New Photography Course Planned for Florence

The Kent State University College of Communication and Information plans to offer a new architecture photography course in Florence, Italy, this summer as part of the university’s Florence Summer Institute.

The class, entitled “Examining Florentine Architecture Through Photography,” will be taught by School of Visual Communication Design Assistant Professor Tim Bell. Bell earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Architecture at Columbia University in New York.

“I’m a professor of photography, but my academic training is in architecture,” Bell said. “I have two degrees in architecture. I trained as a photographer and practiced for 25 years, and I continue to practice.”

The four-week course, taught June 1 – July 1, will allow students to examine Florentine architecture through lectures, research,  in-class work and independent exploration.

“Architecture is a three-dimensional discipline. Think of a building,” Bell said. “It’s often created two-dimensionally in drawings, but expressed three-dimensionally. Photography is created and expressed two-dimensionally, so how do you express the three-dimensionality of your subject within your two-dimensional form? One method is through the passing of light and color, and the way light falls, and what happens to that light once it falls on architecture. With one image, you can get a sense of the three-dimensionality of the place you are looking at, expressed two-dimensionally on an image plane.”

Bell said the first week of the course will give the students an in-depth look at various architecture styles from different time periods.

“Florence has examples of architecture that date back to Biblical times,” Bell said. “It’s an old, old city that really blossomed in the Renaissance. The Renaissance with architecture is somewhat like Impressionism with painting; it’s low-hanging fruit. Who doesn’t like Renaissance architecture?”

Bell said he hopes students take advantage of programs like the Florence Summer Institute, as these programs allow students improve their portfolios.

“I’d like to see students go over there and have their worlds changed,” Bell said. “Say, ‘I found something I can be really, really passionate about because I had this kind of table to explore things on; things were put in front of me on this table that I can really see.’ […] Everything is new. Everything is different. You’re shook to your core, and that’s when you discover things about yourself.”

“Examining Florentine Architecture Through Photography” is one of two new courses planned for Florence. School of Communication Studies Professor Paul Haridakis, Ph.D., and School of Journalism and Mass Communication Assistant Professor Stephanie Smith will also teach “Communication and Terrorism” this summer.

For more information and to register for the Florence Summer Institute, visit

POSTED: Monday, January 23, 2017 - 2:06pm
UPDATED: Monday, January 23, 2017 - 2:07pm