Do I have the freedom to do whatever I want?
To choose for and study at the Photography Department means that you will are given the freedom and autonomy to formulate your own projects, choose your own subject matters and engage in any research that you would like to do. Theory and Practice classes will challenge you though, to relate your work to our shared medium, which is photography, on the broadest spectrum possible. Photography is our baseline, our field of interest and expertise. We assume that whoever joins the Department does so with the intention to study the medium, to research its properties, to try and understand both its history and its potential. Together, we want to learn about, develop, discover and question Photography from whichever angle possible, based on our very personal interests and motivation.
Are there collaborations between Photography and other departments?
Collaborating with students and workshops from other departments and disciplines is inevitable. The way the Academy is set up, and the nature of Photography itself, being a medium that connects automatically to a whole range of other fields, makes it obvious that collaborations, exchange and inter-action is necessary. Even less obvious collaborations are desirable, since, in some cases, this will bring forth the desired development of something new, unexpected, original and progressive.
Do I need to make photographs?
Yes. To learn about something is to experience it. Almost all our findings, our learning, comes from practice. To understand something, and possibly criticizing it, to develop something and bring it to the next level, one has to deal with the materials that are connected to the medium. No.Occasionally, with respect to sound research and theses, personal conviction, for the sake of experiment, or personal preference, the physical act of photographing is not necessary. Students might choose to engage with existing archives, found-footage, AI-produced images, Camera-less Photography, editing, writing, philosophy. Working WITH Photography is the requirement.
Eventually though, every student will be the author of their work in some form, using Photography as their means of expression or as the subject matter itself.
Is everything supposed to be digital or also analogue?
Both is fine, most students work in a hybrid way, choosing their materials in accordance with their respective projects. The workshop offers materials, equipment and support in both processes.
Are there Technique Classes?
In the first year, students will receive an introduction in studio technique, lighting, large format analogue photography, black and white and colour darkroom techniques, scanning and inkjet printing. These classes will be split up between a teacher of the Department and a workshop manager of the Photography workshop. These Technique Classes will lead to a practical project that will centre around a specific technical challenge, and will be presented outside of the Academy. The dedicated workshop will support students at all times with technique-related questions, throughout their studies.
Are there Theory Classes?
In all three years, students will have Theory Classes. During the first two years, students will read seminal works of relevant literature, discussing this in class, and practice writing skills. In the final year, the exam year, students will formulate and produce their thesis, which will be researched and written with the support of a theory teacher, with occasional classes of writing professionals.
Are there guest-teachers besides the regular programme?
Yes. Individual teachers occasionally invite artists from their own network to give presentations or portfolio reviews. Also, students sometimes are invited to visit artists in their studio’s. Sometimes, artists come and give lectures for the whole department as well. There is no program for this, though. It depends a bit on who is in town and available…
Are there excursions? Where to? How often?
Usually, the whole Department makes a study trip once a year, in springtime, and visit a fair, like Paris Photo, in autumn. We chose our destinations on the basis of actuality. Mostly cities in Europe, these locations attract our attention because of contemporary political or social events or their controversial character or history. We have recently been travelling to Athens, Minsk, Belfast, for example.
Is the Department connected to galleries, museums or festivals, where students might show their work?
We have long-standing connections with multiple institutions and partners, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and abroad. Every once in a while, we reach out to each other and program an event, an exhibition or a presentation with each other. We have worked with UNSEEN Photo Fair during the last few years. We had an exhibition of graduates at FOAM, and we participated at Paris Photo, at satellite locations and book fairs.
What will I do/be when I’m graduated?
You study at the Department of Photography to become an artist. We do not educate commercial photographers. If specific fields within the medium come up, like advertising, fashion, portrait, documentary etc., we will always treat these in relation to Fine Arts.
What is the average age of the students?
Most students who apply for the Department directly or join after completing the Foundation Year at the Rietveld (Basic Year), have some kind of previous education, are switching from another discipline or another Academy. The average age is about 22-24, with exceptions in both directions, younger and older.
What are the Nationalities of the students?
Students come from all across Europe, Russia, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, North and South America. Yet, even more diversity would be great!