Photography in Florence courses to be offered in Spring 2018

Students must apply by October 1, 2017

Telling visual stories in a global context. Visually expressing the everyday lives of a local community. Capturing a sense of place through European landscapes.

These are some of the objectives of CCI’s Photography in Florence program, a semester-long study-abroad opportunity in Florence, Italy, to be offered again in Spring 2018.  The program, which debuted last year, enables journalism students studying photography, photo-illustration majors, photojournalism and photo-illustration minors and CCI students of all disciplines to grow and refine their skills by experiencing the people, landscapes and photographic palettes of Florence and Western Europe. The program is also open to other Kent State students interested in photography and visual storytelling.

Students interested in studying in Florence this spring and participating in this program must apply by no later than October 1, 2017.

“Florence is alive with compelling visual stories and architecture that reflects the richness of Italian history,” said Amy Reynolds, Dean of CCI. “All students benefit from adding a global component to their portfolios and resumes. Florence serves as a portal for exploring many other destinations in Europe, which makes it a perfect place for students to produce a range of globally-focused, visual projects.”

The program consists of two courses that will be taught by instructors who live and teach in Florence and are fluent in the language, people, culture, architecture, transportation systems and neighborhoods of Florence. Students can take one or both of these courses:

  • CCI 40095 ST:  Documentary Storytelling.  Students will focus on photographic storytelling in an international setting and will explore and develop intimate stories with international impact. Throughout the course, students will be assigned to step off the street and enter the various local businesses, homes and places of worship to make pictures, overcome communication challenges and tell stories under the guidance of their local instructor, Cosimo Bargellini. This course can serve as a substitute for JMC Specialization Electives II for photography students and VCD 38011 Editorial Photography for photo-illustration majors. Students from other CCI majors should check with their advisors for possible course substitutions.
  • CCI 40095 ST:  Human Influence on Landscape.  Students will start the course by exploring Florence's architectural landscape:  A UNESCO World Heritage site compressed within 1st Century Roman walls that creates a photographic palette that can, at times, be overwhelming in its visual intensity but never dull. The task for students is to connect to what he/she experiences or feels, versus what is typically observed. As the course progresses, students will expand their personal studies:  Whether they are focusing on Florence, rural settings in Tuscany or other European cities from Berlin to London, a strong sense of place expressed through images will be paramount.  Local instructor Barbel Reinhard will lead students through this learning process. This course can serve as a substitute for JMC Specialization Electives II for photography students and VCD 48009 Fashion Photography, for photo-illustration majors. Students from other CCI majors should check with their advisors for possible course substitutions.  

Both courses have the same prerequisites:  JMC 22001 Photography  or VCD 18000 Photography or approval of CCI faculty members Dave Foster (JMC) or Tim Bell (VCD).  Both courses will be capped at 20 students.  And, once again this year, Wallace J. Hagedorn scholarships will be awarded to eligible JMC photography students and VCD photo-illustration majors; to qualify for Hagedorn scholarships, eligible students must express their intent to apply to the program via email to CCI advisor Sammi Antoine ( by no later than September 27, 2017.

Seeing the World from ‘Different Angles’

The 2018 program will incorporate feedback from last year’s Photography in Florence students, who suggested giving students the independence and flexibility to find the visual stories that intrigue and compel them, while also providing “on-ground” course leaders who can help them navigate the city, country, language and culture.

Journalism major Carrie George, a 2017 participant, believes the program contributed significantly to her professional development as a photographer. “Despite the growing pains that always come with new classes, the Photography in Florence program proved to be an excellent opportunity for my growth as a photographer and as a communicator. The courses brought me out of my comfort zone and forced me to interact with different people from different cultures. I saw the world from thousands of different angles, sometimes behind a lens and sometimes without a camera. I learned to balance living as an observer, taking photos as an invisible reporter and participating in a vibrant new world, pausing to put my camera down and take in my surroundings. My four months in Florence were some of my most important as a communication student. Not only did I become a more competent photographer, but I learned to be more confident in my abilities, more empathetic and patient with my subjects, and more perceptive to the wide world around me.”

Nile Vincz, a photo-illustration major, agrees that the Photography in Florence program was a profound growth experience. “Florence put me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. Being in an unfamiliar place surrounded by people who speak different languages often forced me to interact in ways I have not done before. All of the new places, cities and countries that I visited inspired me to explore and shoot as much as I could and that allowed me to create a portfolio unlike anyone else's.”

For more information on Florence study-abroad options, contact Stephanie Smith, CCI’s director of global initiatives, at or talk with a CCI advisor.

POSTED: Thursday, August 24, 2017 04:33 PM
UPDATED: Saturday, February 24, 2024 06:48 PM
Stephanie Danes Smith