Photography: About

In the last  five decades, the Photography Department at Bezalel has established itself as the most prominent and prestigious photography department in the Middle East, with over 175 students. The department’s geopolitical location in Jerusalem, combined with the fact that it is an integral part of Israel’s leading arts and design institute, have positioned it as a significant and prominent component of the local and international photography field. Graduates of the department include some of the most influential  contemporary photographers, individuals who are working internationally in areas including photography, new media, the moving image, and video art.

The department’s educational program integrates both technological studies covering a range of visual practices, and theoretical studies focusing on historical and conceptual understandings of photography and moving image. During the four year program, students gain expertise in all aspects of photography and develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Since the significance of photography is defined by the cultural framework in which it is created, the educational program also includes  courses that focus on the complex social and political environment of the Middle East.
The department offers its students full academic freedom with a wide range of possible directions for activity, thought and creation. The rich spectrum of courses encourages students to develop a knowledge of work methods that help them gain technical skills, while the curriculum is designed to give students an opportunity to study both theoretical and practical concepts. The department exposes students to criticism, studio work, and lighting. It provides them with the experience of working with exhibitions in the department’s gallery, offers supervised work in the field, encourages historical research, and introduces them to online platforms for sharing visual information. In addition, it allows them to establish connections with professionals in the local and international photography field.
Photography is currently having a global renaissance, with a degree of growth and development that is unusual in its magnitude. Cameras takes central stage as a tool we use in the cultural, academic, scientific, political and social arenas. At a time in which the international art field is showing increased sensitivity to local context, the potential to create and innovate in the field of visual culture lies in maximally exploiting the dynamic advantages of a place; and the department of photography at Bezalel is offering a push toward creative action and thought ─ from Jerusalem.

David Adika, Head of the Photography Department

Program of Studies

The educational program of the Photography Department at Bezalel is within the framework of a four year course of study toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. The rich, educational program provides a technical and professional foundation in photography, video, sound, the moving image and computerized imaging. It also offers students an in-depth, conceptual basis, which provides the foundation that allows students to then pursue various applications in areas related to photography and visual media, after they complete the program. 

The department’s teaching staff includes the best photographers, researchers and curators of photography in Israel, in addition to guest lecturers from international institutions The department provides students with a wide array of equipment and the conditions that are necessary for their work, including digital and analog cameras of different types, high definition video cameras, lighting, camera flashes, an extensive computer lab, dozens of printers, studios that are equipped with the necessary accessories and professional darkrooms.

 Annual Subject

In the 2014-2015 academic year, the Photography Department Bezalel will address the theme of the "missing image" in a series of workshops, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions in the department's Photography Gallery. Read more


Student Exchange Program

The department encourages a considerable percentage of its students to participate in student exchange programs overseas, during the third year of studies, in programs at the best universities. Partial list of the institutions

The educational program

The educational program, which involves four years of study, is divided into three primary and integrated types of courses, described below: technical (practice), visual (display) and conceptual (theory).
Practice: Practical courses in the field of analog and digital photography and the moving image, which focus on acquiring technical skills; mastering new, digital technologies; editing videos; controlling sound; using online platforms; and more.
Display: Courses that are based on workshops, in which students present their work and gain experience with constructive criticism. The workshops involve a wide range of photography techniques and deepen the students’ analytical skills, as relate to topics connected to each course.
Theory: Courses about the history and theory of photography, which are run in cooperation with Bezalel’s History and Theory Department.
The first two years are dedicated to the core curriculum (required courses), in which technical, practical, theoretical and content skills are acquired in the areas of photography, digital media, new media, video and more. Learning takes place in a structured and guided environment, with exercises and projects, both during the class and in the student’s free time.
The framework of studies in the third and fourth year are geared toward advanced studies (optional courses). Schedules are designed individually by each of the students, who receive direct support from the department’s teaching staff ─ such that the students’ schedules are expected to reflect their personal interests. This structure allows students to design, define and focus their studies by means of original activity and work. The fourth year is primarily dedicated to the final project. The final project includes a written paper, reflecting the ability to conduct independent, in-depth research on a subjects of the student’s choice. Upon completing the final project, students are required to choose selected pieces of their work to present at the end-of-year exhibition.
The program requires participation in all of the required courses and in a limited number of optional courses that are presented in the educational program. A week of study includes approximately thirty academic hours, in addition to independent work in the workshops or outside of the Academy. During the first years of study, a foundation is built upon which, in the later years, the students’ personal choices, research and creativity develop, and on which the individual’s final project is based at the end of the program.

Detailed Information Regarding Each Year of Study :

Year 1:
This year is devoted to gaining a basic knowledge of different mediums and a general background; to obtaining practical, technical skills; and to developing good work habits. An emphasis is placed on encouraging self-motivation and initiative, and discipline for independent work. Students are encouraged to explore inter-disciplinary solutions, as much as possible, to challenges and exercises. They are expected to develop capabilities of improvisation and abstract thought, and to learn how to develop critical skills
Year 1 Advisory Committee: Toward the middle of the second semester, the year 1 advisory committees take place with the participation of the students and the teachers who teach the class. Each student presents to the committee all of the work that he or she submitted in workshops. The goal of the committee is to assess the progress and development of each student, provide feedback and share impressions of the student’s work.

Year 2:
This year is dedicated to gaining a deeper understanding, knowledge and skill of photography, and widening the students’ engagement with different areas within the fields of photography, videography and computing. The goal is to provide students with the knowledge that will enable them to gain experience in different fields.
Week for Submissions and Departmental Critiques: Submissions and critiques for second year students take place in the third week of June. Students are expected to present a complete and well-formulated exhibition, which is not necessarily the result of work in a specific class. A discussion is held about the exhibition and a critique is given, with the participation of second year lecturers.

Year 3:
The program of studies encourages individual choices and initiatives, and allows students to progress in areas that match their capabilities and philosophies. In this year, students have the option of creating a schedule that consists of both required and optional classes in the photography department.
Submissions for Departmental Critiques: In the last two weeks of June, students submit their work for third year submissions and critiques. Students are expected to present a complete and well-formulated exhibition. A discussion is held about the exhibition and a critique is given, with the participation of department lecturers of all three years.
The Department’s Required Workshops and Optional Courses: In the third year, students must take a required course called interdisciplinary photography for 4 credits and an interdepartmental or multi-departmental course, during each semester ─ the courses that take place on Wednesday afternoons. Students must select optional courses in the department, for up to 14 credits; or they can take courses that are up to 10 credits within the department, and 4 credits from other departments in the Academy.

Year 4:
The fourth year is dedicated primarily to the work for the final project. During the year, each student is able to explore an area and topic of his or her choice, to investigate it, gain a deep knowledge of it and develop it into a coherent body of work. The fourth year is preparation for leaving the formal framework of studies, and this is expressed in independent work, and in students taking responsibility for the processes of research and work: planning the work; finding sources; identifying solutions; obtaining assistance and asking advice; reaching conclusions; finishing the processes of implementation; collecting formalistic and expressive materials; and completing the communicative aspects of the final work. All of these elements should be expressed in the final exhibition, in which selected projects are displayed that are taken from the final project of each student.

Final Project:
The final project is meant to give expression to the knowledge that has been gained by the students during the years of studying for the degree, and to show the level of personal accomplishment of each student. As an integral part of the final project, each student will be required to submit a written paper at the end of the academic year. Guidance regarding the writing of the project, as relates to its structure, form, content, etc., is provided in a workshop dedicated to this subject.

Courses of the History and Theory Department:
In addition to the departmental program of studies, students are require to take 24 credits, within the framework of their theoretical studies, in the History and Theory Department. Click here to read about the History and Theory Department.

Detailed Curriculum and more information ( in hebrew)