Friday, March 18, 2011

College Credits for a Class on Cell Phone Photography?

Since shortly after the birth of film and cameras, schools and Universities across the world have offered classes in photography ranging from technical skills to artistic endeavors to just plain basic taking better pictures.

Just about everyone has a camera on their cell phone, so in addition to learning to take better pictures, students will also be taught to realize "the full gravity of what's at their fingertips and the power they can have," Immaculata University communications professor Sean Flannery said.

Working in tandem with professional photographer Hunter Martin, who teaches the more technical side of photography (lighting, composition, etc.) Flannery will deal with the ethical side of carrying a portable recording device in today's society. In addition to the artistic aspects, such subjects as privacy, voyeurism and appropriate usage of images in social media outlets will be discussed.

"I think it's part of our responsibility . . . to teach kids how to use this tool," he said. "It's really no different from teaching proper use of a videocamera in a broadcast news class."

Courses in cell phone photography are not unique; NYU has offered a cell phone video class each fall for the past 2 years. University officials at Immaculata believe theirs differs in its role of addressing the associated ethical aspects.

Flannery and Martin plan a campus art show in April to exhibit the students' cell phone photos.

A private Catholic university that serves about 1,000 full-time undergraduate students, Immaculata is about 20 miles west of Philadelphia.

- David Grupa

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