"The darkroom is just the means to an end," photographer Kim Weston once said. Oregon College of Art and Craft students who work in the new state-of-the-art Photography facility will have, of course, the very best darkrooms, but also all the latest top-notch equipment they need to create their desired end-products--photographs that capture unique moments of time and space and evoke thought, emotion or just gasps of pleasure. 

Designed to maximize workflow and creativity, the spacious building will give students the ability to produce everything from a crisp traditional portrait to an abstract work using cutting-edge special effects. Whether a student wants to print mural-size photographs, take pictures with natural light or strobe light, experiment with 19th Century printing processes, work with digital images, create large silver gelatin prints, matt and frame photos, or print from glass-plate negatives, the Photography facility has the tools for these jobs--and many more. 

Multiple enlargers, development sinks, film-drying cabinets, drawing tables, computers, scanners and printers allow students to complete projects quickly and with ease, while an advanced ventilation system ensures that photographers work and breathe in a safe and healthy environment.

Craft is Evolution.
Evolution embraces change, allowing artists to learn as much or more from mistakes as from success. The photography curriculum couples traditional camera and darkroom techniques with modern digital image making. Instruction includes small, medium, and large format cameras, traditional and alternative photographic processes, digital imaging and mixed media techniques, as well as photographic history and contemporary theory.

Beginning students learn the fundamentals of black and white photography through lectures, demonstrations, long-term projects, and group critiques that encourage each student to discover their own creative voice within a challenging and supportive community atmosphere. Technical instruction balances creative exploration as students learn about compositional design, camera controls, metering an exposure, black and white film development and printing controls, along with archival processing and presentation methods.

Intermediate and advanced students improve their technical skills through the use of medium and large format cameras, advanced exposure and processing controls, and artificial lighting techniques. Students are also challenged to expand their personal creative practice as they learn alternative photographic processes, digital imaging, and multi media techniques.

The digital photography lab enables students to perform high quality scans, create wide format inkjet prints on a variety of materials for mixed media work as well as large digital negatives for printing with traditional silver materials or alternative photographic processes.

Photography graduates leave OCAC with strong technical, visual, and verbal skills and the confidence necessary to sustain their personal creative practice as they pursue a photography career or graduate school path.

Photography Studio Space
The new 8000 square foot Photography facility combines innovative floor plan designed by the photography department head to maximize workflow and creativity, specialized moderrn equipment that is of the highest quality available, and an advanced ventilation system that provides a safe and healthy working environment.

The Film Development Area includes three individual film-loading rooms that double as large format film development darkrooms, an eight-station film development sink, and two heated film-drying cabinets.

The Gang Printing Darkroom has 12 Omega 4550 enlargers capable of handling 35mm, 2-1/4, and 4x5 negatives, two drop-bed enlarger stations, archival washers, and an RC print drier. The custom stainless steel lip vented 5' x 11' allows for an enormous amount of print processing space while providing a safer darkroom environment by removing chemical vapors at sink level, rather than drawing fumes upward past the face to a traditional ceiling vent.

The Alternative Processes Darkroom is a truly innovative multi-use space.The mural printing area allows users to project images onto wall-mounted photographic enlarging paper which is then transferred to a custom stainless steel lip-vented sink measuring 4' x 12' for processing.

Two 8" x 10" Devere enlargers allow users to make high quality enlargements from 8"x10" and 5" x 7" film, but also provides options for experimentation with printing from multiple silver gelatin negatives, collodion glass-plate negatives, or other alternative processes.

Two large format drop-bed enlarger stations allow advanced students to create large silver gelatin prints, experiment with large ortho film transparencies, and even print large images using wet-plate collodion or liquid photographic emulsion.

The 30" x 40" Stousser Metal Halide exposure unit with vacuum table allows users to experiment with a variety of 19th century contact printing processes that utilize ultra violet light using traditional film negatives or enlarged digital negatives generated in our new Digital Imaging Lab.

The Alternative Processes Coating Room provides a light tight, well-ventilated space with two wall vented sinks for mixing chemistry and coating substrates for printing with 19th century process. This room also houses light tight, vented drying racks for alternative process practitioners.

The Photographic Lighting Studio allows users to work with diffuse natural light from a pair of large patio doors with matching side windows that also provide convenient access for loading equipment and props in and out of the studio.

Studio lighting users can black out the doors and windows to provide complete darkness and absolute control over strobe lighting or 'hot lights' in either of the shooting bays that include wall-mounted seamless backdrops, multiple power sources, and a variety of light modifiers.

The Digital Imaging Lab provides 18 Power Mac towers with Eizo monitors. We have a variety of film and flatbed scanners, including, 2 Epson V700 scanners, a Nikon 4000 film scanner, a Microtech 1800F scanner, & an Imacon/Hasselblad 4x5 Film scanner.

Print output is completed via two 17" Epson 4800 printers, a 44" wide format Epson 9600 printer for printing on non-standard materials, and a brand new 63" Epson !!880. The lab stocks a wide variety of transparency and print output materials, as well as a growing sample collection of papers, transparencies, and non-standard print materials.

In addition, the new lab utilizes custom monitor, printer, and scanner profile generating systems to maintain accurate workflow, a print color matching light system for judging print color accuracy, and a number of Wacom drawing tablets that are available for student use.

The Print Finishing Room provides a clean space for matting, framing, and viewing prints. Equipment includes a wall-mounted glass and matt board cutter, dry mount presses, and individual flat files for matt board storage.

Thesis Studio and Darkroom Space provides three shared studio spaces and a shared darkroom that includes 4 enlarger stations (one with a drop bed for making larger prints) and a custom stainless steel lip vented 4' x 10' sink.

By and large, the new facility addresses all of the existing safety and functionality problems in the current photography department, while offering a wide array of additional equipment and work spaces for students and staff to utilize in their respective creative practices.

Course Descriptions
PH109  Photography I
| 3 semester credits
Beginning with the early history of photography, compositional design strategies, camera controls, metering, and exposure, students will receive guidance on how to see and capture meaningful images with the camera.  Continuing with archival black and white film processing and printing procedures, and ending with finishing and presentation techniques, students are encouraged to develop their individual creative voice as they create a well printed, strongly presented group of images. Offered fall semester. No prerequisite.

PH110  Photography II | 3 semester credits
The black and white, intermediate level introduction to medium and large format cameras emphasizes the continued refinement of negative quality through applied Zone System techniques. Considerable attention is paid to technical detail and craft regarding photographic manipulations and processes, the behavior and control of both natural and artificial light, and the use of photography as a language for personal expression. Students are introduced to a variety of photographic genres through lectures, readings, and discussions about the history and contemporary practice of photography that are directly tied to four visual problems: landscape, portraiture, still life and the figure. Offered spring semester. Prerequisite: PH109 or consent of instructor

PH201/301  Alternative Photo Processes I | 3 semester credits
The Alternative Processes classes encourage students to explore methods and possibilities for combining photographic imagery with a variety of unconventional materials such as fine art papers, textiles, wood, clay, metal, glass, plastic and stone, among others. This course serves as an introduction to 19th century photographic processes through cyanotype and van dyke brown prints, orthochromatic film use, camera and film manipulations, image transfer techniques, and the use of liquid photographic emulsions. Students are also introduced to the use of digital technology for creating enlarged photographic negatives for contact printing. The technical focus of this course is balanced by midterm and final projects that encourage students to push the limits of concepts, materials, and techniques.  Offered fall semester alternate years. Prerequisite: PH109 or consent of instructor.

PH202/302  Alternative Photo Processes II | 3 semester credits
Picking up where PH201/301 leaves off, students have the opportunity to investigate the peculiarities and expressive possibilities of salt printing, albumen printing, handmade silver gelatin emulsions, the platinum/palladium process, and the use of digital technology to create enlarged photographic negatives for contact printing. The technical focus is balanced by midterm and final projects that encourage students to marry techniques with concepts. Offered spring semester alternate years. Prerequisite: PH201/301 or consent of instructor.

PH203/303  Digital Imaging I | 3 semester credits
Beginning with an introduction to Photoshop and moving through the use of cameras, scanners, and printers, students will break into exploring the ethical, philosophical, and technical considerations involved in contemporary digital imaging.  Working with scans from traditional photographic materials and found objects, prior to moving forward to digital camera use, students have the opportunity to learn how to input, manipulate, and print their own digital images. Technical exercises, creative projects, lectures, and class discussions are intended to encourage the development of streamlined workflow strategies, color management techniques, and fine printing methods as students work to produce a final portfolio of color images. Offered fall semester, alternate years. Prerequisites: PH110, FDR102, and DR104 or consent of instructor.

PH204/304  Digital Imaging II | 3 semester credits
A platform for combining contemporary digital imaging techniques with traditional (and not so traditional) photographic practice using a blend of technical, philosophical, and playful approaches to image making, students have the opportunity to explore various forms of unconventional camera vision with pinhole, toy, and vintage cameras, while honing their Photoshop skills to create meaningful and evocative new work. Students also have the opportunity to explore mixed media strategies and techniques for making digital negatives for both silver gelatin and other printing methods.  The technical focus on scanning, manipulation, and output is balanced by creative exercises, long-term projects, lectures, and class discussions that encourage experimentation with new tools and techniques for integrating digital technology with a variety of traditional studio practices. Offered spring semester, alternate years.  Prerequisite: PH203/303 or consent of instructor.

PH490/491  Photography Tutorial | 3 semester credits
Designed primarily for post-baccalaureate students, the Photography Tutorial provides an opportunity for the student to work closely with a faculty mentor to gain knowledge and insight not available in regularly scheduled classes. The instructor and student design an individualized course of study based on the student’s current needs and long-term goals. The typical Photography Tutorial utilizes a series of technical assignments designed to improve the student’s understanding of the tools, techniques, and materials relevant to contemporary photographic practice. The Tutorial includes independent research and critical writing assignments and/or a research paper designed to improve the student’s understanding of the history, theory, and critical discourse. The tutorial focuses on a long-term project designed to test the student’s ability to apply new skills while strengthening their personal creative practice.  As individual problems arise, the student develops solutions in conjunction with the mentor, providing an intense learning situation for the student.

Learn more about the College's programs of study:

Undergraduate programs

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft

The Certificate in Craft

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Craft (requires a bachelor's degree)

Graduate programs

Master of Fine Arts in Craft

Collaborative Masters of Fine Arts in Applied Craft + Design





Calendar Events

April 4, 2014 to April 27, 2014
New Space Center for Photography | 1632 SE 10th Avenue
Opening Reception | Friday, April 4 | 6-9pm

April 16, 2014 to April 20, 2014
Opening Reception April 16th | 4-6pm

April 23, 2014 to April 27, 2014
Opening Reception April 23rd | 4-6pm


MFA Chair Karl Burkheimer interviews Alumni Josh Smith in Drain Magazine

OCAC Students Selected as Finalists for 2014 NICHE Awards

OCAC Alumna Hilary Pfeifer Featured in American Craft Magazine

Noted contemporary artists Dana Schutz & Ryan Johnson Visit OCAC

Michael Lammers Joins Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, Oregon as Chief Financial Officer