B.F.A. with an emphasis in Photography

Program Overview

In the photography program, we strive to produce artists who will become innovators. Our students develop their artistic visions from an intensive examination of histories, theories and practices. Students have the opportunity to explore lens-based media in all of its forms, including traditional darkroom processes, digital media, and contemporary visual inquiry. The program encompasses all future trajectories in photography and related practices—electronic media, installation, questions of dissemination and audience, the creation of alternative venues and site-specific installation. Students learn the skills and develop the insight necessary to create work high in technical proficiency and imbued with theoretical understanding. Upon graduation, successful students possess a solid understanding of visual culture and the ability to place their own work within a socio-historical context.


CURRICULUM: Bachelor of Fine Arts WITH AN EMPHASIS IN Photography (B.F.A.)

Basic Studies Requirement — 18 credits 

  • ART 1040 Object Drawing
  • ART 1050 Drawing Studio
  • ART 1070 Form and Surface
  • ART 1080 Form and Space
  • ART 2170 Writing About Art and Design
  • ART 2360 Professional Practice

Art History — 12 credits

Two of the four 2000-level Art History courses (6 hours)

  • ART 2200 Caves to Cathedrals
  • ART 2210 Modern and Postmodern
  • ART 2220 Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
  • ART 2230 Introduction to Asian Art History


Two additional Art History courses at the 3000 or 4000-level, or at the 5000-level with instructor approval.

Photography emphasis requirement—25 credits

  • ART 2160 Black and White Photography I (3 credits) 
  • ART 2490 Digital Photography I (3 credits) 
  • ART 3490 Digital Photography II (3 credits)
  • ART 3010 Topics in Darkroom Photo (3 credits) OR ART 3040 Topics in Digital Photo — repeatable for credit
  • ART 4200 2D Contemporary Practice (3 credits) 
  • ART 4700 Topics in Studio Art (3 credits) – repeatable for credit
  • ART 4830 Senior Project I (fall 3 credits) 
  • ART 4840 Senior Project II (spring 4 credits)

Art studio electives—30 credits

  • Three hours of non-western art history, and all art education credits, may be applied to the elective requirement.


  • Art Major—85 credits
  • General Education—37 credits
  • Total Credit Hours—122 credits

Students should consult the WMU catalog for the photography and intermedia program course descriptions and requirements.

WMU catalog

Visiting Artists 

The mission of Frostic School of Art’s Visiting Artist program is tri-fold: to provide students direct, meaningful contact with working artists, both established and emerging; to elevate the regional, national, and international profile of the Frostic School of Art and Richmond Center for Visual Arts; and to nurture a sense of community among students, faculty and staff within WMU’s College of Fine Arts. Recent visiting artists and scholars that supported the photography/intermedia curriculum include; Dr. Yang Liu, Kika Nikolela, Joseph Shubitowski, Ashley Hunt, Jennifer M. Friess, Christopher Schneberger, Heather F. Wetzel, Emma Powell, Stafford Smith, Lou Kreuger, Hannah Frieser, Steven Benson, Robert Shimmin, John Hitchcock, Joy Christiansen Erb, Arthur Liou, James Nakagawa, and Stephen Crompton, Jack Toolin, Ladislav Hanka, Tobias Walther, Diana Riesco-Lind, Jack Carney, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Ginger Sheridan, Joel Whitaker, Garth Lenz, Wing Young Houie, Gary Ciadella, Christine Carr, Guennadi Maslov, and Shanon Rice.

Guest jurors and distinguished presenters that have supported the photography program have also included Igor Manko, Elena Grom, and Bill McKibben. 

Portfolio review

Applications for admission into the B.F.A. program with an emphasis in photography will be due in the second week of November and March. 




Our darkrooms have dual self-cleaning custom sinks equipped with unique hip-level ventilation to create safe airflow for our students. The space can accommodate small, medium, large, and mural format printing.

  • Saunders LPL 67 enlargers
  • Beseler 4x5 enlargers
  • Omega Super Chromega D Dichro 4x5 enlargers
  • Omega Super Chromega E Dichro 5x7 enlarger
  • Pass through the wall circular print washer 

Film processing room

  • Two film loading rooms
  • Two vertical film dryers
  • Two processing sinks w/vents
  • Archival print washers
  • Separated print drying racks for RC and FB papers 


The mat-cutting area

The mat-cutting area allows students to measure and cut their own large-format archival boards, clean with compressed air, retouch, and professionally prepare artwork for on and off campus exhibitions. Each student also has additional flat-file and cabinetry storage space for her or his own personal equipment and material. This area also has two light tables and a daylight print viewing station. 

Lighting studio

Our photography area lighting studio can be subdivided into three working bays with wireless studio strobe heads and mono-lights.  In addition to a sliding adjustable accordion overhead lighting system, we also deploy more traditional softbox and parabolic reflector-type systems that can be used with or without baffled honeycomb gridspots. The studio is equipped with enough peripheral and grip equipment to successfully outfit each bay for both table top, portraiture, and set work.

  • Wall mounted muslin backdrops in black, white and gray
  • Cyclorama Wall
  • Stand mounted paper roll backdrops in black, white and gray
  • Copy stand for flat artwork up to 18"x24"
  • 48"x48" Infinity table for table top photography

Alternative process facilities

Historic Printing Processes taught include: Cyanotype, Van Dyke, Gum Bichromate, Platinum, Collodion. Students learn various digital negative making processes.

  • 4 16 X 20 UV Light Exposure Units
  • 32 X 40 UV Light Exposure Unit
  • Portable Darkroom, for Wet Plate Collodion Process
  • Emulsion Coating Darkroom 

Photography and Kinetic Imaging Lab

The Intermedia lab is a 20 seat Apple computer lab with 24-inch iMac and 16" Wacom Cinteq displays, which contain the most current versions of the full Adobe suite (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Dreamweaver, etc), Microsoft Office and additional applicable software. Current students have access to Epson flatbed scanners, and a Minolta color laser printer.

Photography/video/sound equipment

Students have checkout access to a wide range of camera equipment, including but not limited to:

  • Nikon D800, D700, D200 digital still cameras
  • Canon EOS 5D digital still camera
  • Nikon D5300, D5200 digital still / video cameras
  • Nikon D40x digital still cameras
  • Mamiya 7II film camera
  • Mamiya RZ 6x7 film camera
  • Sekonic L758 cine and L508 light meters
  • Canon Vixia HD video cameras
  • Panasonic 3 ccd video cameras
  • Canon GL2 video cameras
  • Audio-recording equipment
  • A variety of tripods and monopods
  • 8x10 and 4x5 view cameras
  • Pinhole and Polaroid cameras 
  • Canon 35MM film and various other film cameras

CFA Print Center

The CFA Print Center is a facility using Epson printers for the production of small/medium/large format ink jet printing. Students can conveniently use their ID cards to order prints. For hours and pricing visit the College of Fine Arts Technology website.

College of Fine Arts Technology website

Student Group

The Photography and Intermedia Collective is a nonhierarchical organization that seeks to further the creative development of its members and expose the community to fine art, through exhibitions and events. The organization is involved in two to three exhibitions per semester, which could range from on campus, in the state, or around the country. Often there is a common theme for the exhibit, other times; it is a diverse collection of work showing the member's personal style and artistic direction. The Photography and Intermedia Collective travels to different cities to visit museums, galleries, install shows and make connections with other students and professionals to further our futures and the future of the organization. 

Learn more about the collective


Photography and Intermedia Blog

The Photography and Intermedia blog is a resource for students that enhances the experience in the classroom. Information is frequently posted throughout the school year including; on campus exhibitions and happenings, off campus exhibitions and happenings, contemporary artist features and other information relevant to the students in the Frostic School of Art. This information is placed on the blog in the form of links to artists' websites, art galleries and museums, theorists, art movements and other information such as lab hours and equipment checkout.


Photography and Video Exchange Blog

The goal of the Photography and Video Exchange blog is offer a virtual critique of photography and video from art programs other than their own. The Photography and Video Exchange blog began as a collaboration with the students of Adriane Little and Tom Jones, Associate Professor of photography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Since this initial exchange, several colleges and universities have participated in this exchange.

The schools that are currently participating in this exchange are: Beloit College, Boise State University, Cleveland State University, Florida State University, Marshall University, New Jersey City University, Rollins College, Sheridan / U of Toronto, University of Wisconsin, Madison, University at Buffalo, University of Arizona, University of Denver, West Virginia University, Western Michigan University and Youngstown State University.