This image by Lane Simmons was captured at the James River Assembly Men's Conference: The Fight in April 2013.

Campus Blog

Photography philosophy: Evangel curriculum prepares students for evolving industry

May 9th, 2013 | Lane Simmons

I have been a photographer now for 20 years and have witnessed a myriad of changes in the industry.

The massive shift from film, or “analog,” photography to digital is the most prominent change, only second to the proliferation of cameras from Pro-level DSLRs to smartphones. This shift brings with it a new, and numerous, generation of photographers.

Our strategy in training this new breed of photographers has three areas: technology, creative vision and market viability.

We are excited to implement new technologies into our Photography minor. We track the newest software innovations to see which are worthy investments. We have a lighting studio where students can get training with professional lighting equipment and techniques.

Film and darkroom techniques are still valid learning tools and have a place in modern photography. Students will get the opportunity to use medium- and large-format film cameras in upper-level classes where students shoot black-and-white and color film and then make scans converting the images to digital. Film photography and the darkroom experiences hone a razor-sharp attention to subject matter, fine image details and craftsmanship that can easily be overlooked in the speedy world of digital photography.

Photography is strongest when communicating an idea or philosophy. What students see through the lens is as important, or more so, than how the image is captured and output.

A culture shift is being cultivated among students that puts emphasis on the end result over process. In other words, they do not follow the latest imaging trends on Facebook because everybody else is, but rather make the imaging process submissive to the final thought they want to leave with viewers. Art directors and gallery patrons won’t necessarily care how they communicate it, but how effectively they communicate it.

Finally, the photography faculty members are working professionals keeping our skill sets current, in turn making the classroom experience more than strictly an academic pursuit. We are adding branding, marketing, sales, pricing and other business strategies into the core curriculum.

The professional photography landscape has changed to include many more would-be photographers creating competition. Students must learn to survive the new photography landscape and a proper understanding of business processes/strategies is non-negotiable in that new photography landscape.

True success is when students can subjugate and complement their use of photographic technology to their creative voices and implement a strategy that both communicate the vision and grant access to potential clients.

Much of the work by photography students at Evangel is featured on the Evangel University Art Area Facebook page.

Want more? Meet Brandon Willis and Jessica Nunley, two Communication students who are both their photography skills through their coursework and student media involvement.

Lane Simmons

Photography Instructor

Lane Simmons, founder and owner of Zone 5 Photography, has been teaching photography at Evangel since 2005. His passion is for event coverage/photojournalism and teaching others to create incredible imagery.

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