Through a different lens: New photo class offered

This spring quarter, a different kind of photography class will be offered. ART 297 will be covering landscape photography. Taught by Chad White, the class will examine what landscape photography is, the history behind landscape photography, and the broader implications of what landscape means.

“I often talk about landscape in my work without actually using that typical landscape design,” said White. “Some of my newer research work involves using objects and materials that actually pull from landscapes so I’m actually able to talk about landscape without actually showing a landscape.”

The class will deconstruct the fundamentals of landscape photography, and explore what it means. “The class is going to dissolve that typical connotation that comes with ideas of landscape or the term landscape,” said White.

While the class will touch on historical aspects of landscape and traditional landscape photography, the main emphasis will be on pushing the boundaries of what landscapes are and how to portray them. White gave some examples of alternative ways to consider landscape:

“I would be more than happy to get students involved in science disciplines who could use some sort of data visualization or using more scientific methods of research and then using that information to then describe a landscape, so could you use sound possibly, could you use data recordings, weather temps, rain patterns, things like that. All those things describe landscape in one way or another.”

The class is meant more for intermediate and advanced students, it is open to all, regardless of experience or equipment owned. “Everyone is welcome,” said White. “I’m even interested in having photographers join the class who are mostly using cellphones like iPhone photography or good Android photography or something like that.” Camera rentals are offered and students will be able to use tools in lab time.

The class will cover traditional methods of landscape photography, including 4×5 large format photography. “We’re going to be talking about photography and landscape and how it’s evolved over the years and the particular types of cameras and materials used in landscape,” said White

Class is held three days a week. Out of the three, one is spent in class for critique, the other two are spent in the field or in the photo lab. White plans to visit locations around the area to get pictures as well as visiting museums. “We will probably be making field trips also to some of the larger museums, so like the Henry Art Museum is a good one we’ll be traveling to, we’ll also be meeting at PCNW, Photo Center Northwest which is a great institution for photography,” said White.

Students are encouraged but not required to go out and do photography on their own. By the end of the quarter, it is White’s goal to have completed projects, works that students have spent time perfecting, experimenting with different materials or ways of presenting the landscape.

White spoke on the main purpose of the class:

“We all mostly have a preconceived notion of what landscape means, so I think when we attempt to photograph a landscape, we use those preconceived notions and in that process it’s hard for us to create something that’s new and that is infused with personal opinion from the maker themselves and so we want to try to break that convention.”