Clarence White Jr. Fund for Photography Lecture Series

The program hosts the Clarence White Jr. Fund for Photography Lecture Series dedicated to the leading artists and scholars in the field of photographic media. The series is an invaluable aspect of the curriculum with visitors conducting studio visits with graduate students. Past visiting artists include Geoffrey Batchen, Sadie Benning, Jim Campbell, Melissa Catanese, Nancy Davenport, Moyra Davey, Liz Deschenes, Nan Goldin, Dan Graham, Frank Gohlke, Kahn/Selesnick, Craig Kalpakjian, Justine Kurland, Nicholas Muellner, Ed Panar, Em Rooney, Clarissa Sligh, A.L. Steiner, Catherine Wagner, and Jo Ann Walters.

Alternatives Exhibition

Alternatives is a biennial juried exhibition organized by the graduate students of Ohio University’s MFA Photography and Integrated Media program in the School of Art + Design. Since its beginning in 1980, Alternatives has achieved national recognition for its leadership in forging new definitions in the medium by emphasizing the work of photographers in the conceptual forefront of the practice. The exhibition has hosted a distinguished roster of artist jurors including Carrie Mae Weems, Kelli Connell, Jason Reed, and Judy Natal. 2, 3, 4: Dimensional Photographies, juried by Brittany Nelson, was presented in January 2019.


The M.F.A. curriculum in Photography and Integrated Media links innovative studio practice to a rigorous foundation of intellectual inquiry. Special topics courses and graduate seminars reflect contemporary currents in photography and criticism within an interdisciplinary context. Here are some examples of graduate courses offered in recent years.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Photography

Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag, and Roland Barthes wrote extensively about the nature of photography and the medium’s organic relationship to the subjects of memory, melancholy, fantasy, history, and loss. Their texts continue to be a source of inspiration, fascination, and disturbance for artists and writers. In this seminar, we will read and discuss contemporary work and texts that directly, and elliptically, address the writings of these authors. We will consider how these texts offer both a foundation and point of departure for exploring the nature of photography and the significance of the subjective voice within critical inquiry.

Feminisms: The Personal is Political will explore the key issues and methodologies of feminist art practice. What is the relationship between individual experience (the autobiographical) and the collective experience of women? How can feminist practice reconcile activist and artistic agendas? Are there particular modes of formal expression that we can identify as feminist? That is, how does feminist art weave artistic form and content? Within this field of the personal/political, how can feminism productively map the terrain of difference? Our emphasis will be on the plural feminisms and as such the intersections of race, class, sexuality with gender and sex. We will discuss the continuity of feminist concerns and strategies through an examination of the history and contemporary manifestations of feminist art. The course will reflect the hybrid practices of much feminist art and assignments will engage multiple disciplines with a strong component of writing and research.

Revolution, Silence, and Blindness

This seminar will be divided into three discrete chapters. The first will consider the biological, ontological and mechanical evolution of seeing and photography. We will consider the practitioners, the background and privilege of which they come from, their concerns as innovators, and how these underlying methods evolved into the complex system of image making and distribution that we are familiar with today. The subsequent chapters will explore the importance of non-visual sensation and its impact on our intellectual selves. To this end, some of the themes we’ll explore include: absence, silence, darkness, and blindness — a kind of antithesis of visual impression.