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Photography Class Prepares Students For Transition From College To Career

Photography students at Black Hills State University are wrapping up a class that is designed to expose them to what a career in photography is like after college. The Contemporary Issues in Photography class brings the transition from academic world to business world into focus.

Black Hills State’s Contemporary Issues in Photography class incorporates basic picture-taking skills but it is geared towards advanced photography students. Professor Steve Babbitt says the class focuses on teaching the students to infuse their personality into their work. He says it also teaches them how to market themselves in the business world.

Mass Comm and Corporate Communication major Ashley Grable is one of Babbitt’s students. She says the class has helped prepare her for the ‘real’ world.

“We talked about how to apply for a job, what to do in an interview. We had for an assignment to make a promo piece and a business card, an artist statement. So by using all these assignments in projects in class – it’s actually assignments that you’re going to need in your real life,” says Grable.

In addition to tailoring resumes and designing cover-letters, the students also completed a semester-long project called Uncommon Perspectives Exposed - a project where they were challenged to tell their own individual story through photographs, and then to incorporate those photos into a collaboration with their class-mates.

Class-mate and Photo major Shelby Hartung says she told her story by putting herself in front of the camera.

“I did like a self-evaluation, like kind of showcasing another side of who I am - showing the more vulnerable side. So, I spent my semester taking pictures, self-portraits, of like situations where I felt, you know, sad or heavy-hearted,” says Hartung.

In addition, the students each published a book showcasing their individual pieces, and the class published a book featuring a collection of their photographs.

Class member and Communication Arts major Carissa Doolittle says the project was an opportunity for the class to express themselves.

“I think it’s just us showing to the world how we see through our eyes – through photographs,” says Doolittle.

Students in the Contemporary Issues class also learn other photography-related skills like hanging an exhibit and maximizing publicity opportunities. An exhibit featuring the student’s photographs is on display at the University through January.


The reception for Uncommon Perspectives Exposed is December 12 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm in the Jonas Hall Basement at Black Hills State University in Spearfish. The exhibit is open to the public.