Updates on Reopening SVA
Click below for info on our plans for 2021-2022, including the vaccine requirement for all students, faculty and staff.
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We are part of a vast professional network in the heart of New York City, the epicenter of art, culture, commerce, advertising, fashion, and activism. Our alumni go on to work successfully in all creative fields and tend to hire fellow graduates because of a shared language and track record.
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Joseph Maida

In this program, students learn every aspect of analog and digital photography and video from working experts to prepare them for all opportunities. Over 4 years, students learn how to process and print photographs in analog and digital spaces, how to professionally light a studio for any situation, and how to shoot, edit, and present time-based video. At the start of their education, each student has the opportunity to experiment in all genres and aspects of these media using the best equipment, hardware, and software before choosing a specialization in art, advertising, fashion, portraiture, photojournalism, still-life, landscape, narrative, or a combination of these areas in their second, third, and fourth years.

Our forward-thinking curriculum ensures that our students can decipher how still and moving images have operated for the last two centuries, how they function today, and how they will work in the years to come. That knowledge, paired with rigorous technical training, prepares our students to make original work with meaning and purpose now and in the future. This education empowers our students so they can speak about photographs and moving images with authority and form strong connections in the professional world, where they will ultimately put their valuable skills to work at the job of their choice.

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A Day at SVA

More About the Department

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Joseph Maida



The department’s faculty includes active photographers, video artists, art dealers, critics, publishers and photo editors. The more than 100 courses available to students—which we strive to keep inventive, challenging and current—include How to Make it as a Working Photography, Fashion: Concept and Narrative, Photography Business and Practice, The New Hegemonic: Explorations in Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality, Experimental Documentary Video, Digital Studio: Advanced Lighting Techniques, and Performance, The Body: Photography and Video.

We distinguish ourselves as being one of the most relevant communities to engage with photographic practices today and are proud to provide students with access to industry-standard facilities, equipment, resources that support them in this work. The department's technical facilities include analog darkrooms, digital labs with large-format printers, and a dedicated video editing suite. We also have 9 professional studio spaces and equipment available for student use including analog and digital still cameras, digital video, sound recording equipment, and professional lighting equipment. 

Beyond your technical expertise, we will encourage you to pursue a way of working that embraces the unknown and the as-yet-unseen.

Fourth-year students have the opportunity to be paired with mentors to critique their work. Since we happen to call New York City home, the local talent pool we draw upon is as distinguished as you’d expect. Our mentor program includes renowned artists like Tina Barney, Gregory Crewdson, Glenn Luchford, Platon, Taryn Simon and Lorna Simpson. It also includes powerful industry players: photo editors at Details, Interview, The New York Times, Newsweek and Vanity Fair; creative directors at Fader and W; The New Yorker’s photography critic; the editor-in-chief of Artforum and many more. The internship opportunities available to students are equally impressive. They include Yossi Milo Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, Julie Saul Gallery, Yancey Richardson Gallery, Rolling Stone, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, The New Yorker, David LaChapelle Studio, Annie Leibovitz Studio, Steven Meisel Studio, Art+Commerce, powerHouse Books and Aperture. Some of our graduates are currently represented by Julie Saul, Yossi Milo, Yancey Richardson, Daniel Cooney Fine Art and ClampArt.

Those are the facts. Harder to convey in words is our dedication to your unique photographic sensibility. Our goal is that you will leave SVA with an intellectual curiosity and a playful, creative way of thinking, regardless of what path you choose in this amazing field.