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About the program

Work by Kaitlyn Malinowski

Photography and Documentary Studies Concentration

Students who wish to pursue careers in photography, visual art and journalism, and emerging media are invited to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in Art and Design – Photography and Documentary Studies. The major builds on a strong foundation of technical skills in exposure, intentional image-making, darkroom practice, and digital workflow. From there, the student has an opportunity to explore a range of emerging and traditional technologies while developing personal interests and professional skills. Areas of focus include studio lighting, portraiture, still life, visual storytelling, community-based projects, partnerships in ecology and sustainability, color photography, digital imaging, photogrammetry (3D photography), photo-collage, non-silver processes, contemporary art practice, bookmaking, and media. A final thesis project results in exhibition, an artist’s book, and portfolio. The major also connects students with internships, paid opportunities, and professional pathways, while enhancing the qualifications of students who wish to pursue graduate work.

Photography and Documentary Studies Minor

Students who specialize in other areas are welcome to pursue concentrated study of photographic practice through a minor in Photography and Documentary Studies. This avenue can work well for students pursuing a B.A. in Art, a degree in Art Education, Graphic Design, or another field. The minor widens the student’s perspective, enriches personal growth, promotes professional opportunity, and enhances qualifications for those planning to pursue a graduate degree. The minor program meets the needs of these students through the development of technical skills, visual literacy, critical analysis, and the creation of a work portfolio.

About the Department

The Art and Design department offers robust programs in traditional art and design forms, while ushering in new media practices and ideas with a spirit of openness, growth, and responsiveness to the changing needs of our students. Programs emphasize knowledge of craft and materials, but also engage inquiries in liberal arts, science, and technology. They nurture community engagement and collaboration. They cross disciplinary boundaries through creative exploration. Students use the city as a classroom and respond to community needs through joint projects. The department sends our graduates into classrooms and professional settings as emissaries of a mindful and intentional approach to their chosen media and creative processes. We teach students to solve problems together through iterative means. We foster inclusion by responding to the changing cultural landscape of the city and the unique gifts and needs of diverse bodies of students from across the state. We do this through the shared language of artistic inquiry, using the studio and seminar room as laboratory to engage questions of society and the self in the changing workplaces of tomorrow.

Careers in Photography

What can I expect to do with a Photography and Documentary Studies degree?

You may go on to work at (or found) a photography business, auction house, media organization, nongovernmental agency, research foundation, museum, publishing venture, aid organization, real-estate company, fashion label, public-relations firm, design studio, or gallery. You may continue on to graduate school in visual arts, emerging media, or documentary film.

You may find yourself in a field that aligns closely with the practice of photography. Or, instead, the modes of creativity, critical inquiry, discipline, collaboration, technical skill, community engagement, generosity and ethics acquired here will take you on other paths, while guiding you as a thinker, doer, maker.


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Art & Design Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Upton Hall 402 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-6032 •  Fax: (716) 878-4231