Photography Department Philosophy
The Photography Department is a trans-disciplinary environment where a shared knowledge of the history of photography and critical issues stemming from the lens and screen are a starting point for producing artworks. Among the conditions of a saturated image economy is an almost infinite amount of appealing searchable images. More than ever artists using photography need to have pretensions about what constitutes an artwork. Critical discussions in the department take an analytic perspective and often focus on the way images are disseminated and how their reception affects considerations about form. We evaluate production value, content and its formal translation, and the nature of practice as we establish models of critique and production that can be sustained beyond the academy and into the profession.
At the MFA program in photography at Cranbrook, approximately 15 students work closely with their Artist-in-Residence to find their subject matter, explore the function of form, and produce a refined and sustainable practice that generates artworks. In addition to regularly scheduled group critiques, the artist-in-residence engages the students in individual meetings and assigned readings. Part of the curriculum is generated by the students as they are expected to do field and literary research throughout their tenure at Cranbrook. Each student shares her field and literary research with her peers by conducting a seminar in which she leads her cohort through a field trip and selected readings. The program is supplemented by regular visits from outside artists, writers and curators.
Each MFA candidate is awarded a studio space. Cranbrook Photography houses both digital and wet labs. The digital lab includes processing, scanning, printing and viewing stations. The processing area includes several iMacs equipped with the latest version of the Adobe Creative Suite. The scanning station includes an Imacon scanner for negatives and a large-scale scanner for opaque and transparent media. The printing station includes a Mac Pro tower, a professional monitor, the latest Adobe Creative Suite, Caldera RIP software, and an Epson Stylus Pro 11880 printer. The photography department offers students the use of a Mamiya 645 outfitted with an 80 megapixal back for both studio and field work. In addition to the facilities in the Photography Department, the Central Media Lab houses a studio with infinity walls, and provides digital cameras, video cameras, lights and sound equipment for check out.