‘First Light’ Reflects Expanded Continuing Education Program

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The Columbus State University Continuing Education Photography Program has grown from just a few classes in 2004 to more than 20 classes offered throughout the year.

The growth is on display through Nov. 15 in  the digital photography exhibition “First Light,” by the program’s students and instructors, in the Rankin Arts Photography Gallery 1004 Broadway, second floor, on CSU’s downtown Columbus RiverPark campus.  

Kenny GrayWith eight instructors, the Photography Program currently serves 101 students and includes a certificate track. The curriculum covers the fundamentals of digital photography, how to use a digital SLR camera, bridal portraiture, applying Adobe Photoshop software and more.

The two-year-old certificate program involves a required class, “Photography Fundamentals,” plus five electives and a portfolio presentation. “We awarded three (certificates) the first year and eight this past year,” said Kenny Gray, coordinator of the program and curator of the exhibit.

Gray said the program, overall, allows for students to gain practical, hands-on knowledge and to focus on the techniques that can lead to personal success.

Gray said photography has advanced thanks to the invention of good pigment printers and integration of computer software, especially Adobe Photoshop, which empowers photographers. “You have so much more control over prints — control that you could never have in the darkroom,” he said.

Through the First Light exhibition, students have taken advantage of the opportunity to not only show their work, but also to experience participating in a juried art show for fine art photography — apart from photography applied to snapshots, scrapbooking and commercial work.

First Light includes over 40 works of digital photography as fine art. “There is one print that is gelatin silver, and everything else is a pigment ink print,” Gray said. “I was able to find something in their work that I felt was really strong, and explain to them why their pieces transcend (the non-fine art forms of photography) they had been doing.”

In addition to coordinating the Photography Program, Gray is organizing a photography club, Photopia (http://photopiagroup.wordpress.com), that will meet 7-9 p.m.the first Monday of each month at the Rankin Arts Photography Gallery.

Gallery hours for First Light are 4-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon Saturday and by appointment. For more information, go to the Photography Program website, http://conted.colstate.edu/photography_home.php, or call