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Gen. Chat “Photography Nerds - Good Colleges” by Boudicca

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Boudicca 2 years ago on 04/17/12
Equipped: Lightsaber named "I AM the Dark Side, Motherfuckers!!"
Hey guys, Dwarf Galaxy is starting to look into colleges and he wants go major in Photography. I know we have several members who either are professional photographers and/or went to school to study photography. What colleges have the best programs in this field?

Any tips on the application process? Do certain schools cater to specific types of photography? Good resources for possible scholarships specific to photography?

Any input would be most helpful!!

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Allison 2 years ago on 04/17/12
Equipped: The Auryn named "The Neverending Fandom!"
Hm, I did not go to school for photography so I don't know how much help I can be. However, I DID take a tour of SCAD in Atlanta and their facilities are amazing. It's also a really expensive school, though. A couple of OB members went there though so maybe they can give you some better opinions on whether SCAD is worth the money.
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Duncan 2 years ago on 04/17/12
Equipped: Symmetrical Bread Stack named "No HUMAN BEING could stack bread like this..."
I went to SCAD Atlanta and I gotta say that I wouldn't have the job I have now if I didn't go there. That said, I didn't study photography so I'm not sure how much you NEED THIS COLLEGE to be successful. Tess is a Photo Major there, so she would have a much better idea.

Although Business Insider claims SCAD is ranked the #1 biggest ripoff in the country.
http://www.businessinsider.com/worst-value-colleges-2012-4
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Boudicca 2 years ago on 04/17/12
Equipped: Lightsaber named "I AM the Dark Side, Motherfuckers!!"
Thanks for the info, you guys!

I have also been told that VCU and UNCG are good. Also, University of Arizona and California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

Closer to home is of course preferable for me and Uma, but we are looking at ll options as we want DG to have the best opportunity that works for him.

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Tess the Meanie 2 years ago on 04/17/12
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I'm going to SCAD Atlanta right now for BFA in photography. It's pretty good, the facilities are pretty great along with the professors. I would recommend looking at the campus in Savannah though because they have more classes and teachers there. It's just an overall bigger campus.

However, I was able to learn pretty well in a state school (Montclair State in NJ), but they just didn't offer as many varying classes. I would recommend SCAD even though it sounds very pricey. Other art schools will be even more pricey, possibly like FIT, Parsons, Pratt and SVA (all in NYC). There's other great photo schools in California, but the general living out there plus tuition also costs even more, and not necessarily worth it. I also recommend going to both types of schools for the most rounded type of education. I tend to think people who transferred into an art school not only had an easier time getting in, but also take much better advantage of being in one. They also will know what they want clearly. Also scholarships are pretty common that way.

The thing with SCAD though, it turns out some really awesome photographers that are strong in the business field whereas the other majors at SCAD are quite lacking that way. Also, the art history requirements as well as the general education requirements aren't very strong which has turned out artists who know nothing of history or other things they should like some other art schools.

My roommate says Virginia Commonwealth has a great art program, and I would say a lot of state schools in the Northeast/Mideastern have good programs.

Lastly, I would just honestly search for scholarships and bookmark them, and try for as many as you can.


Really, feel free to talk to me about this. I worked my way into art school after changing majors, so it's all pretty fresh to me.

Moderator Chrispy Says:

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Creepy Stalker 2 years ago on 04/17/12
Equipped: N00dz of akanepanda
You're creeping me out, here.
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aUdioquark 2 years ago on 04/17/12
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RIT up in upstate NY has a really stellar photo progam that's often overlooked.
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NekoStar 2 years ago on 04/17/12
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I went to Temple University in Philly for Film and Media, and took a lot of photo classes on the side. My last year they opened a huge new art building with the most amazing darkroom. I really loved it there! Its a great school, and nice choice if your boy is looking to live in a big city environment.
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LeeChan 2 years ago on 04/17/12
Equipped: Keys to the Pussy Wagon named "My name is Buck, and I came to cook duck."
I have a number of friends who go to CCAD (Columbus College of Art and Design) which is a really great art school in the region. It's hard and expensive, but they give out scholarship packages pretty liberally. The kids I know who go there really don't have time to hold down a job at the same time, that's how rigorous their classes are.

Of course, there is always OSU. I considered their photography program briefly when I joined the school of art. It's a different structure than CCAD, which focuses more on theory and less on things like - emotion. Plus at OSU you can learn under Tony Mendoza, who is like, I dunno. Famous and hilarious.

http://art.osu.edu/

http://www.ccad.edu

Clearly I am biased because I want a Jackson closer to my home!
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Boudicca 2 years ago on 04/18/12
Equipped: Lightsaber named "I AM the Dark Side, Motherfuckers!!"
Thanks! Tess, your info is really helpful!! We also saw last night that they have summer programs for high school students so we're looking into that too.

We have seen and heard that lots of smaller schools and state schools have good design programs that could lead us to better chances for scholarships and admission at more prestigious colleges later on.
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Killian 2 years ago on 04/18/12
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It all depends on WHAT kind of photography he wants to do. Fine Art, Photojournalism, Comercial, or Fashion? Each school is better at one of those.

Also, if a photo school does NOT want to see a portfolio then DO NOT GO THERE!
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Boudicca 2 years ago on 04/18/12
Equipped: Lightsaber named "I AM the Dark Side, Motherfuckers!!"
He's been going between photojournalism and fashion.

I was wondering about that very thing, Sam! The application for the SCAD summer program asks for high school transcript and a recommendation from an art teacher but no mention of portfolio or samples of work. I'd think that would be important!
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Killian 2 years ago on 04/18/12
Equipped: Spike Spiegel's Gun (Jericho 94) named "Big Bang"
For photojournalism I would recommend Missouri and Ohio. They are both the top PJ colleges and consistently put out stellar photographers. Not only are they the top PJ schools but he would get a better and more well rounded education and more credits would transfer in if he went to a community college first and then transfered in.

SCAD is a little different because it is such a well established art school but most other places that do not require a portfolio tend to be for-profit schools. Requiring a folio also raises the ability level that other students around him will have when therefore exposes him to better and more advanced work which will help to push his own work.

The best benefit of going to a college for photography and photojournalism is that you are surrounding yourself with other dedicated students and you are constantly bouncing ideas off each other and getting inspirations.

Fashion is tough for colleges because a lot of good fashion work heavily relies on the skills of the stylists and designers. If his goal was fashion photography then a school with a strong fashion program is key.
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Autumnflame 2 years ago on 04/18/12
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Unfortunately, I'm no good for recommendations for photography colleges, but I do want to note that one of the nice things about most arts (I'm assuming that carries through for photography, too - please correct me if I'm wrong) is that the degree itself is pretty meaningless compared to the portfolio and who you know, when it comes to finding work. A lot of what you end up paying for in college are contacts and an environment conducive to learning - having that give-and-take creativity with your professors and peers, making links with people who have other links in the field and may be able to help you now or in the future, large-scale facilities that it would be impractical to have on an individual student, a guided path if you're unsure of how to start. It won't give you the discipline to work and improve if you don't have it or find it on your own, and from what I've seen the people who do best in college and afterward are the people who would have done well regardless, because they spent craploads of time pursuing their discipline on their own time and, of course, networking.

Just something to keep in mind when looking at art colleges in general. I've known too many people who went to art colleges that didn't, in the end, justify the debts they were saddled with - even putting aside the Art Institute and other "colleges" of that ilk. I feel like there are a lot of good public institutes (or even unaccredited ateliers/apprenticeships - is that a thing in photography like it is in 2D?), and that the difference in cost between a high-end private school and a strong state school (or otherwise) does not necessarily reflect the difference in resources and what you'd get out of it.

Basically tl;dr research the crap out of schools, including students, alumni, and professors - which I'm sure you're going to do anyway! - and don't fret about going with a smaller/less prestigious school if that ends up the more practical choice.
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Boudicca 2 years ago on 04/18/12
Equipped: Lightsaber named "I AM the Dark Side, Motherfuckers!!"
Thanks, Priscilla! I actually heard that same thing from Shannon on FB as she went to a state school for photography and her experience was that people who went to big art schools often ended up in mountains of debt with less to show for it than those who went to smaller/state schools and entered in shows and networked hard on their own. It seems like it's all about taking advantage of the resources at your disposal.

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