Photography at DVSA
About our programs
I take photos differently now than I did before. I think about light, shadows, background, angles. I now understand what makes a photograph interesting.
– DVSA photography student
Photography classes at Dundas Valley School of Art emphasize photography as art practice, encouraging you to explore the various avenues of expression available through the use of this flexible medium. Introductory courses are designed to help you gain control of your camera as a tool. As you progress, the focus shifts to helping you develop a unique vision and voice – from learning how the camera sees, to considering the aesthetics of image and translating subject into photographic visual language.
Courses in two photography approaches are available: Traditional and Digital Photography.
Offered each term, our Traditional Photography course is an opportunity to dig out your 35mm camera and (re)discover the magic of old-school film photography. This unhurried process-based darkroom practice is important for all photographers looking to experience the roots of photography. Unlike the virtual nature of digital photography, film photography is tangible and offers the immediacy of in-class results and the enjoyment of the black and white print tonality.
Our fully equipped darkroom is one of the few remaining in the Hamilton/Burlington region. It offers 9 workstations for students to hone their darkroom skills by processing black and white film and making contact prints and enlargements. You’ll enjoy the simplicity of learning to operate a 35mm camera and become familiar with basic photography principles. This relaxed workshop-style course offers an encouraging approach and provides a blend of structured lessons and independent learning. An exchange of ideas and knowledge is encouraged, providing a creative and supportive studio experience.
Digital Photography courses are structured to build progressively and deliver a solid photography foundation. Introductory courses place an emphasis on understanding and gaining control of the camera and increasing your confidence in using the exposure modes to improve results.
Photography concepts explored include camera functions and modes, ISO, shutter speed, f/stop, histograms, focusing, lenses, composition and lighting techniques as well as a basic introduction to digital image processing. Feedback from instructors and fellow classmates will help develop your “eye” and personal style. Class sizes are small (maximum 12 students), providing a good student/teacher ratio. Lessons are designed to be hands-on with your camera and paced accordingly to allow absorption of the material.
We have a 12 station media lab that features Mac computers, an LCD projector for displaying images and a professional quality colour printer. You will need to bring a camera to class, but we recommend holding off on camera purchases; consult first with your instructor for guidance.
In the Intermediate to Advanced photography classes, you will be exposed to new techniques and concepts and a variety of approaches that introduce an increasing level of complexity and challenge. Project examples include a consideration of the aesthetics and inspiration of the photo masters, greater in-depth instruction on photo editing software and the development of digital image management skills.
As you progress, the focus becomes less on the technical aspects of using your camera and more on broadening your vision and exploring the possibilities of the photographic frame. Field work, assignments based around photographic concepts and critiques of your images that invite positive group feedback offer opportunities for hands-on and engaged learning. Our instructors, all of whom are working artists and photographers, offer mentorship and creative guidance in DVSA’s welcoming and supportive environment.
For those looking to further their skills, a variety of shorter workshops are provided throughout the year offering specialized instruction in lighting, landscape, still life and macro photography, digital image editing/organization software and more.