Loyola University Chicago

Fine Arts

Department of Fine and Performing Arts

Major in Photography

Photography has played a major role in the production of images in visual culture since its invention in the first half of the Nineteenth century. The Program at Loyola University is focused on photography as an artistic discipline that has developed a rich history over the last century and a half, and which continues to evolve with recent innovations in technology. The curriculum guides students in learning the technical foundations, aesthetic strategies and conceptual approaches, and the cultural / historical perspectives of the medium. Through the program, students build their ability to pursue photography as a means of creative exploration and intellectual investigation.

A total of 42 credit hours are required for the Photography Major. 24 credits are common to all applied majors within the division. These consist of 12 credits in Foundations, 6 credits in Art History and 6 credits in Synthesis. Another 18 credits are applied specifically within Photography. A total of 18 credits hours are required for the Photo minor, which is structured similarly.

The first course in the Photography Major curriculum (FNAR 115: Foundations of Photography) introduces students to the technical skills of manually operating a digital camera and using it to produce photography as art.  Furthermore, students learn how to process their files on the computer, create prints through professional inkjet printers, and critically evaluate the works.  Students who pursue a Major or Minor in Photography then take two intermediate-level courses.  FNAR 219: Photography – Digital Imaging expands on the idea of digital technology in the creation and dissemination of images in contemporary society.  At Loyola University, film-based photography continues to play a key role by exposing students to the historical origin of the medium and a process that offers a different experience as well as possibilities from the digital format.  In FNAR 215: Photography – Film and Darkroom, students work in a traditional darkroom where they gain a solid understanding of black and white photography from film development to printing.  Students ultimately complete their coursework in the Photography Program with two advanced-level courses (FNAR 316: Photography – Advanced Darkroom and FNAR 319: Photography – Lighting Techniques).

The curriculum builds a foundation that enable students to pursue a broad range of career paths. It provides an experience that prepares students to apply to graduate programs and pursue a career in contemporary art as an artist or a curator. It develops techniques for students who are interested the commercial applications of the medium (editorial fashion/architecture/product photography). Finally, as a program that emphasizes the ability to create and analyze images, the curriculum offers skills that are relevant to numerous fields beyond photography that rely on conceptual thinking and communication through visual means (architecture, design, advertising, illustration, photo journalism, media studies, and visual anthropology). More information about Fine Arts careers can be found at this page


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Comprehend, analyze and interpret the visual, functional, psychological, and social elements that constitute a work of art
  • Apply a range of materials, processes and techniques within their chosen concentration as a primary form of artistic expression
  • Engage in self-directed problem solving analysis and critical thinking, and take creative and intellectual risks in the production of original artwork
  •  Comprehend the vocabulary, principles, theories and methodologies particular to their concentration, and interpret and articulate them through their own creative process
  • Employ scholarly and visual research in developing concepts that underlie their artistic intentions, and effectively communicate them orally and in written form
  • Reflect on the creative process in relation to audience, current professional standards, and contemporary developments in art production, theory and criticism, and work independently in the development of cohesive bodies of work for professional exhibition
  • Document artwork and artistic activity, and build portfolios relevant to the communication, dissemination and public display of creative work and artistic ideas
  • Understand the place of art making in human creativity within a global historical context. Differentiate between artistic styles, and the multiplicity of populations and communities from which works of have been made (and are made), and engage in critical discussion with a depth of analysis and appreciation for aesthetic and conceptual diversity
  • Recognize that art has many cultural and social dimensions, and make discerning observations and evaluations about ethical and moral issues in art related to gender, class, race, and religion.

 For information about Photography course requirements, click here