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 easels.

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.

Photo foreground image 4
Ali Schmierer, From The Series Eden, archival inkjet