Person facing wall covered in colorful wallpaper.
We ground students in creative, conceptual and technological skills as well as in the job opportunities available in the field.
Joseph Maida

In this program, students learn how to process and print both black-and-white and color material, how to light a studio, how to use medium- and large-format cameras, how to work with digital materials and how to shoot and edit video. They also have the opportunity to pursue all genres and aspects of the mediums including art, fashion, portraiture, photojournalism, landscape, still-life, experimental and narrative.

Equally, they gain the skills to think and speak about photographic media and the moving image, while forming strong connections to the professional world. Their education provides both the practical and strategic knowledge to land a position where they can put their valuable skills to work.

Student Work
A Day at SVA

More About the Department

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 Photo Editing and Curating, Photography Business and Practice, Self-Portrait, Writing About Photography, Fashion: Concept and Narrative, Still Life: Objects of Desire and Disgust and Photography and Cinema.

The department’s technical facilities have recently been completely renovated, and all of our cutting-edge facilities, whether darkroom or digital, are open until 4 am. Medium- and large-format cameras, as well as digital backs for both, are available for student use and we offer 60 digital work stations (and, for fourth-year students, a digital lab).

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.