A LEtter from the chair

The MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department at the School of Visual Arts is the place where image-makers initiate investigations into the creative practices of the lens and screen arts. Since 1988, the department has produced remarkable graduates who have flourished as exhibiting artists, journalists, curators, scholars, and teachers. The hub of New York City provides an invaluable network of creative and professional support that students require throughout their matriculation and long after graduation, as they continue to pursue their goals.

This program nurtures interdisciplinary activity, multimedia integration, and provides ever-expanding opportunities for lens-based students; we continually push the boundaries of the techniques, theory, and practice of the developing technologies. Our students are encouraged to rethink their own assumptions and engage an enlightened audience, not only visually, but also contextually. We provide the critical thinking and visual literacy necessary for students to expand their ideas and make notable contributions to culture. The department’s celebrated faculty actively engages students in contemporary and responsible creative initiatives, including experimental, narrative, and documentary video, installation and conceptual art, tableau, and real-world-witness photography.

The camera has always been a multidisciplinary tool that encompasses science, arts, and the humanities. Our students are engaged in the management, creation, and understanding of not just how to produce, but how to interpret the image. They are required to read images through the protocols of different disciplines, as well as create new means to make them. Mastery of the “vision machines” is the stuff of their professional practice. A new artist is an interlocutor who enables others to create and see.

Charles H. Traub
Chair, MFA Photography, Video and Related Media