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King University News :: King Offers New Photography Degree

King College now has more cameras clicking around campus, due in part to the College's newest Performing Visual Arts degree program, photography.  This fall marked the beginning of the program that will not only teach students the fine art of photography, but will also combine elements of digital media, videography, and web design as well.


The director of the photography program is Chris Stewart.  He is joined by Iowa native, Tammy Mercure, assistant professor of photography.

Stewart received his undergraduate degree in photography from Virginia Intermont College, and his Master of Education degree from Virginia Tech in instructional technology.  Mercure received her Bachelor of Arts in photography from Columbia College in Chicago, and her Master of Fine Arts in photography from ETSU.

The opportunity to start a program fresh from scratch in this era of photography is especially exciting, said Stewart.  Although many programs see the idea of photography as one of only still images, the photography program here at King has embraced the an ultramodern idea of the artistic medium.  The future of photography is more than the still image.  The photographer of today will need to embrace other expressive avenues such as web design, videography, as well as the art of self-promotion through marketing.  With this philosophy as the foundation, we will be able to build a program that is flexible and will allow for those kinds of changes.

Photography students will be required to use Macintosh laptops, computers specifically geared to work well with design elements.  The Mac laptops are something that will make a big difference within the degrees curriculum and for the students in the field, said Stewart.  Throughout the program students may need other pieces of equipment.  However, to start with, we will teach them how to make do with what they have - anything from a $200 camera to a $2000 camera.

The career opportunities students will have are endless, said Mercure.  In addition to the many avenues photography can take an artist, from magazine, sports, travel, or even forensic photography.  Students will be able to choose from other related career paths such as photojournalism, advertising, graphic design, and many others.

Chad Thompson, one of the students taking advantage of this new program, dabbled in computer programming, web design, and several other degree options before settling on photography.  Chad's a fast learner, said Mercure.  He has embraced all of the things that make this new photography program great including the fact that you can take photography to a lot different areas from creating videos to web design.

I believe I will be able to hone my skills and learn more advanced techniques through this program, said Thompson.  King offers a lot more 'know how' on multiple realms of media rather than a narrowed path of still images only.  You learn more and with a high amount of precision.  There is a family atmosphere with collaboration - sharing of ideas.  King's program allows you to be versatile.

Students will learn that photography is not just a pretty picture or just a commercial image, but there should be some intent or purpose to their work, whether telling a story, or sharing a core piece of themselves.  When the student finds the purpose behind their work, it gives them an investment in the medium and the work, and gives them a connection they can have with the viewer, said Stewart.  It's really all about making powerful images that communicate.

For more information on the photography program, contact King's Office of Admissions at 800.362.0014 or visit