The Photography Department at Santa Monica College (SMC/TPD) was started in 1947. We are a 2-year public institution located in
Santa Monica, California. We have an average enrollment of 1,200 students every fall and spring semester. Our facilities consist of 10
shooting bays, a 30-enlarger black & white lab, a 22-enlarger color lab, a 36-workstation Macintosh computer lab with a service bureau
that has two Imacon 343 film scanners and one Flextight X5 film scanner, Epson and Canon inkjet printers up to 44" wide. In our studios for advanced students we have 10 Leaf medium format capture backs, 2 Better Light and 2 PhotoPhase 4x5 scan backs and Canon 35mm DSLR cameras. We also maintain a year-round Photography Gallery.
We teach courses ranging from basics through advanced techniques, encompassing a wide range of camera formats (35mm, medium format, view camera, video), lighting (studio and location), wet darkroom (black-and-white and color), business practices and portfolio development courses. We position our students to move into the photo industry or transfer to 4-year institutions to further their studies. The majority of our students move directly into industry. SMC/TPD has been extremely fortunate in that we receive support from many different industry professionals, organizations and vendors.
For example, Bobbi Lane, APA National Educational Director, has listed SMC Photo among APA's 12 top photo programs in the nation to whom program support is offered by that organization. We have hosted the APA’s Emerging Photographer’s Business Seminar twice now inviting an additional 10 other programs in the LA area. The Getty Museum has supported specialized courses and resulting exhibitions by the Photo Department, and Sony, Photo District News and others have put on very successful programs here in recent years.
During the summer of 2005, we joined with Freestyle Photographic Supply and Glendale College to host an all-day printing seminar with
Tim Rudman on his techniques for Lith printing. Both of these examples highlight another important issue, we feel that sharing resources
likes these with other institutions is a wonderful method of building community and a stronger educational base for all photography students.