At Pitzer College, “analog” processes and materials are the keystone of the photographic curriculum: film and silver instead of pixels; the darkroom instead of Photoshop; wet chemicals instead of ink cartridges. These analog processes introduce students to the history of the medium hands-on, connecting familiar digital technologies to a much larger critical and theoretical dialogue, one that includes post-modern critiques of representation, discussion of the use of the photograph as document and evidence, and the problem of photographic “truth”. Theory and practice are balanced throughout the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels so students are not only learning craft and technique, but thinking critically about the images they make and distribute, and becoming more socially responsible, engaged and skillful image makers.


    Our comprehensive program engages students in the practice of photography with an emphasis on image production. Students are introduced to a broad range of historical and contemporary photographers and consider how their own work might fit into this trajectory. Throughout their involvement in the program, students engage in self-directed research based projects that allow them to explore their own interests while developing a professional photographic portfolio.

    Students interested in pursuing photography at Pitzer are encouraged to take the following track:

    ART 120 PZ – Intro to Black & White Photography

    This is a comprehensive introduction to the practice of analog black and white photography with an emphasis on image production using a 35mm camera, B&W film, and wet darkroom processes. Students will be introduced to a broad range of historical and contemporary art photographers and consider how their own work might fit into this trajectory.

    ART 125 PZ – Intermediate/Advanced B&W Photography: “Mixed Level Darkroom”

    This is an intensive intermediate/advanced level studio-based course that will continue to build an analog darkroom skills while introducing variety of new printing processes, techniques, and equipment which may include: large and medium format cameras, studio lighting, alternative processes, and hybrid analog/digital methods of large format printing. The course will also include readings, a final self-directed project, and group critiques. Although the acquisition of technical skills is essential to this course- projects will be idea-driven and content will be emphasized throughout the course.

    ART 126 PZ – Special Topics: Photography

    Once students have taken introduction, intermediate, and advanced levels of photography, they have the opportunity to take part in a number of thoughtful and challenging elective courses which change from year to year. Some recent examples of past special topics courses are:

    Poetics of Landscape: Large Format Photography – Students explored the photographic representation of the land as landscape within the framework of contemporary art photography. Working exclusively with large format photography, students surveyed a broad range of landscape photographers and considered the ways in which these images are situated within a complex relationship the real, the imaginary, the symbolic, memory, experience, and identity.

    Ecopoetics & Photography – This course was taught collaboratively with the English department, encouraging students to combine artistic practice with creative writing.  The interdisciplinary workshop was focused on creating works of poetry, photography, and performance that engage issues of sustainability. They explored texts and artworks from indigenous, feminist, queer, and intercultural perspectives, in order to expand notions of what “nature” means and how we interact with it. Students created individual works and collaborations, improving their skills in working in and across different media

    Unsettled Landscapes – This was an upper level seminar course in conjunction with the Mellon Art + Environment Grant. It examined the cultural, political conditions, and historical narratives that inform the work of several contemporary artists, poets, filmmakers, and writers whose work engages with the landscape as both a human and natural phenomenon. This course sought to emphasize the work of underrepresented artists, indigenous voices, and/or feminist perspectives on “landscape”. A series of visiting guests will lead workshops and/or conduct discussions and lectures with students on a variety of topics including: Navajo Futurism, poetry as activism and language preservation in the American West, Performance Art & Shamanism in Ecuador etc.