We are a diverse department embracing multiple perspectives, and our students work in virtually all modes of analog and digital photo-based image making and new media.

The Department of Photography & Imaging is centered on the making and understanding of images. We offer a wide-range of traditional and new media photo-based studio and critical studies courses designed to teach students how to see, think, and take creative risks while finding their own voice. Situated within a university, our program offers students both the intensive focus of an intensive arts curriculum and a broad grounding in the liberal arts.

Freshman Year

The freshman curriculum includes three studio courses: Photography & Imaging: Analog, Photography & Imaging: Digital, and Contemporary Imaging Practice
(formally Visual Thinking). These courses provide students with a foundation in black-and-white photography, color photography, digital imaging techniques, darkroom and digital printing, an introduction to visual literacy, and strategies to think and create graphically. Students are introduced to a wide range of tools while simultaneously working on assignments and individualized projects. A critical studies course in contemporary media called Culture, History, Imaging, and Photography Studies (CHIPS) provides an insight into the breadth of photographic culture in New York through lectures and museum/gallery visits.

Photography & Imaging Digital


This is the first course in Photography & Imaging: Digital and Analog sequence to be taken in the first year. Open to majors only. This is an intro class about photographic image making, digital methods of output, and basic theory addressing the cultural uses of photography. This course is designed to familiarize students with fundamental concepts and techniques of photographic equipment, processes, materials, and philosophy of digital photography. This course will familiarize students with the basic use of the camera and workings of Adobe Photoshop as well as scanning, capturing, and outputting digital images. Upon completion of the class, students will know how to digitize, edit, and/or manipulate images in Photoshop, prepare images in Photoshop for the intended output, and output images via printers and other output devices. Students will also develop basic camera and computer imaging skills. Screenings/exhibitions may be assigned as the semester progresses. The course will address the contemporary photographic culture and emphasize the development of individual voice and vision through self-directed projects and research and the establishment of a self-sufficient working process and critical dialogue.


Photography & Imaging Analog

This is the first course in Photography & Imaging: Digital and Analog sequence to be taken in the first year. Open to majors only. This course examines creative expression in the context of traditional analog methodology. It is a class about seeing and translating one’s vision into images. Topics include understanding light as an expressive element in a photograph. Form, content and ideas relating to portraiture, documentary, narrative, landscape and the still life will be incorporated into assignments and discussed at length. Through a series of exercises, students will be immersed in the craft of the medium: understanding exposure and metering, the physical and chemical development of film and print materials, and the means of making fine quality enlargements. Weekly assignments are designed to help the students develop a discipline in their working habits. The weekly critiques are designed to provide students with a forum in which to give each other critical and constructive feedback. Students will view slide lectures on contemporary photography as well as photographs from the medium’s rich past. They will visit and respond to relevant gallery and museum exhibits. The aim of this course is to immerse the student in the issues and ideas that have surfaced in the medium’s 200-year history. It is the teacher’s hope to provide the students with an environment wherein they can grow as perceptive image-makers, interesting thinkers and engaged human beings. Students must also register for Friday Recitation.

Contemporary Imaging Practice

Contemporary Imaging Practice (formerly Visual Thinking) is a foundation course in Tisch Department of Photography & Imaging designed to broaden the student’s aesthetic explorations and to inform their photography. The course will expose and explore basic visual ideas to help the student develop a visual language based on contemporary, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural artistic strategies. Through a series of projects and exercises, students will be encouraged to experiment with line, composition, scale, text/type, performance, collaboration, narrative, design, sound, software, and materials in order to develop strong tools for further awareness and visual expression.

Culture, History, Imaging, and Photography Studies

The course will consist of a series of weekly lectures, discussions, readings and field trips to museums and galleries in the city. Lectures will present historic and contemporary art and photography and its ideation as a basis for understanding the work the students are viewing on their weekly field trips. Students will visit selected exhibitions chosen for their quality and relevance and arranged by geographic area of the city (One week MoMA, the next Chelsea, etc). Students will be required to monitor the daily press and periodicals for reviews of work they've seen and to highlight exhibitions the class should see. Additional readings of historic material will be assigned and short papers will be required.

Second and Third Years

Sophomores complete final studio core course, Photography & Imaging: Multimedia, and take the Critical Studies foundation courses: Social History and Aesthetic History of Photography.  In consultation with advisors, students to choose from a wide variety of studio and critical studies courses depending on their interests. Beginning in their junior year, students can engage in internships with artists, commercial and documentary photographers, and at magazines, museums, galleries and agencies throughout the city. Our flexible major encourages study abroad, recommended for the junior year.  

Social History of Photography

This class will chronicle the history of photography’s complex and symbiotic relationship to the other visual arts: painting sculpture, architecture, installation and performance, among others. Beginning with the medium’s invention and the early fights of its practitioners to establish themselves as fine artists, the course will describe photographers’ unique attempts to negotiate their relationships with both artistic movements and the media culture of which they are a part. Robinson, Cameron, Emerson, F. Holland Day, Stieglitz, Moholy-Nagy, Rodchenko, Weston, Alvarez Bravo, Lartigue, De Carava, Cahun, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman (among others) will be seen within the context of their respective art worlds, so the impact of art movements, cultural attitudes, and new technologies on photographers during different historical periods can be assessed.

Photography & Imaging: Multimedia

For the final studio foundation level requirement, students are required to take one of any of the Photography & Imaging Multimedia courses — all of which will be conceptual, photo based courses, incorporating elements of moving image and sound. This course is intended for students who want to experiment with time-based imaging, photography, video, new media, and online durational performance. Through project development and theoretical dialogue, this course introduces the concepts, strategies, techniques, and critical issues of the visual image in the electronic context: print, animation, mixed media, video, etc. Students will learn software including Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. Creativity and problem solving are strongly emphasized. This course will also discuss pioneering artists in the field, framing a historical context and platform for project investigation. Furthermore, the core of Multimedia Imaging develops an in-depth understanding of the technical and aesthetic foundations of photography and digital technologies.

Final Year

During the fall semester, all seniors take Senior Directed Projects to develop and complete their thesis projects. A series of senior exhibitions takes place in the Department Galleries throughout the spring semester. Accompanying this show is the B.F.A. catalog, which is produced by seniors in the course Anatomy of the Book. Many seniors also take the Business of Art in addition to their internships, which offers seniors the opportunity to prepare portfolios and write grants for professional work and graduate school.

Senior Directed Projects

In this intensive critique course, students produce their senior thesis project for exhibition in the spring semester. Students are encouraged to use any photo-based method or approach that can best serve their individual ideas and directions. Later emphasis will be on refining and editing each project, with assistance in determining a final completed form. Critical emphasis will encourage the development of personal vision and project forms that best serve specific choices. Students will be expected to challenge themselves and each other to delve deeper with their work and take risks. On the first day of class, students must bring a past project and be prepared to present their project ideas.

Business of Art

This class will attempt to demystify the questions and decisions young artists face when choosing a profession in the arts. Central to the course is understanding an artist's creative growth and lifestyle choices are inextricably entwined with his/her financial security. Young, creative professionals need to realistically assess their future goals and aspirations in order to find their niche in the worlds of both art and commerce, while supporting their larger creative vision. This class is largely a survey of the many career choices available to artists. Topics covered will be: graduate schools, careers in teaching, editorial, advertising, stock and corporate photography, art buying and photo editing, photo assisting, galleries, artist's residencies, grants and fundraising sources, portfolio preparation and marketing rsums. The class relies heavily on guests from the publishing, business and art world, giving students the chance to show their work to, and elicit advice from, top industry professionals. This course requires a nonrefundable lab fee.

Anatomy of the Book

The workshop nature of the class stresses collaboration and experimentation. Lectures include topics such as making type beautiful, process as place, being a visual scavenger. In addition to exploring the creative process, workshops in Indesign, type design, photo editing, and pagination will be taught throughout the semester. Students will learn the craft and execute a handmade book. After the design process is completed, students begin the production process: choosing paper, constructing digital files, coordinating with a printer, and working out printing budgets.

More Information

  • Major Requirements

    Area I: Studio Courses 40 credits (minimum)
    Area II: Critical Studies 24 credits (minimum)
    Area III: Liberal Arts Courses 44 credits (minimum)

  • Critical Studies Minor

    A Minor in Critical Studies in the Department of Photography & Imaging is an option only for students majoring in Photography & Imaging.

  • Contact Us

    Photography & Imaging
    721 Broadway, 8th Floor
    New York, NY 10003
    Phone: 212 998 1930
    Fax: 212 995 4068