Academics: Majors and Programs

Student With Camera

Photography Major

Major Requirements

The creation of a photography major at Spelman underscores the College’s commitment to be a global leader in the education of women of African descent. Universally, we rely on images to tell complex narratives and often replace text with image. It is important for women of color to explicitly tell their own stories, and the stories of their communities. Having this direct voice, allows for rich and complex narratives to be told.

Visual Storytellers

Spelman's photography is designed to create visual storytellers who consider and explore the complicated role photography plays in contemporary culture. The program requires students to elevate casual image making to the formal study of the photographic image.

In the beginning of the program, you will learn the following:

  • Visual design and form
  • Technical aspects of camera control
  • Lighting
  • Computer manipulation
  • Printing

    Once you become comfortable with the equipment, techniques and elements of the craft, you will explore various genres of photography. You will also be challenged to use the camera to create documentary narratives, as well as fictive narratives. Beyond creating your own imagery, you will research the extensive history of photography in order to learn and articulate how images gain their strength and power.

    Through the learning of this history (artistic, advertising, cultural and vernacular imagery) and image dissemination, you will engage in conversations about the social and cultural context of imagery. In your senior year, you will conduct an in-depth investigation -- through a body of work -- of one specific subject that directly reflects your personal conceptual paradigms around photography, research and modes of output. 

    Connections and Collaborations

    The medium of photography intersects with many other programs on campus because it examines  history, politics, culture and society as it documents the times in which we live. Opportunities for interdisciplinary activity both in the arts (sculpture/installation performance, video and film) as well as creative writing, social justice, psychology, philosophy, education and computer science, are rich with possibilities. Collaborations will be driven by you conceptual interests, which will be guided by faculty in these areas of study.