graduate programs concentrating on alt. processes

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by matthew001, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    I'm looking into graduate programs in the united states so I can work on alternative processes. Does anyone know who/where I should look?
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I got an MFA from the folks at this tiny school many years ago. It looks like they are still advertising B&W lab and alt process lab. http://art.osu.edu/photography
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Very few programs offer it explicitly. There are schools where you can practice them if you want, but if you go in saying that you want to do alt process as your primary focus you've probably put the kiss of death on your application without a mindblowing portfolio AND artist statement. Look into RISD, SAIC, University of Delaware, MassArt in Boston, maybe UNM or Arizona (although I think UNM is a touchy department to belong to because it's somewhat polarized politically - that may have changed in the last few years since I was considering grad schools), and SCAD in Savannah (double-check that they are fully accredited before you apply - I also remember some issue with that when I was looking). I'm sure others will chime in with additional options - you may well be better off going to some smaller schools that don't have the major reputations, and might be more flexible with supporting what YOU want to do.

    That said, do YOU know what you want to do with this degree? Are you looking to get the MFA to teach, or are you treating the program as a highly focused two year artist residency program? Or do you have other expectations of it? You need to have a very clear set of goals for it and understand what you will and won't get out of it or you'll not get what you wanted, have a wretched experience, and feel like you wasted two years of your life (and probably very well actually will have). Career prospects for MFAs who are not already working artists are about on par with someone with a B.A. in English - the English Lit major can ask you if you'd like fries with that in grammatically perfect English, and the MFA can paint you a lovely painting of those fries.
     
  4. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    I'm hoping to find professors who support my erge to learn about all photographic processes. As of right now I cannot say what my intentions are for the future. I want to be a photographer. Teaching may be an option later in my life.

    Also,
    I'm not really sure what it means when you say working artist?
    Showing/selling or just producing? I'm still an undergrad so my exposure to the photo-world is limited to local exhibits and what I learn from my professors. I do plan to travel in the future (summer). I have one year remaining as an undergrad -- what is suggested to prepare me as a working artist?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2012
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    A working artist: someone who earns enough money from selling their art to support themselves primarily on their artistic endeavors. There are of course varying degrees of "support oneself"- to one person, that may mean making enough money to keep themselves in canned tuna fish, saltines and a rented room in someone's basement. To another, it may mean home and car ownership and an annual vacation overseas. I'd define it as from somewhere a bit north of the poverty line on up to Damien Hirst.

    I think the time to be learning about alternative processes is NOW while you're still an undergrad. If you don't have that where you are, I'd suggest taking some seminars and workshops after you graduate while you spend some time developing the ideas you've formed as an undergrad. Then when you have a coherent idea you want to refine, go to an MFA program. That's what an MFA is for - giving you an intense period to explore, focus and refine an idea or method or technique. Bear in mind the pace of an MFA program - it is non-stop work, work, work. Much more intense than your BFA. Alt-processes are somewhere between slow and glacial- you might be able to execute a thesis in them, but you won't have time to do your daily work in them (let alone budget), where you might well be expected to have 20 finished images (finished in the sense of containing a defensible concept, not necessarily finished in terms of presentation) every week.
     
  6. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Look up Christopher James at the Art Institute of Boston. He's currently a professor and director of the MFA group and deals heavily in alt processes.
     
  7. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    I have his book: The book of Alternative Photographic Processes
    I will look into AI of boston. Thanks!
     
  8. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    If you like a technical approach, then look at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology). It will give you a great technical foundation. There is also Visual Studies Workshop and Maine Media Workshops which have not been mentioned.
     
  9. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    At the most recent PHSNE Photographica show and sale I helped my friend price 8 to 10 brass lenses for the table. Many of the people who looked and some who bought were students at AIB (Art Institute of Boston). They do indeed have a strong program in alt. processes. Luckily, my friend has a soft spot for students. His prices were, shall we say, flexible when he found out that the buyer was s student. I feel very good that we may have advanced the cause of "retrograde progress", at least in Boston.
     
  10. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Yes, Christopher James is the man. He has just started an MFA program in alternative processes. He is a wonderful instructer. I know a good number of his students and if you have an interest in alt processes, you would do well to be associated with this fine group of artists.
     
  11. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    Yes. I am anxious to begin my journey of alt. processes. I'm in the process of building my own 4x5 pinhole so I can start learning the kallitype and vandyke processes. I also plan on teaching myself gum process. I will deffinately be looking into AIB
     
  12. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I am a BFA student at Alfred University in Western NY, and we have a very ,very good Alternative Process setup here. We do everything from Pt/Pd, Cyanotype, Van Dyke, Gum Bichromate, Liquid Light, Citrus Transfers, the whole gamut, as long as you're willing to learn it. My teacher is Brian Arnold, who specializes in Pt/Pd and Gum Bichromate, as well as traditional B/W printing. You should send him an email at arnold@alfred.edu

    PS: Alfred U is an extraordinarily highly regarded art school if you aren't familiar with it, we have the best ceramics and glass programs on the east coast, if not in the entire country, and a kickass grad program. That said people always look at me funny when I say I go to Alfred and then reveal to them that I am strictly a photographer...
     
  13. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    Chris,

    Thanks for the information. I'm aware of Alfred as I looked into it initially for ceramics. I did not know that Alfred had an Alternative Process setup. I will contact your professor. Thank you very much.

    --Matthew
     
  14. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    Chris,

    I just checked out the Alfred website -- they do not offer a photography grad program.

    --Matthew
     
  15. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    They may disguise it under the EIA banner (Electronic Integrated Arts). It would still be worth sending Brian an email, he's a fantastic professor, and he'll be able to tell you if an alternative process based MFA would be possible. Alfred is known for its ability to warp a curriculum to suit a student's needs, so don't throw in the towel just yet. I know we've had photographers as grad students in the past...
     
  16. matthew001

    matthew001 Member

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    Thanks. I sent your professor an email.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Contact Mark Osterman at George Eastman House. He will have some information on this and is quite willing to help those interested in this sort of thing.

    PE
     
  18. zumbido

    zumbido Member

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    On a more generic note, I say good for you and your passion and do it now while you can, before you have too many other responsibilities for it to be feasible. I worked on a Computer Science major briefly as an undergrad, because I had always like playing with computers. Hated it. It was the absolute pits, the way things were taught, the way the material was approached, the attitude of the faculty and instructors. So I went back to English. Studied modernist American poetry, theology and cultural geography. Did a thesis on Wallace Stevens and the Sermon on the Mount (as an atheist interested in notions of reality, not as a believer). All the while worked night shift in the University's computer labs overseeing rickety printers, old Power Macs, and Dells running Windows 3.1, and spent time doing pro-bono website work for music and lit-related orgs.

    Leveraged recommendations from my bosses at the night job into a full-time position on the helpline with academic computing services at the same university after I graduated. Did some web work for them but also started getting hands-on experience with more serious programming for back office automation. Ten years later, I'm still programming and have an MS in Software Engineering... and after the kids are old enough to afford me some time, will probably go do a lit or arts PhD.

    That's all a long way of saying, do what you can when you can, seize the opportunities you get and create them when you can, and don't be too worried about anyone who says "you'll end up flipping burgers". That's only true if you don't bother to cultivate a well-rounded base of experience. Or if you're single-minded and want to work as much as possible on your art and not have a day job... but in that case, you probably wouldn't mind, eh? By definition. :wink: