The Arts at Hotchkiss: Photo Intensive


Colleen MacMillan

Jaysen Jensen ’20 and Antonia Stoffel ’21 work on their photos.

With frequent travel opportunities and extended use of studios and the darkroom, Photo Intensive enables students to explore innovative techniques and develop as artists.
The course, also known as PO341, is a project-based class that allows student photographers to work on their portfolios while experimenting with different photography techniques. Ms. Colleen MacMillan, instructor of photography and the class, explained, “We’re different [from] the Humanities photo classes in that the projects are all self-directed. Students also enjoy [the use of] a wider range of resources, including after-hour access to photo studios and [the] darkroom, as well as a larger selection of enlargers and other materials.”
Ms. MacMillan aims to inspire her students artistically with periodic field trips. Recently, the class took a trip to the Catskill Mountains, where students visited Shi Guorui, an artist who photographs the landscapes which were once painted by Thomas Cole.
The class also took photos at Opus 40, a sculpture park in Saugerties, New York, and visited a photo exhibit at Vassar College. Ms. MacMillan said, “I really want to take my students outside the campus, so they can have a change of scenery, and maybe that change will generate some new inspiration.”
Throughout the course, students will build their portfolios with works from different projects. Ms. MacMillan said, “I’m excited about an upcoming [project], where students [will] take a portrait of someone without showing their face. This will really encourage the class to…think about the definition of a portrait and how to portray and represent a person without using facial traits.”
Jaysen Jensen ’20, who started learning photography before high school, feels the class has influenced his artistic choices by allowing him to explore the nuances of his craft. He said, “I really learned to appreciate the romantic aspects of film and photography, especially the process of developing film, improving or changing the image, and think[ing] about how to better deliver my message to the audience.”
Next semester, student photographers can continue their photography studies in Photo Intensive II. Other electives include Honors Portfolio, Digital Media Studio, and Narrative Film and Documentary Film.