Taryn Simon and Paul Graham.

 

Examples of Student Work

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