Work by Jonathan Molina-Garcia
Work by Jonathan Molina-Garcia
Photography and Media is dedicated to image-makers and artists interested in developing their work, engaging in critical conversations in relation to how images shape contemporary culture, and building technical and formal skills with which to expand the possibilities of lens-based work.

With its roots in still photography, the BFA and MFA tracks support students in a broad range of media and approaches, including still and moving images, installation, new media, sound, performance, and publication. All grounded in conversations about the histories of photography and media, the politics of representation, the changing role of cameras and photography in our daily lives, social documentary and activism.

Faculty represents a broad range of these practices within their own work, including analog and digital photography, moving image and installation, writing and publishing, painting and social practice, working between the contexts of museums and galleries, documentary, art criticism, and community and grassroots venues.


Alumni of the program are most directly prepared to work as artists, leading successful careers in the worlds of contemporary art, photography, and filmmaking. However, the ways in which each graduate chooses to apply their skills, knowledge, and critical thinking abilities in the world allows for varied career paths, including: fine artists/photographers/filmmakers, documentarians, educators, editorial and commercial photographers, writers and art critics, journalists, curators, museum administrators, designers, publishers, and entrepreneurs whose businesses include photographic and film production companies, art galleries, photography labs, and fine-art finishing and handling services.

Program Gallery

Program Faculty

California Institute of the Arts

Art School Project Archive

Check out our students’ final projects on the official Project Archive website

Alumni Story

Catherine Rockhold
Catherine Rockhold BFA 14 Graphic Designer for Sotheby’s

I started working with photography when I was 12 or 13. I used photography and Photoshop as a way to create scenes and stories with found images, working with landscapes, animals, and beautiful colors. After visiting CalArts, it was initially the community that attracted me. I majored in photography, which is my medium of choice; though I still had the option of taking classes in other programs. I loved having the ability to expand my artistic knowledge–I take classes in film, both in production and history, animation, and graphic design. I am also a math and science minor, so I also take a lot of those classes in the School of Critical Studies. They proved extremely useful in my picture- making process because my art includes aspects of structure, research, and science.

When I came to CalArts, I had little or no confidence in my work. My photographs were based only on aesthetics; they didn’t have any concrete ideas behind them or any deeper meaning. CalArts taught me that it’s not important to make pretty pictures to be published in magazines; rather, it’s important to have a concept and to build a relationship with a piece of art. Now every photograph I take has a purpose. The last two years at CalArts I’ve worked on what would become my thesis–a documentation of my younger brother and his peers as they attend the Naval Academy. I researched the Academy by taking photographs, reading about the school, and interviewing people. I made portraits of many of the midshipmen, which I hope are raw, honest and truthful representations of who they are. The portraits, coupled with text that the Midshipmen wrote themselves, allowed the audience to grasp a deeper understanding about the experience of attending the Naval Academy.

Related Programs

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