Photography Returning to Salem?

By Kristen Maikoo


    Petitions have been posted around campus advocating for photography courses to be offered at Salem. Sophomore design student Victoria LaJuan Bowen, who began the petition, became interested in photography taking a course on it at Sawtooth School for Visual Art.

    “I’m very passionate about photography,” she says. “It’s not only an art, it’s a science because if you miss one step or you do something just a little too much over it can mess up your film or it can make things too bright or too dark. I liked how it made me think.”

    Photography courses are offered at Sawtooth for Salem students because of their darkroom facilities. However, according to art professor Kim Varnadoe, “Salem used to have several darkrooms. One in the Science Building, one in the basement of Lehman Hall and a makeshift one in the Art Department in the Fine Arts Center. All of these darkrooms were dismantled in the past years as film photography fell out of favor and digital photography became the norm.”

    Though the photography course is currently only taught at Sawtooth, Varnadoe says, “It would be much more convenient to our students if the facilities were on campus.”

    Bowen shares Varnadoe’s opinion.

    “You have to walk or drive all the way to Sawtooth to take the class. If the fee doesn’t scare people away then the walk down there does,” says Bowen.

    With the help of her petition, Bowen hopes to change that,by reestablishing darkrooms and photography courses on Salem’s campus.

    “We have the equipment, the space and the professor,” she says. “If we bring it here, it would be a focus in Studio Art.”

    “It would have the potential to grow to be a major or a minor.” Varnadoe says.

    Since Bowen posted the petitions around campus, she has received questions and comments.

     “I’ve gotten great feedback so far,” she says. She received emails from people asking where the petitions were located and more about the opportunity to learn photography on campus. Petitions are located in all of the residence halls, Refectory, Fine Arts Center, Science building and McHugh Flats.

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