Photography | BFA

The BFA in Photography curriculum prepares students to bring a critical and historical understanding of the photographic medium in the exploration of conceptual ideas with new image-making capabilities.

SFAI approaches photography as a visual and conceptual tool, a way to construct a narrative, and a means to document the world. Students work in both digital and analog formats with the opportunity to experiment with a variety of photographic processes, print surfaces, and equipment while considering issues around representation, scale, installation, site-specific works, and audience.


Summary of Required Credits

Liberal Arts Requirements (Examples: Global Social Movements, Un/Natural Ideologies, Concepts of Creativity, Mathematics: A Visual History, Extinction)33
Studio & General Elective Requirements 72
Art History Requirements15

Photography Major, Elective + Exhibition Requirements

Introduction to Photography3
Contemporary Tools and Practices3
Technical Elective6
Digital Photography I3
Digital Photography II3
Conceptual Elective (Ex: Beyond What's Out There: Constructed Photography, Digital Bookmarking and Publishing) 6
History of Photography II3
Photo Elective (Ex: Sacred and Profane II, Disruption and Order: Bringing Photographs Together) 6
Contemporary Practice3
Electives in any studio discipline (Ex: Relief Printing, Real Life Comics, Surfaces: Illusion/Abstraction) 24
General Electives9
Senior Review Seminar3
BFA Exhibition0

Art History Requirements

Topics and Foundations in Global Visual Culture3
Topics and Foundations in Contemporary Art3
History of the Major3
Art History Elective3
Art History Elective3

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students will acquire a comprehensive working knowledge of analog photography, digital photography, and alternative photo-media skills.
  • Students will gain a thorough understanding of photography’s history, theory, and relationship to other media.
  • Students will understand both the aesthetic and instrumental functions of the medium and their relationship to social and cultural issues.
  • Students will develop a cohesive body of work that demonstrates conceptual and aesthetic consistency and a point of view.
  • Students will develop the ability to learn through the critique process and become self-critical.
  • Students will have the ability to articulate how their own work and the work of others functions in related contexts: historical, social, cultural, aesthetic, and psychological.

Past Courses

  • Introduction to Photography and the Darkroom
  • Introduction to Photography as the Digital Medium
  • Advanced Technology for Digital Imaging
  • Expanded Documentary Photography
  • The Photograph as Sculpture
  • Sacred & Profane
  • Alternative Processes
  • Digital bookmaking and Publishing
  • Lighting: Studio & On Location
  • Photography, Sex, and Gender
  • Visual Translations
  • Vernacular Landscape