This program examines the use of documentary photography as a communication tool for the visual investigation of contemporary issues. Students develop the skills to be effective storytellers through photographs created with their own visual voices and from their own unique perspectives. Throughout the course track, students are challenged to choose a long-term project, invest in it and explore it deeply, overcoming any hurdles they encounter along the way. The various outlets and markets available for documentary photography are identified and the business skills essential to success in this field are emphasized.

Documentary Courses

Visual Narrative Lab | 5 units

We live in a time when access to ideas and social concerns has never been more available; as documentarians and visual journalists, these are exciting times and call upon our skills in new ways. The Visual Narrative Lab begins the process of exploring visual problem solving and personal vision through a series of short weekly assignments, in-class critique and presentations important to generating and sustaining strong stories. In this class, students will work to explore and master the concepts and skills for producing non-fiction photography and video. The weekly critiques of assignment and project work will focus on new ways to talk about pictures, including deconstructing the formal elements of composition and locating the keys to the photographer’s authentic voice. The format combines the already strong technical skills from Year One with an exploration of visual creativity and powerful story telling.

This Term 1 course is required for Documentary majors.

Documentary I: Evolution of the Documentary Project | 5 units

In this course, students continue the long-term projects started in the previous term. Regular analysis of classic and modern documentary photography projects help students gain a mature understanding of the field and provides additional perspective on the evolution of their own documentary projects. Course discussions address developing personal style and vision, the elements of editing and the concept of process. The centerpiece of this course is the weekly review and critique of each student’s individual work.

Documentary III: The Documentary Portfolio | 5 units

Students in this course will continue to work on the long-term documentary projects started in the previous two terms, ultimately creating a final portfolio of images that tell a story from their unique point of view. Guest lectures and occasional field trips to view documentary exhibitions allow for additional exploration within the documentary field. Weekly discussions will address legal issues, ethics, marketing and presentation as students work towards the completion of their final professional documentary portfolios.

Faculty Spotlight

Michael Hintlian

Michael Hintlian is a full-time documentary photographer based in Boston. His work has appeared in major U.S. dailies and international periodicals, and has been widely exhibited and collected. Hintlian received his B.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University and his M.B.A. from Cornell University.  His photo-documentary of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project in Boston (the Big Dig) titled Digging:  The Workers of Boston’s Big Dig (Commonwealth Editions) was published in 2004.  He is currently at work on major projects in the United States and travels extensively.  Hintlian has served on the faculties of The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The New School for Social Research and Parsons School of Design, New York.  Currently, he teaches Documentary Photography at New England School of Photography in Boston.  A challenging instructor, his students have gone on to win prestigious awards including participation in the Eddie Adams Workshop.  Michael is a photographer with a lifelong commitment to the medium. To see Michael's work, go to: