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Photography Major – Department of design


About Photography Major

Photography in terms of ‘research’ rather than self-expression

The meaning of the word ‘photography’ and its framework is rapidly eroding. In this confusing situation, it is easy to lose sight of oneself, when attempting to express one thing or another. By reframing self-expression from the perspective of ‘research’, we can hope to become more objective and socially aware.

Research themes are diverse and free

The main areas where photography is currently used range across a variety of fields, including artwork, design advertising, academic materials and self-promotion. It is not uncommon for these seemingly disparate worlds to be linked, beyond the realm of photography. What is important is not the output itself, but how each individual delves into his or her own interests and explores how photography functions within these.

Photography’s major area of interest; a ‘photographic laboratory’.

The above-mentioned “photographic studies” are studied practically, not in the form of classroom lectures, but through photography and artwork production. Think deeply, experience deeply. This is the distinctive feature of this major field of study. Faculty members, including specialists in photochemistry and active photographers, who develop their own theories around photography in their respective fields of expertise, support students in their research.

<Four-year study flow>

First year: Checking the basic concepts of photography

Basic concepts include both technique and expression. Technically, students learn the basics of film-based photography (using film and photographic paper) and digital photography. On the other hand, on the expressive side, students learn the linguistic qualities of photography through the act of ‘reading’ the finished photograph, rather than simply creating a work of art. This is a key concept in the study of photography.

Second year: Two specialised courses, ‘Expressive Studies’ and ‘Area Studies’, begin, connecting the understanding of photography with the act of expression.

More specialised courses begin. In ‘Area Studies’, we expect students to understand the connection between themselves and the local area through research into the current situation and the origins of the area, as well as to develop an awareness of social collaboration. In doing so, the objective nature of photography should help students to show their own interests to the outside world, and learning how to interact with such photographs also forms one of the aims of this class. Meanwhile, in the ‘Expression Studies’ module, students organise an exhibition on campus and consider expression from the perspective of ‘research’.

Third year: ‘Theoretical research’ is added to the classes, and students move on to smarter expressive practice based on theoretical underpinnings

In the third year, students discover the characteristics of photography and come up with theories while considering how to use them in their work. In one way, it is a class that philosophises on photography.
In autumn of the third year, a large-scale external exhibition is held within the framework of ‘Expressive Studies’. In this exhibition, students also present the results of their regional and theoretical studies.

Fourth year: A year of redirecting the findings of prior research into visual expression.

In preparation for the final exam, the graduation exhibition, students spend a year compiling the insights and experience gained from their research to date into visual expression. What is special about the photography major is that it is easy to get confused about the output methodology, as the expression tends towards various fields, e.g. art, design and academia. However, this makes it possible for students to acquire the comprehensive ability to look at society as a whole as they move towards graduation.

Class: Graduation research
While discussing the issues with their supervisors, students bring together their understanding of the problems they faced into a graduation research project as the culmination of their four years of study. Students elect to present the results either as a graduate exhibition or a research paper, according to their preference. The important point is how to link concepts and visual commendations.

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