Optical Oasis - Teaching the Art
Olsen, Eric P., The World and I
"Ansel [Adams] always wanted his archives to be a component of teaching," says CCP director Terry Pitts. "He only talked with universities. So our first director, Harold Jones, went across the street and established the photography department at the university."
A division of the University of Arizona's art department, the photography program offers bachelor's and master's degrees, with graduates typically pursuing careers as teachers, curators, or administrators.
"It is strictly a fine-arts photography program," says associate professor Carol Flax. "All the students take art history classes. They are exposed to photo techniques, including camera usage and using different types of film, along with working digitally. We also discuss theory, history, and criticism. I'd say our goal is to help students gain a broad understanding of the medium and its place in the art discourse as well as a larger cultural perspective."
For admission to most courses beyond the introductory level, students are required to submit portfolios. These are evaluated for technical skill, as well as conceptual maturity and originality. Students on a degree track eventually narrow their concentration according to their own inclinations.
"Students pick a track," says Flax. "They can focus on digital or they can focus on black-and-white or color, on documentary photography or social issues, or on a blend of concerns. …