Photography/Digital Media Area Overview
We live in the midst of a profound and pervasive digital revolution, which makes it both an exciting and challenging time to be an artist. Today’s lens-based media artist has access to more image-capturing options and methods for distributing images and ideas than ever before. The Photography / Digital Media (PDM) curriculum prepares artists to take full advantage of traditional and contemporary tools in pursuit of creating significant, conceptually rigorous artwork.
BFA in Photography/Digital Media
BFA students are expected to develop their own artistic identities supported by a solid grounding in the technical, historical, and critical approaches to studio practice. Classroom technical instruction focuses on a thorough study of digital photography and video art, but also includes studio lighting, traditional photographic forms and large format photography. Technical skills are fortified with historical and theoretical studies, and an examination of current practices in lens-based media. Most importantly, the PDM curriculum and pedagogy is aimed at developing in our students the ability to adapt to an ever-changing media environment.
For our most enthusiastic and committed graduates, the BFA is the beginning of a dynamic career making and exhibiting art. Graduates contribute to the cultural vitality of the Houston community as well as other cultural centers around the world. PDM graduates are well positioned for acceptance into competitive graduate programs and many PDM graduates do choose to pursue an MFA.
Specific career options include educator, freelance or staff videographer/photographer, digital technician, photographic editor or video editor. Many students find employment in art institutions such as galleries, museums and non-profit art spaces as well as in support industries like documentation, archiving and art handling.
Internships with Houston-based exhibition spaces are encouraged. Advanced undergraduate students whose Studio Art GPA are 3.0 or better, and MFA students may submit proposals to the area coordinator to do internships with alternative spaces, non-profit arts organizations, or museums for 3 semester credit hours. FotoFest continues to be a major resource for student internships. Other organizations that have participated are the Houston Center for Photography, Southwest Alternate Media Project, DiverseWorks, the Blaffer Gallery, Project Row Houses, the Aurora Picture Show and the Contemporary Art Museum Houston.
Visiting Artists, Curators & Faculty
The UH PDM Visiting Artists Program draws on the panoply of guest artists brought to Houston by FotoFest, the Houston Center for Photography, the Core Program at the Glassell School and other exhibition spaces in the city. Visiting Artists include: Bennie Flores Ansell, Bill Armstrong, Amalia Mesa Bains, Colin Blakely, Shelley Calton, Alejandro Cartagena, Mel Chin, Jamal Cyrus, Hernease Davis, Ben De Soto, Jess T. Dugan, Hasan Elahi, Genevieve Gaignard, Harry Gamboa Jr., Genevieve Gainard, Meggan Gould, Barbara Hammer, Jacqueline Hayden, Tanja Hollander, Earlie Hudnall Jr., Amy Jorgensen, Priya Kambli, Edgar Leciejewski, Mads Ljundahl, Sara Macel, Linarejos Moreno, Bill Morrison, Sondra Perry, Ethan Rafal, Steve Rowell, Jason Salavon, Bryan Schumaat, Rishi Singhal, Krista Steinke, Eddo Stern, Debra Stratman, Barbara Tannenbaum, Nick Vaughn/Jake Margolin, Anne Wilkes-Tucker and Geoffrey Winningham.
Visiting curators include: Natasha Egan, curator at Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Hannah Freiser, Director of Center for Photography Woodstock, New York; Charles Guice, independent curator; Ben Hickey, curator at Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA; Bill Hunt, independent collector and curator; Barbara Tannenbaum, curator at Cleveland Museum of Art; and Beth Pickens, writer, arts consultant. Guest faculty include James Sham, Kelly Sears and Jamal Cyrus.