The Photography Department’s studios,
labs, Red Eye Gallery, administrative offices and equipment check-out are
located on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors of the RISD Design Center, a
building shared with the Graphic Design department, campus mailroom, and the
RISD Store. In addition, graduate students have individually assigned studios
located on the 6th floor of the Fletcher Building, part of RISD’s downtown
Graduate Center complex that includes the Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery
and the administrative offices of the Graduate Studies division. The Fletcher
Building is a 10-minute walk from the Design Center.
The Red Eye Gallery is the Photography Department’s central hub and is
dedicated to showcasing student work in a series of rotating exhibitions.
Exhibitions are curated by students from proposals submitted to faculty. From
March through June, the Gallery hosts a rotating series of Degree Project
exhibitions by graduating seniors. In addition, work by majors is featured in
an annual exhibition at the Woods-Gerry Gallery on campus.
The department has dedicated classrooms for instruction and critique. These are
equipped with pin-up walls and digital projection systems as well as worktables
and teaching stations.
The department’s computer facilities are comprised mainly of MacPros equipped
with Coreware, common campus-wide applications whose site licenses are
maintained by OIT (the Office of Information Technology). The current Coreware
suite includes Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, AfterEffects, Acrobat, Flash,
Dreamweaver, Lightroom, MS Office, Toast, Final Cut Pro, and Apple’s iLife. The
department has its own site license for PhotoKit Sharpener, a third party
Photoshop plugin for output sharpening. All applications are routinely updated
to their latest version before the beginning of the school year.
Most lab computer stations have Eizo CG243W 24.1” displays that are calibrated
with an X-Rite Color Munki colorimeter. Calibration helps facilitate a better
screen to print match whether the student is using ink jet or light jet for
their final print. The computer facilities have various scanners: 3 Epson
v700s, Epson Expression 10000XL 11x17 flatbed scanner, Plustek 35mm film
scanner, Hasselblad 646, Imacon 343, Imacon Precision III.
For digital output, students have access to ten Epson inkjet printers (4900s,
4880s, 4800s) driven by the printing RIP ImagePrint. Photo students can also
make large prints up to 44” wide on an Epson 9800 dedicated to photo papers and
a 9600 dedicated to matte papers. Ink is provided but students buy their own
paper. 44-in. prints cost $3 a square foot. Graduate students have an Epson
9900 for their exclusive use, located in the Design Center.
The Photo Cage provides temporary checkout of photography equipment and has a
large assortment of medium and large format cameras as well as digital and
video cameras. Equipment includes twelve Hasselblad 501CM, six Fujica range
finder, two Mamiya RB67, two Pentax 67II and six Yashicamat 124G medium format
cameras. Large format includes ten Calumet, three Sinar F1, two Omegaview
monorail and three Toyo 4x5 and one Toyo 8x10 field cameras. Digital cameras
include two Canon 10D, eight Canon 20D, and three 5D digital cameras plus one
digital CVF Hasselblad back. This inventory will continue to grow. There are
light meters (students are encouraged to purchase these), numerous Visatec and
Dynalite strobe and hot light portable lighting kits, Vivitar 285 and Canon 580
on-camera flash units, Manfrotto tripods and 16x20 and 20x24 Saunders 4 blade
The department has a fully-equipped professional lighting studio with two
Speedotron 2403 CX Blackline power packs and eight 202VF lighting heads with
various sized lightboxes, grids, reflectors, seamless backdrop stand and a
translucent plexiglass light table.
For black and white silver printing, majors have exclusive access to a
12-station darkroom equipped with Saunders/LPL 4x5 enlargers. Non-majors use a
separate darkroom equipped with 21 Saunders/LPL 670 medium format enlargers. In
addition, there is a lab dedicated to antique and alternative photographic
processes such as cyanotypes, gum bichromate, wet collodion processes and
platinum printing. It contains ultraviolet exposure units and a computer
station equipped with a Epson 4000 inkjet printer for creating digital
negatives for contact printing and other purposes.
Majors are issued darkroom kits for the year and grad students for two years.
This kit contains an enlarging lens, easel, negative carrier, developing tank,
beakers and funnel. Students are able to work autonomously in the darkrooms
with no need to check out equipment per session.