Fall 2021

Photography and Arts Leadership in the Global City

Director:  Robert Knight, Associate Professor of Art
Phone:  315-859-4266
Email:  rbknight@hamilton.edu

New York City has long been at the epicenter in the development of photography as a fine art. The first galleries devoted to the medium were founded there in the late 1890s by the legendary modernist photographer Alfred Stieglitz. In the 1940s, The Museum of Modern Art launched the first photography department at a prominent museum, with New York-based photographer Edward Steichen as its founding curator. Alongside such institutional support, New York nurtured a burgeoning art scene with photographers’ studios and darkrooms occupying former industrial and warehouse spaces across the city. This program will focus on the intersection of those two histories, focusing specifically on the development of “street” photography as a genre and the institutions that helped catapult photography onto the center of the art world stage.

Concentration credit will be accepted for Studio Art (College 395 and 398); Art History (College 395 and 398); Cinema and Media Studies (College 395) and Digital Arts minor (College 395).

College 395 Documentary photography in the digital age

This is a photography production course in which we will use smartphone and DSLR cameras to explore the fabric of the city as a site for photographic investigation, closely examining its rich cultural, racial and socioeconomic diversity. Each week we will use the history of New York-based “street” photography as a road map for site specific photographic field trips. Since the early 1900s, the streets of New York have served as inspiration to generations of photographers such as Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Walker Evans, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Roy DeCarava, Margaret Bourke-White, and Helen Levitt, among many others. Class will be a combination of classroom-based technical training, critique, and in situ production. Potential photographic sites include Times Square, Central Park Zoo, Chinatown, South Street Seaport, Washington Square Park, Prospect Park, Coney Island and Governor’s Island. No prerequisite, but preference given for students who have taken a Studio Art or Art History course.

College 396 Independent Study

Supervised tutorial resulting in a substantial photographic project and/or written paper that integrates experience and learning from the internship with an academic perspective and knowledge gained in the seminars or other tutorial readings.

College 397 Internship

Work experience with an artist, organization, agency or advocacy group appropriate to the theme of the course during four days a week.  Weekly electronic journal entries chronicling and reflecting upon the experience required.

College 398 Seminar: fine art photography and arts leadership in nyc

This seminar will provide students with a global perspective on the history of photography as a fine art form through the lens of New York’s art institutions. New York has long-served as the institutional capital of the art world and this seminar will take advantage of New York’s status through visits and meetings with photography curators and arts leaders at various NYC-based institutions, including: The Museum of Modern Art, International Center for Photography, The Studio Museum Harlem, The Whitney Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, Christie’s, Pace/MacGill Gallery, Edwyn Houk Gallery, Yossi Milo Gallery, and Yancey Richardson Gallery, among others. Field trips will be supplemented with classroom lectures, readings and discussions.

Students participated in internships at the following companies this semester:

Morgan Stanley-Millman Group, James Cohan Gallery, ICNCLST, Ice Cream for Dinner, New York Bay Capital, Manhattan Theatre Club, Brain Luxury, Inc., Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group, Swann Auction Galleries, Van der Plas Gallery, Richard Bernstein Advisors, Center Pixel, Epicenter-NYC,  Dora Maar, Penumbra Foundation, and Bolt Financial Inc.


Contact Name

Maddie Carrera

Director of Experiential Learning

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