SVA is a photography school in New York City whose mission is to educate students who aspire to become professional artists. Undergraduate photography school students have access to SVA’s cutting-edge facilities, as well as our 100-plus faculty of photographers, museum directors, critics, art directors, photo editors, and photography collectors. Request information at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about SVA's photography college.
In the past decade, the line between commercial and art photography has all but disappeared. A highly personalized look, no matter how quirky, can open doors to both galleries and big-ticket ad campaign assignments. Risk-taking is now a practical career strategy for photographers, just ask former SVA guest lecturers David LaChappelle and Josef Astor. There is no need for compromise anymore.
That is very good news for SVA students, or anyone with something to say who uses a camera to say it. SVA is all about the cultivation of a self-expressed sensibility, a signature style. We do it by providing the absolute highest standard in photographic equipment and technology, and a course of instruction that teaches you to transcend the wizardry of all that gear with the power of your message. It's not the $4,000 Leica M6 camera that counts, but the mind behind it.
We recently gutted and renovated the photo department, adding new studios, darkrooms, and digital labs, and acquiring Canon D30 digital cameras, Omega D-5 enlargers and the newest Hasselblad systems. In addition to ongoing updates in technology and equipment, we are continually adding new instructors to the faculty and new electives to the curriculum. These changes offer students the widest and richest possible exposure to ideas, influences, and sources of inspiration.
Our 100-plus faculty includes not only photographers, but museum directors, critics, art directors, photo editors, and photography collectors. They are chosen not only for their expertise, their accomplishments, and their industry clout, but also for their generosity and sense of humor. Access to this world-class talent pool is a simple matter of asking the right expert for your specific project need.
Fourth-year students may be assigned a mentor to critique their work, and can make networking suggestions to effect an otherwise out-of-reach introduction. The mentors are powerful industry players, like the editor of Artforum, the creative director of The New Yorker, and the photography critic of the The Village Voice, who recognize the caliber of talent at SVA and want to provide entr?e to career-bound students.
Developing an identity as a photographer starts in your first year, and takes surprising forms. As your eye sharpens through technical practice, you will also hone an ability to think about the photographic arts through writing exercises.
Writing critically about the craft and your own work allows you to clarify and articulate your intentions. In the fourth year, you write a statement about your thesis project. This is a challenging, time-consuming process of reckoning with your work, and a chance to discover your voice. It is a deeper recognition of who you are as an artist.
You may focus on fashion, landscape, figurative, or social documentary photography during your time here. Your studio practice can range from the pinhole to the pixel, or combine both. You will generate hundreds, even thousands, of pictures by the time you graduate. They will all boil down to the most important image you'll take away from SVA: Your self-portrait.
I teach at SVA because I think it's a great school and I love many of the students I meet—I learn a lot from them. There is another reason, though. When I came here eight years ago at the age of 28 to be interviewed for the job by Stephen Frailey, I’d been exhibiting my work for a few years but had little experience teaching photography. I shared my insecurities with Mr. Frailey, and among other things, he asked me, “Can you be generous?' “I can,” I said. “So you can teach, “ he said, “you’ve got the job.” This was one of the more inspiring moments I have had in my professional career, and his words still inspire me today as a teacher.