Is this Program Right for You?
TO APPLY TO THIS PROGRAM STUDENT MUST HAVE COMPLETED OR CURRENTLY BE TAKING COMM 330 PRINCIPLES OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
Delve into Central Europe's rich history and culture! For the Prague Photography program,students with prior experience in photography are invited to study the theory and practice of photography with an expert mentor while living in a city that radiates beauty and thrives in the arts. Students on this program take advantage of individualized instruction and a wide range of resources from the prestigious photo department of FAMU, the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, one of Europe's oldest and finest film academies.
AU Abroad works with the organization CET Academic Programs to administer the program on-site. The Photography program is designed for the academically serious student seeking a challenging experience abroad. Our dynamic local faculty engage students with in-depth lectures and assignments.
Students earn a full semester of American University credit. Photography in Prague courses are offered in association with FAMU, the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Students take three core courses at the CET center then round out their schedule with 2-4 elective courses in the photography department at FAMU. The curriculum provides an opportunity for students to expand their photography skills while learning about another culture.
All CET courses are taught specifically for CET students at their center located in the heart of downtown. Elective courses are taught at FAMU and are open to all international students taking courses at the Academy (most come from European countries). Some courses may not be offered during certain terms. The final selection of electives is determined by FAMU; students register for electives upon arrival in Prague.
View the Course Equivalency Database to find out which courses on this program have already been equated to AU courses. Please note that you are NOT limited to just these courses. Students will need to request equivalency for courses which have not been previously reviewed.
Czech Language (3 credits)
Students will participate in intensive Czech Language classes at the beginning of the term to introduce them to practical Czech and life in the Prague. Students will continue to study Czech throughout the term, in a course appropriate for their level . Students will be challenged to utilize their new language skills in everyday situations.
Fine Art Photography & Workshop (4 credits)
This course covers all forms of illustrative and self-expressive photography, from independent art to subjective or sociological documentary. Although the themes are essentially technical in nature, the course approaches them holistically, from philosophical, aesthetic and historical points of view. Each lecture starts with an analysis of images that represent previously-studied techniques. Some time is also devoted to a survey of works of Czech photographers and their relation to the movements in European/World photography.
The second part of each class (supervised lab time) comprises demonstrations and in-class assignments that help students improve not only their theoretical knowledge but also their practical skills. After basic skills are reviewed, the course leads students to an understanding of all kinds of photographic transformation: Pinhole camera, Changing of image tonality by dying and toning, Solarization, Kodalith, Cyanotype, Printing-out papers, Platinum and palladium print, Gumbichromate, as well as Color processing and printing. The course also aims to explain basic questions of light construction, especially for portrait and studio still life shooting. A special seminar is devoted to lighting.
Imagery, Ambiguity and Culture (3 credits)
This course explores how photography, by drawing the routes of modern imagery, has helped to shape modern culture, as well as how it bluffed history. These questions of ambiguity, which have risen to the surface of vast theoretical discussions in recent time thanks to digital manipulations, have surrounded photography since its discovery, although they were not so obvious even for theorists, art historians and philosophers. Simply: photography--and even more so film and video, the other modern mechanical media which arose after photography–has never been an absolutely accurate (exact, correct, true, veracious) record of reality, despite its complicated and timeconsuming ways of manipulation.
The course discusses the discrepancy in storytelling between "mirroring" reality and "creating" the reality which is to be represented. Students also explore the problems of the global flow of images in the postmodern era.
Finally, students examine how modern mechanical media can be understood as symbols of freedom, symbols of revolt against contemporary society's apparatuses, which robotize our beings.
See the CET website for more information about core courses.
Elective courses are taken in the FAMU Photography department. FAMU electives will change each semester; a final list of electives will be provided to students upon arrival in Prague.
For a list of potential elective courses see the FAMU website.
Life in Prague
Goethe proclaimed Prague to be "the most precious stone in the crown of the world." Prague stands at the crossroads of Europe, where east meets west and history meets today's post-communist era. Rivaling Paris as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague will invite you to wander through its fairytale-like cobblestone streets and take in a thousand years of architectural and artistic history.
The Photography program is hosted by FAMU and located in the historic center of Prague. FAMU has played an integral role in Czech cultural history for the last sixty years, fostering the New Wave of the 1960s and serving as a headquarters for the student-led Velvet Revolution that brought an end to communist rule in Czechoslovakia. The Academy of Performing Arts counts among its alumni such famous directors and writers as Jiri Menzel, Milan Kundera, Milos Forman, Vera Chytilova and Vaclav Havel, who continue to visit the school and lecture on an occasional basis. The presence of such luminaries in the film, television and performing arts industries at the school allows students on the Photography program an exclusive experience unequaled.
Housing and Meals
Lazansky Palace with a view of the Prague Castle. The neighborhood features excellent public transportation, countless restaurants and cafes, and numerous museums, movie theaters, and stores.
Students are housed with other CET program participants in apartments located in neighborhoods close to the center of Prague. Using public transportation, students can commute to the CET Center in about 15 minutes. When available, students share their apartment with Czech students, allowing for cross-cultural exchange and the development of international friendships. Each apartment is fully furnished, with a kitchen and a washing machine. Students are also supplied with bed linens.
Excursions and Activities
A wide variety of activities arranged by CET make Prague come alive. Activities are designed to provide opportunities that students would not normally have on their own. Such activities might come in the form of special tours, cultural events, film screenings, and social activities with Czech students.
Once a term, students depart Prague and venture on an overnight excursion together to Cesky Krumlov. This is a beautiful medieval/renaissance castle town on the Austrian border. The castles, deserted German villages and natural beauty of Cesky Krumlov's surrounding region give students a new perspective on Czech history and culture.