Skip to main content


The photography curriculum at SMFA spans a range of photography practices of the 21st century, questioning and reframing the evolution of photographic and post-photographic approaches. You will gain a solid grounding in the history of photography and explore the pluralities of contemporary, photo-related practice using a range of professional tools. You will learn to make exhibition quality prints and photo objects with digital or analog technologies, seamlessly integrating the two. Faculty encourage critical thinking around a range of issues such as visual literacy in a photo-saturated society, engagement with contemporary international subjects, site specificity, abstraction, reenactment, and performativity. Students learn to develop a unique relationship to their work from an array of instructional formats such as reading, lectures, technical demos, critiques, visiting artists, participation in colloquia, and local art events. Experimentation and risk-taking are encourage to cultivate individual interests and working methods.

The Photography facilities let you create work using a variety of contemporary, analog, and digital techniques. Film and digital cameras, as well as lighting and studio equipment, are available for checkout from the Media Stockroom.

Darkroom Facilities

  • You must complete a health-and-safety orientation before using any of the darkrooms. This is typically done by a faculty member during a darkroom course, and can also be scheduled with the Photography Studio Manager.

  • All darkroom facilities operate from 9:00AM until 9:45PM on weekdays, and from 12:00PM until 5:45PM on Saturdays. Certain facilities are closed when classes are using them. A schedule is posted each semester specifying which hours the studios are closed.

  • Overnights are allowed only for advanced students by permission of a faculty member and the Photography Studio Manager. A separate health-and-safety training is mandatory for overnight access, and at least two students must be present in the studio during overnight hours.

Beseler 45 and Omega D Series Enlargers

These enlargers are designed for printing with 35mm, medium-format, and 4”x5” negatives. Two gang darkroom are available, one for beginner students and one for advanced. Processing trays allow for printing up to 20”x24”. Chemistry is provided and refreshed on a regular basis.

Film Processing Area

You can develop black-and-white film of any format. Processing tanks support 35mm, medium-format, and 4”x5” sheet film. A tray processing room is available for developing large-format sheet film. Chemistry is provided and refreshed on a regular basis.

Mural Room

A 45” wide processing sink is available for making large-scale gelatin silver prints. A Leitz enlarger for printing from 35mm and medium-format negatives, and a Beseler enlarger for printing from 4”x5” and 8”x10” negatives are available for large-scale projection.

Alternative Processes

A UV exposure unit allows for making prints of varying size and technique. Cyanotype, van Dyke brown, and platinum/palladium are some examples of processes supported in this area.


  • You must either be enrolled in or have completed a course in digital photography for access to the D-Lab. For MFA and Post-bacc students who have previous experience with digital printing, email the Photography Studio Manager for access.
  • Paper is only provided for printing on the P9000 printer. You must purchase your own paper or use paper provided by a digital photography course for use in the D-Lab.
  • There is a modest fee for ink usage in the D-Lab. A price chart is available for via your photography instructor or the Lab Monitor
  • In general, the D-Lab is open from 12:00PM until 9:00PM Mon-Thurs, and from 12:00PM until 6:00PM Fri-Sun. Certain hours are reserved for digital printing courses, during which time the D-Lab is closed. A schedule is posted each semester listing these times. The D-Lab is only open when a Lab Monitor is present.
  • Overnight access is available to advanced students as long as a Lab Monitor is present during overnight hours. Permission from a faculty member or the Photography Studio Manager is required in advance.
Epson Stylus Pro 3880 and 4900 / Epson Surecolor P800 inkjet printers

Mac Pro workstations with color-calibrated displays are available to make exhibition-quality prints using these printers. Ink is available at a subsidized rate for students enrolled in a digital printing course. You may print on any inkjet-coated paper you prefer.

Epson SureColor P9000

This 44” wide printer may be used by advanced students enrolled in a digital printing course. A variety of papers are available for purchase along with ink, or you may bring your own inkjet-coated paper. A daylight-balanced viewing area is located just outside of the P9000 room, where you can fine-tune the color balance of your prints.

Project Suites

  • Students access the Project Suites by signing out keys from the Media Stockroom. Authorization for these keys is provided by a faculty member or the Photography Studio Manager.
  • Each scanning suite can be signed out or reserved for a maximum of three hours at a time. A student may renew after this timeslot is over if no one else has reserved the suite afterward.
  • The Project Suites are available any time that the Media Stockroom is open.
  • Overnight access is available for advanced students once they have obtained permission from a faculty member or the Photography Studio Manager. At least two students must be present during overnight hours.
Hasselblad FlexTight X1 and 848 Partial-Drum Scanners

For making sharp, high-resolution scans of color and black-and-white negatives. These scanners support 35mm, medium-format, and 4”x”5 and 5”x7” sheet film. Can make 3F scans.

Epson Perfection V850 Flatbed Scanners

For scanning 35mm, medium-format, 4”x5” and 8”x10” negatives or books and documents up to 8.5”x11”.