The greatest photographers are visionaries. They hone and refine their unique vision of the world — and then they share it with the rest of us, providing startling insights, capturing resonant moments, and occasionally even shaping the course of history.
Photography is a craft and an art form; it also calls for a clarity of thought and originality in perspective that emerges from a wide-ranging, horizon-broadening liberal arts education like you’ll find at Oglethorpe.
Oglethorpe’s studio art programs combine access to Atlanta’s thriving and vibrant art scene, fantastic on-campus resources like the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, and personalized instruction from highly knowledgeable professors.
As a student in the Oglethorpe photography track, you will…
- Gain visual literacy and sophistication
- Investigate both digital photography and traditional darkroom methods
- Learn to see beyond the most obvious visual elements in an image, to what meaning those elements represent
- Examine the history of photographic processes — students even get to recreate and build a traditional or digital pinhole camera
- Explore the history and contemporary practice of the medium with field trips to Atlanta galleries and museums
The curriculum is based on the understanding that photography is a conceptual fine art. Creative risk-taking is essential — and so Oglethorpe students are given the space to take leaps and the freedom to explore. Top-level classes include options for both traditional dark room photography and digital photography, so you can take advantage of the media that best supports your work. As a final project, each student self-publishes a professionally produced book with their best images.
Track in Studio Art Major
- Students get hands-on experience with real-world, on-site photography at some of Atlanta’s most beautiful, historic and quirky locations, including Little Five Points, downtown Atlanta, Piedmont Park, the Goat Farm, Historic Oakland Cemetery and Hahn Woods. These field trips allow students to experiment with photographing the broader community, and encourage visual problem-solving with different lighting, environments and subjects.
- Oglethorpe students exhibit their work in professional galleries, even winning awards! One talented photo student won first prize at the “Expressions of Light” exhibit at Roswell Visual Arts Center. Another student’s work was selected for FRESH, an annual exhibition by the Association for Visual Arts in Chattanooga, Tennessee that highlights the Southeast’s most promising emerging artists.
- Atlanta’s vibrant art scene offers plenty of opportunities to participate in community art projects. For example, an Intro to Digital Photography class participated in an art exhibit at the Bill Lowe Gallery that drew awareness to the plight of the homeless. Each student donated an image on the theme of hope and transformation to benefit the Samaritan House of Atlanta. In a Concepts in Photography class, students participated in The Sketchbook Project through the Art House Co-op. Their photographic sketchbooks toured the nation in an art book library, and are now permanently housed in Brooklyn, NY.
- Grow as an artist by interacting with the work of others. Oglethorpe students learn from top professionals in the field — like a recent outing to see photojournalist Lyndsey Addario speak at the Fernbank Museum, with her photography displayed on the museum’s large IMAX screen. Another time, students visited Georgia State University for a talk by photographer Brandon Stanton, internationally known for his on-going photography project “Humans of New York.” Finally, students visit photography exhibits in Atlanta’s many thriving galleries and museums.
Interested in a career as a photographer? There are a number of interesting fields in which you can specialize.
- Photojournalism – Provide candid documentary images of people, places, and events for newspapers, magazines, and blogs.
- Commercial photography – Shoot on location or in the studio to beautifully depict fashion, food, products, architecture, travel destinations and more for advertising and stock photo collections.
- Portrait photography – Take student yearbook photos, actor and model head shots, business bio pics, wedding and engagement photos, and pictures of children and pets.
- Fine art photography – Create works of art that can be sold in galleries, displayed in museums, and anchor decor in homes and businesses.
As a professional photographer, you can find employment in advertising, marketing and PR agencies; magazines, newspapers and digital publications; museums and event spaces; and communications departments at major nonprofit organizations and large companies. Or, consider starting your own business as a freelance photographer and take your camera wherever your clients call!
Oglethorpe’s photography program also offers ideal preparation to pursue a master of fine arts in photography.