Eastern Mennonite University offers one of the few photography majors at a Christian college. Our program emphasizes proficiency in the digital arena (with an introduction to traditional darkroom techniques). Students learn studio/field practices, study visual theory, and engage the community through documentary work . The EMU photo major unfolds in the context of our Christian liberal arts community, a multicultural, peace-oriented environment that values effective cross-cultural communication and passionate engagement with the world. We prepare students for a range of photographic possibilities from studio/freelance positions to further graduate training.
Photographs by Carrie Keagy (part of a book project for Color Photo class)
New for 2013: Conservation Photography at Eastern Mennonite University – the intersection of photography and environmental preservation. Explore the bio-diversity of the Appalachian region through underwater photography, macro work, and other techniques. Learn more.
Northern two-lined salamander at Tomahawk Pond, Virginia
Internship opportunities abound in the EMU/Harrisonburg area. Several of our visual and communication arts students have gained important work experience as photo interns for Fairfield Language Technologies, makers of Rosetta Stone, the world’s leading language learning software. Other students have gone further afield to intern for newspapers in Washington, DC or at National Geographic Adventure in New York City.
Students in VACA photo classes have access to our collection of over twenty Canon digital SLRs and lenses at no charge (beyond standard lab fees). In addition to entry level cameras for intro students, the collection includes a Canon 5D Mark II and two Canon 7D cameras for HD video production and an infrared camera for alternative processes. We have more than thirty additional lenses available for checkout. These include: Canon 85/1.2, Canon 70-200/2.8, Canon 50/1.4, Canon 24mm/1.4, Canon 100mm/2.8 macro, Canon 100-400mm/4.0-5.6, and Sigma Fisheye 8mm. Film-based still cameras are also available for a modest rental fee.
The Advanced Media Lab, home to our advanced Photoshop, video editing and 2-D animation classes, features fifteen 27 inch (Intel based) iMacs, a large HD display, a Blu-ray projector and a surround sound system. Software includes Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 and After Effects CS5.5. Our intro digital media lab features the latest Adobe CS5.5 Creative Suite and fifteen workstations (21 inch and 24 inch Intel based iMacs) for digital photo editing and web design.
Curious about the vocational possibilities for EMU alums? Visit our VACA careers page
See our faculty page for examples of faculty work.
VACA student work has received attention from national and international media. The Washington Post covered our class documentary on the Kurdish community in Harrisonburg, and the BBC ran student photos from the documentary on their Web site.
Photograph by Dustin Galyon (Documentary Photography Class)
The major in photography consists of
49 semester hours.
VaCA Core (12 credits)
PHOTO 112 Digital Photography (3)
ART 111 Foundations of Design (3)
COMM 332 Cinema and Visual Communication Theory (3)
DIGM 213 Graphic Design (3)
Additional photography major courses
*PHOTO 478 Documentary Photography (3)
PHOTO 352 Color Photography (3)
PHOTO 464 Advanced Photoshop (3)
*PHOTO 489 Studio Photography (3)
DIGM 261 Web Design (3)
*ART 323 Survey of Modern and Contemporary Art (3)
ART 492 Senior Studio Practicum (4)
Gallus gallus and Homo sapien
Steven David Johnson, Chair of Visual and Communication Arts
Choose five courses from the following list:
*PHOTO 241 Black and White Photography (3)
*PHOTO 375 Photography Print and Portfolio Workshop (3)
*PHOTO 361 Conservation Photography (3)
*PHOTO 376 Alternative Photo Processes (3)
ART 141 Drawing (3)
ART 321 Survey of Western Art (3)
COMM 231 Pop Culture and Mass Communication (3)
COMM 241 News and Feature Writing (3)
DIGM 362 Video Web Applications and Social Media (3)