I already knew I was accepted, (not to brag) because I went for an interview and I’ve also been emailing the guy who interviewed me for months. Anyway he wrote me a personal email saying…
I am writing tonight to express a warm welcome and congratulations on being among the first of the applicants to be accepted into the BFA Photography program at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University for the incoming fall 2012 class. Each year we have well over a thousand inquiries and hundreds of applications to our internationally recognized BFA degree Photography program and complete our annual recruiting by admitting an outstanding incoming class, both academically and artistically, of around 60! … Trust me, you are in amazing company and you’re going to love being in Boston… probably the most student friendly town in America! Congratulations as well on earning an annual Portfolio Scholarship of $8, 000. a year! At some point, i would like to have a conversation with you about your GPA and it’s odd association with your work and decent SAT scores… i was wondering if you had had a difficult stretch in your high school life that affected your academics because your work is more intelligent than you GPA would indicate. I’m taking a chance on you because of this feeling. You should know that the average GPA of an entering Photo major is about 3.4 so it’s important to know that i trust you are a much better student than your transcript shows.
I can guarantee that you will love the experience of earning your BFA degree at The Art Institute of Boston for several reasons: Most important, an immediate, and total, immersion into your photography major… as our program has its own, one of a kind, Photography Foundation year; an incredibly diverse and inter-disciplinary curriculum; one of the best darkroom complexes in the country… including large gang labs, an alternative process lab, 17 individual color labs, photo dedicated digital studios, state of the art digital printing labs, working commercial studios, cameras and equipment of every description, seminar classrooms; an outstanding professional faculty of 25 working artists (without an attitude); small student to teacher class ratios (averaging 10:1), and a student population that is made up of great people from around the world. Best of all, our size (200 BFA photo majors and 24 MFA candidates) permits us to be very selective regarding an applicant’s academic history and the quality of their portfolio. This has allowed us to hand-pick intelligent and talented young artists, like you, who are crazy about photography and who will have an excellent opportunity for success. You will immediately feel welcome and at home in our department where you will be known by your work and not what year you are in. We are distinctly clique-less. AIB photo majors have a passion for their work that is infectious. For your viewing pleasure, here are two YouTube videos of 2 of our recent graduates, Neil Contractor YouTube - AIB Photography / Neil Contractor and Samantha Chartier, YouTube - Photography - Samantha Chartier, talking about their experiences at AIB while majoring in Photography.
I’m going to give you a load of links to explore so that you can get to know the school and encourage you to take the time to wander around and see what you have to look forward to.
One thing that we’re really excited about is our new campus and state of the art building complex that will begin groundbreaking in Cambridge this summer. We expect to move in to the new buildings in 2013! Here’s a news page: http://news.lesley.edu/2011/03/art-institute-of-boston-moving-to-cambridge.shtml
We are excited to report that we are thoroughly underway with our new graduate Master of Fine Arts in Photography (MFA) program that is conceptually constructed upon the notion that photography and imaging are different things, that the medium is no longer a single entity and is unique in its ability to integrate new technologies with traditional and contemporary artistic practice. We have had a rare opportunity to create an MFA program from the ground up… where the love of the hand-made image, will be a guiding force. Here’s the link to information about the graduate program that is up on my web site: MFA in Photography: and on the University site: http://www.lesley.edu/aib/curriculum/mfa_photo.html
Here’s a show of AIB Photo department work that i presented to Accepted Students Day last April. A good portion of the beginning section illustrates work done by first-year Photography Foundation Seminar students and what they are now doing presently in their post-graduate careers. The show was designed as a sampling of AIB photographers and their stories and it should give you an indication of some of the varieties of work being done in the program … enjoy! AIB Photography Flickr Presentation
Here’s a site for our annual spring elective book course called Taking In: The Best of AIB Photography. If you want to see all of the Taking In student collections from 2004 and on, go to: http://takingin.com/.
Two additional sources for AIB images… You can find student and alumni work at Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/aiboston/sets/72157604606911381/ and AIB on Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/aiboston.
The AIB Admissions Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/aibadmissions.
Concerns regarding financial aid, housing, and other nuts and bolts issues, should be directed to Admissions. Kate Benson is directly involved with Photography applications, and Bob Gielow is the Director of Admissions, they can answer any question you may have. Kate can be reached at: <email@example.com> Bob can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Here is a good news link …. and a very important consideration for you and your family that comes up in every conversation, the Merit Scholarship awards. AIB offers guaranteed Merit Scholarships and you can see the current guidelines at the site below: http://www.lesley.edu/aib/admissions/scholarships.html
At AIB, you will dive right into photography. A unique, and very intensive, Photography Foundation first year introduces you to critical, conceptual, historical, and technical studies. These classes, combined with courses in the humanities, art history, and studio arts will help you approach your career aspirations as a well-informed artist. This photography specific Foundation year lays the groundwork for your exploration of the techniques, philosophy, and concerns of every facet of a photographic career.
From that rigorous Photography Foundation base, you will launch into the sophomore core concentrations of fine art and interdisciplinary image making, documentary / photo-journalism, commercial studio, editorial, digital imaging, … and a full year of concept and project based Sophomore Seminar. You will also be able to begin focusing on the electives that interest you the most. During your junior and senior years, you will define, and refine, your personal directions with seminar and portfolio courses and a vast menu of elective options from AIB’s outstanding department offerings and the University at large. The junior, and year-long senior, portfolio seminars are demanding, and you will work intensively with faculty mentors to build a professional-quality portfolio that will accompany you into the “real world.” This is also the time that many juniors elect to take a semester abroad. This coming semester, Photo students will be studying in locations such as Paris,France; Florence and Venice, Italy; Buenos Aries, Argentina; Aukland, New Zealand; Prague, Czech Republic; and others.
To help prepare you for this real world, our department assists in placing its students in a wide range of internships. Past internships have included Cultural Survival / Rwanda and Kenya, Kageno Kids in Kenya, Magnum Picture Agency (NYC & Paris), National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Saveur, and EW magazines, The Boston Globe, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz Studio, the Maine Photographic Workshops, Ken Burns Films, Oxfam America, The Photographic Resource Center, and The DeCordova Museum to name a just a very few.
Our students are active around the world… Recent graduates are continuing their education in Master of Fine Arts graduate programs (we have 3 students in the graduate program at Yale University right now) and working throughout the world in their chosen directions. Here are a few …
• Paul Taggart is one of the top young photo journalists in the world today and after working for World Picture News in Paris and New York for many years has now on his own as a free lance photographer and working for the top magazines in the world…., http://www.paultaggart.com/
• Lisa Wiltse worked for several years as a staff photographer at The Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney, Australia, http://www.lisawiltse.com. For the past two years she has been working freelance for such organizations as; The New York Times, Time Magazine, German Geo, Frommer’s, and Marie Claire. Here is a separate link to her award winning documentary projects on beach culture in Rio de Janeiro and the Mennonites of Bolivia. Lisa Wiltse_Award winning Documentary Photography stories from around the world
• Jennifer Warren working as a photojournalist in Somalia, Rwanda, and Kenya and recently won a major award in an international documentary photography competition. You can see her work at http://jennwarren.net
• Magdalena Caris co-published a book, with Paul Fusco, titled The Chernobyl Legacy, http://magdalenacaris.com/portfolio.html
· Jacqueline Dady just graduated in December and has already moved to Los Angeles to set up her fashion and editorial studio business: www.jacquelyndady.com/
• Shealah Craighead worked as The White House photographer for several years, , http://www.whitehouse.gov.edgesuite.net/news/releases/2006/01/images/20060116_p011606sc-0123-515h.html and recently had a 6 page spread in Newsweek covering her 4 months with Sarah Palin during the recent 2008 presidential campaign: http://www.newsweek.com/id/168845 Shealah is now the only photographer allowed to document the media adventures of Sarah Palin
· xtine Burrough is a global media artist who engages her viewers via the internet and new technologies: www.missconceptions.net/ . She has also recently co-authored a new textbook titled, Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design, published by Peach Pit Press and is contracted to write a second book now underway..
· Kristin Hatgi is a recent graduate and is working professionally as a studio artist using alternative photographic processes to produce her editorial photography. Here’s her terrific blog and site: http://www.kristenhatgi.blogspot.com/
· Esteban Aladro, another recent graduate, is working professionally in NYC. Here’s his site: http://www.estephotography.com/
· Stephen Zadrozny graduated from AIB a little more than a year ago and immediately went to work for David LaChapelle in NYC. He’s now assisting and free lancing in Manhattan: Stephen Zadrozny Photography
· Dana Mueller was born and raised in East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall. She is currently an adjunct professor in Photography and Art history at The Art Institute of Boston. She received her MFA in Photography from The Massachusetts College of Art & Design. Her work addresses the concepts of exile, German Identity, memory, history, and landscape. www.danamueller.net/
· Paris Visone recently graduated and is hard at work in the business: Paris Visone Photography
· Sam Rosenholtz is a very recent graduate and has already won a major international award in a world competition: Sam Rosenholtz AIB 2009-10
· Elaine Park is a working graphic artist and art director who is presently taking a sabbatical to attend graduate school for her MFA: www.elainepark.com
· Gretchen Helene has recently produced a documentary on the Burning Man Festival held this year in Black Rock City, Nevada - www.gretjenhelene.net/burningman/
· Russ Quackenbush is one of the top commercial / editorial photographers working today: www.russquackenbush.com/
· Shane Godfrey is a recent graduate (2010) and has quickly established his own studio: Shane Godfrey Photography
· Emily Harney has been involved in sports / action photography since the day she first arrived at AIB. Since graduation, she has made a living in that genre and has been recognized as one of the best boxing and mixed martial arts photographers working today. Emily Harney Photography
If you want to see what I do… and my new video, you can check out my web site: www.christopherjames-studio.com . You can also see my most recent book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: Second Edition (Delmar Cengage, New York). I’m working hard on a new 850 page / 500 image book now and will publishing it in 2013.
Normally I can be reached via my studio email address (this one) or on my office phone (800-773-0494 x6684). You may also write to me at my studio address email@example.com or the one I am using for this email. Let me know a good time to call to talk on the phone, that fits your schedule, and I’ll do so. If you want to call me… just do it.
I look forward to getting to know each of you personally and invite you to call me at AIB or to send an e-mail to say hello and let me know what’s on your mind. Those of you who are transferring from another college can get in touch with me, if you haven’t already, in order to discuss course exemptions. Admissions will make the first decisions regarding your exemptions and then I’ll negotiate for you, with Julie Stanwood, Director of Academic Advising, if needed. Julie’s email address is Stanwood@aiboston.edu
Again, congratulations and I really look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you in Boston, in the fall. By the way, we will be having an Accepted Students Day in the spring and you will be getting an invitation to it in the mail.
Be well…. and be in touch! You are going to love this experience!