The Dean’s Gallery, located outside of the College of Arts and Humanities office in the west wing of the Music Building, features photographs from the spring final project portfolios of Art and Design students.

The images were chosen from students of the courses Art 130 Intermediate Black and White Photography and Art 182 Large Format Photography. Under the guidance of Neil Chowdhury, assistant professor of photography, the students were given the freedom to capture these inspired images as part of their final project portfolios.

The focus of the courses is on learning analog (film) photography and traditional gelatin-silver darkroom printing techniques. Students in these courses learn how to work with specific types of cameras, how to develop film, as well as learning the skills to create darkroom prints.

“We spend a lot of time in class discussing ideation and concept development, working through and narrowing down project ideas to hone them into specific projects that really express the students’ goals, intentions and creative styles,” said Chowdhury. “This skill is key to continuing as an artist after school is over since professional artists are expected to express their own thoughts and will not always have a teacher to guide them.”

The driving force behind the assignment, contributing to the overall goal of the course, is for students to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for traditional methods of photography in a time when thoughtless digital capturing has become the standard.

As the sign (pictured above) posted in the gallery alongside the photographs states: “Returning to the roots of the medium gives students a chance to slow down, think about the meaning of their work and create beautiful, rich black and white renditions of their photographs using traditional black and white films and papers.”

The skills acquired in the courses provide students the opportunity to form meaningful connections with photography in ways that can influence their creative capacities:

“I intend my classes as an initiation into the real world of professional art-making, preparing students for independent careers in the arts where they can operate with confidence in their ability to generate worthwhile and thought-provoking work that expresses their individual creativity,” Chowdhury said.

The images feature a wide variety of subjects and are available for viewing by the public.

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