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The Freedom of Photography

CFA class is more than point-and-shoot


In the slide show above, learn more about the projects of students in Stratton McCrady’s photography class.

A pale model, wearing a black corset and tulle skirt, walks into Stratton McCrady’s photography class and strikes a pose. Cameras start clicking, until McCrady turns off the overhead lights, switches on a lightbox, and turns it toward the wall.

“Now try it,” he tells his students.

McCrady’s class is all about experimentation.

“The students in this class are intensely focused on their own professional careers,” he says. “Unlike other art courses, this is not heavily juried or critiqued. This is an opportunity to learn the ways and means to make that project you’re envisioning — and to have the freedom to do it.”

McCrady teaches a College of Fine Arts photography class every semester, focusing on the history and technical aspects of the medium. After taking the class last semester, his students expressed interest in an independent study with him this semester.

The students, Didi Pathak (CAS’10), Tara Matkosky (CFA’10), Steven Meyer (CFA’10), Erik Teague (CFA’11), and John Schwartz (COM’10), each chose a subject and worked on their projects over the semester.

Their photos will be on display in the exhibition HeadLong, at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre April 18 through May 7. An opening reception will take place on Sunday, April 18, at 7 p.m.

McCrady, a school of theatre technical production instructor, says many of his students are used to working together to create elaborate sets, costumes, and productions.

“We’re in an art form here that is hugely collaborative, where you need 100 other people so that you can make what you make,” he says. “You kill yourself trying to make it, the show goes up for a week, and then we chop it up into little pieces and throw it away. For me, the camera has been an opportunity to make art that belongs strictly to me; nobody’s going to put that in the dumpster.”

Pathak took McCrady’s course because she wanted to study a subject other than the biochemistry and other sciences she focuses on as a premed student.

“I didn’t realize there were so many aspects that you could control,” she says. “Things you don’t think about when you use a small point-and-shoot camera. Photography is something I really love.”

HeadLong will be on display in the lobby of the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Ave., from April 18 through May 7. There will be an opening reception at 7 p.m. on April 18.

Kimberly Cornuelle can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter @kcornuel.


One Comment on The Freedom of Photography

  • Angela on 05.10.2010 at 3:10 pm


    Wow the students work is amazing. I would love to make a portfolio website.