Photography Program Director and Assistant Professor Anne Massoni talks with PhotoVideoEDU about the UArts program's blend of fine arts and professional training, its multidisciplinary approach to creative work, and its urban Philadelphia campus.
For more information about The University of the Arts and to see photos of the campus, visit the school's profile on PhotoVideoEDU.
PhotoVideoEDU: What is distinctive about your program?
Anne Massoni: Located on the 15th and 14th floors of the state-of-the-art Terra Hall with a commanding view overlooking Philadelphia’s famed “Avenue of the Arts,” the Photography program offers a superb environment in which to study.
Our program is based upon some core beliefs: We train our students to work in the field of photography on a professional basis, so students work with the same software and equipment that professionals use, ensuring they are ready for the workplace. We are also fervent believers that fine-art photography and larger fine-art concerns inform our work and are vital to our growth as artists. Students in the program use the program’s full range of media tools and techniques to create their own artistic vision. The curriculum is designed to encourage students to be creative and inventive while they develop a solid technical competency. Graduates of the program work in both fine art and applied art fields.
The program operates two galleries that exhibit work of a national and international stature. The Sol Mednick Gallery (named after the founder of the photography program) and Gallery 1401 both exhibit contemporary work in photography, and also showcase our students’ work.
PhotoVideoEDU: What kinds of students does the program attract?
Students in the photo program at UArts come from all over the country, with a growing international presence, but at its core, UArts attracts students primarily from the Mid-Atlantic region.
PhotoVideoEDU: What kind of campus does your school have, and what is student life like?
UArts is an urban campus. We are situated right in the heart of Philadelphia. Students live in campus dorms and apartments in and around Center City. The university is just steps from the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home to the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra and Pennsylvania Ballet, the Academy of Music, UArts’ own historic Merriam Theater, and six regional theaters. Dozens of galleries and other exhibition spaces are within walking distance of the campus.
PhotoVideoEDU: Does the program have required courses or final requirements?
The courses our students take in the Photography program include: Intro to Photo I and II, Color Concepts, Studio Photography, Advanced Studio Photography, Digital Photo Workshop, Junior Projects/Discourse I and II, Senior Photo Workshop I and II, History of Photography, Contemporary Issues in Photography, and Critical Issues in Photography.
Students are required to participate in the Senior Photo Exhibition as well.
In addition, we have electives: Surface Altered, Non-Silver, Fashion and Editorial Photography, Photojournalism, Large Format Projection, Advanced Digital Workshop, Professional Practice, and Special Topics.
The School of Art is committed to a multi-disciplinary approach to the study, practice, and understanding of creative work. The Photography program has a flexible new curriculum offering the ability to study photography in different ways.
PhotoVideoEDU: Does the program have any important new developments on the horizon?
PhotoVideoEDU: Do your students do internships?
Anne Massoni: Philadelphia’s extensive professional resources have allowed us to develop an internship program that enables students to apply their knowledge in various studios, galleries, and production houses. Although not required by the program, students more often than not take on internships. Students can seek out internships outside of Philadelphia, and in the past students have interned in New York, across the country, and even abroad. We offer internship opportunities for credit as well.
PhotoVideoEDU: Do you hold special events for photography students?
Anne Massoni: We collaborate with area photo institutions like Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC) for portfolio shares and with Tyler School of Art for professional development and photo resource demos. We take our students to New York annually for AIPAD and PhotoPlus Expo, and of course to visit New York galleries and museums. We host countless visiting artists over the course of the year, including our annual Paradigm Lecture Series, and with two on-campus galleries, we offer a rich exhibition schedule for our students and larger university and Philadelphia communities.
PhotoVideoEDU: Do your students get opportunities to show their work?
Anne Massoni: We have annual student exhibitions in our gallery spaces, off-campus exhibitions, and rotating work in our hallways.
PhotoVideoEDU: What areas do graduates of your program go on to work in as professionals?
Anne Massoni: Our students go on to work as photography professionals in a variety of different fields, including advertising, illustration, still life, special effects, public relations and celebrity photography, documentary, portraiture, fashion, food, studio still life, photojournalism, fine art, art directing, biomedical, and digital imaging. Many start up their own freelance businesses, and others go on to graduate school, earning MFAs and later teaching.
PhotoVideoEDU: Could you name a few distinguished graduates?
Anne Massoni: Among our particularly distinguished alumni are:
Anne Massoni: We are building two new lighting studios, a larger print-finishing and large-format printing room, and an improved equipment checkout facility. We've launched a new program combining photography and film. And new photography elective courses will be added to the curriculum for the fall of 2015.