The Narrative Tableau: Studio Photography and Lighting

Fall 2021
Winter 2022
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 20
16 Credits per quarter
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The primary focus of this program will be how to formulate the outlines of a cohesive body of work, conduct research for that content, and produce images based on that research in a controlled, studio environment. Students can expect to learn the basic functions and operations of modern studio lighting as well as techniques for using the camera in a studio environment (successfully staging an area, using props, how to meter for correct exposures, photographing the figure in a studio environment, etc.). Students will be expected to have a coherent strategy for developing a series of images in their thematic and/or conceptual content as well as being able to confidently address their work both in writing and spoken presentation. We will employ strategies for challenging basic assumptions about the role and lexicon of the constructed image and immerse ourselves in the rich history of narrative tableaus (still lifes, historical paintings, etc.) as they have developed over the course of art history. Students will be asked to place their work and ideas within the context of contemporary photography and contemporary art, more generally, as the photograph has become an almost ubiquitous surrogate for lived experience. Students will be especially challenged to confront how their photographs are situated within the context of representation and depiction (addressing the inevitable conclusion that all images are, at their core, political in one way or another).

This program will explore the range of challenges, problems and possibilities in conceptualizing, constructing, and photographing in a studio environment. Students can expect to be able to use both film as well as digital cameras. Due to space limitations on campus, all photo editing will be done digitally, with film negatives being scanned at high resolution. Students will be able to access the lighting studio in designated shifts, while the majority of image editing will happen off campus. However, the program will also have a number of scheduled spaces in Digital Imaging Studio, though these spaces will be limited due to safety regulations. While students can expect to work in regular intervals in the lighting studio on campus, other program meetings such as lectures, seminars and critiques/reviews will happen via Zoom.

Students will be responsible for providing a written statement regarding their final body of work, which will reflect each quarters' accumulation of research, transformation, and final production. Students can expect to edit down their quarters' worth of images to 8-11 final photographs, which will constitute their final body of work. There will be weekly lectures, critiques, and seminars in addition to workshops (often over Zoom) and studio time in both the photo lighting studio as well as limited work sessions in the Digital Imaging Studio at Photoland. Students will also be required to attend the weekly Critical and Cultural Theory lecture series. Students can expect weekly reading assignments followed by written responses and formal participation in each seminar.


Fall 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10252
Winter 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20050

Academic details

Preparatory For

Photography, Visual Arts, Commercial Design and Photography, Media Studies

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$100 per quarter for art and media fees


In Person or Remote
Hybrid (F)
Hybrid (W)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

Evans Hall 1326 - Workshop


Date Revision
2021-05-10 Required fee increased to $100 (was $50)