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Thread: Recommended MFA programs

  1. #11

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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    As with most post-graduate programs - I'd say ignore the name of the school unless you only want to name-drop. Go for the professors you want. Figure out who's teaching where - figure out if it's the right crowd for you to hob-nob with. Chances are, the other students may well be like-minded and you'll find it's a good milieu to be in. Don't underestimate both these factors. It's everything IMHO.

  2. #12
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    The rankings that seem to matter to most people are:

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/gra...tsp7_brief.php

    For the last twenty five years the University of New Mexico and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have always been in the top three. The third has varied. I have had the fortune to teach at both those schools. Email me if you want my perspective on those schools.
    Last edited by Kirk Gittings; 17-Jun-2006 at 18:13.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "Vocation to Solitude -- To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light." Thomas Merton

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  3. #13

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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    Kirk - Wasn't/Isn't Witkin at the U of NM?? At least the last I'd heard he was - rub shoulders with the guy at all? I'd be curious to find out.

  4. #14
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    Oh good - a Witkin thread - just what we need to take the heat of the Zakarwi thread... :-)
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  5. #15
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    Yes I just ran into him at the local lab a couple of weeks ago. He was looking at 4x5 chromes from a fashion shoot for the New York Times Magazine of Ruebanesque women with hats. A french film company was hovering over him shooting a documentary. He said he only took the hat shoot to get a subsequent shoe assignment because he had a shoe fetish. Joel's world.....
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "Vocation to Solitude -- To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light." Thomas Merton

    KIRK GITTINGS
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    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  6. #16
    Beverly Hills, California
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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    I want to play devil's advocate and say that Photography is one of those fields where you don't need to have a Masters. Or more to the point, it's counter the creative flow, expensive, time consuming, and debtful.

    Here comes the shrapnel, but honestly, when I hear "MFA in Photography", words that come to mind: expensive, elitist, snobbery, establishment.

    The world's your graduate school, take your camera and film out into it and get your degree.

  7. #17

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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    Hey - don't knock it. On the inside we'd call it a "master's of f**k-all" (MFA) - you can perceive it any way you want to I suppose. I don't think anybody but peevish insecure types would really try to push it in your face. So they're buttheads anyway. Let 'em eat cake. But I have to say I really can't, for the life of me, think of a better way to really hunker down and be forced to think about what you're doing behind a camera and really bring meaning to a lot of your work. It's a REALLY valuable thing. I think it's unfair to judge people as a group. But that's just me.

  8. #18
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    I just found out Witkin was in the same class as my landlady (!) at UNM, way back when.

  9. #19
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre_941
    I want to play devil's advocate and say that Photography is one of those fields where you don't need to have a Masters. Or more to the point, it's counter the creative flow, expensive, time consuming, and debtful.
    This is a decision everyone needs to make for themselves. I thought hard about grad school, and zeroed in on Yale and Massart. But ultimately decided it wasn't for me. Did I make the right decision? Who knows? There's no way to know what would have happen if I'd gone.

    I can think of people who blossomed in photo mfa programs, and I can think of people who were practically crushed by them. Some went on to do the best work of their lives, others started doing crappy work, or stopped photographing at all.

    One thing I do know is that my friends who went to Yale have a much easier time getting in the front door of some big institutions. They admit this openly. By the time they out into the world they either know the people at the top or have recommendations from close friends of people at the top.

    None of this could ever make up for crappy photography ... but then again no one gets into Yale doing crappy photography.

    As far as U of New Mexico, by all means take a look at it. I did and was seriously unimpressed by the program. I think a lot of its reputation comes from the fact that for a long time it was the ONLY photo MFA program. So a lot of the older big shots in the photo world came out of there. But it has changed a lot over the years, and you may or may not like the turns it's taken.
    Last edited by paulr; 17-Jun-2006 at 20:28.

  10. #20
    Beverly Hills, California
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    Re: Recommended MFA programs

    On the other hand, if you're 23, your dad (or grand dad) is paying, and you're fortunate enough to get accepted into a well supported MFA program, then go for it and enjoy it for the experience. Just don't have 'expections'.

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