From editorial to advertising projects, many jobs are shot on location, working with talent and lighting to create a certain look or mood. In this course, students learn the specific equipment and strategies — including theory, critique, problem-solving, and stylized lighting and its application — required for successful results when working on assignment outside the studio.
ArtCenter: How would you describe this class to a prospective student?
Ken Marchionno: The class is designed to give students a working knowledge of photographing on location. Students consider what the location brings to the shoot in terms of light and setting, and how this effects meaning. We cover a range of lighting techniques in assignments and demos — from simple, to aggressive, to narrative.
AC: What inspired the direction you took with the curriculum for this class?
KM: I draw from my experiences as a photographer and what I've learned working with a variety of photographers, from Annie Leibovitz to Steven Klein. I've seen many approaches to working on location and creating scenes. I try to relate that experience to students through discussion, critique and hands-on demonstrations.
It was amazing to get the experience of working on a live set; I received incredible feedback that helped me push my work to a new level.Pierce Amadeus ThielePhotography & Imaging
AC: What are some of the most important concepts and ideas you hope students take away from the experience/classwork?
KM: Photographers need to partner with what they find on location, to learn not be at the mercy of the light they find, and to understand that all the pieces—the location — the light, the subject, and the style — need to work together to create a successful image.
AC: What are the assignments and materials that challenge students to break new ground creatively?
KM: The assignments are designed to build on each other and previous courses, both in technique and concept. Later in the term, students are tasked with taking charge of a scene through light, creating meaning, and moving a narrative forward through the techniques they employ. This is usually when they break new ground.
AC: What were some of the most interesting/surprising ways the students responded to the challenges and assignments?
KM: I’ve had students use materials in unexpected ways and that’s always interesting. Mostly, I’m interested in that moment when the work comes together in technique and concept, with all the depth and thoughtfulness students are capable of.