MFA Overview

Photography and Film

Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


Please Invite Your Talented Students

VCUarts MFA Open House — October 7, 2017

We will be hosting an open house for prospective MFA students on October 7 from 12-3pm here in the Department of Photography and Film  at 325 North Harrison Street, Room 206., Box 843088, Richmond, VA 23284

If you are able to join us, please email me our Graduate Director Paul Thulin to make a reservation so we know to expect you for a tour and conversation with current graduate students: or 804-828-1695. Note that we will not be able to host your visit at any other time this Fall’17. You will be best served by planning to visit on this date. If you cannot, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have at

Open House Schedule

Coffee and Pastries

11 a.m.
Depot, 814 W. Broad St.


11:30 a.m.

Department Visits

12–2 p.m.
Please check departmental websites to see if RSVP is required and for additional information.

MFA Open Studios

2–3 p.m.




The Department of Photography and Film seeks graduate students whose work challenges the common definitions of photography, film, and video while maintaining the disciplinary integrity of traditional practice. The department works to advance the highest standards of photography and film by providing an artistic community for the development and exchange of progressive visual ideas.

MFA Degree Requirements
MFA Mission Statement


Recent Highlights and Facts:

  • Boston-born, Geneva-based artist Mark Boulos will join us in August of 2016 as a full-time faculty member, following his year long Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.   Mark’s solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 2012 described his documentary video installations as “Drawn to the extreme states of political militancy and religious ecstasy.”  In Mark’s own view, his works “oscillate between fiction and non-fiction, or between mythology and history.”
  • The latest in alumni achievements includes MFA Alumni Will May’s 2015-16 VMFA Fellowship; MFA Sarah Kaufman’s two person show Habitat at Porter/Contemporary Gallery in New York; Naoko Wowsugi’s exhibition Assignment: Happy Birthday at the Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, D.C.  MFA Cynthia Henebry has been photographing for The New York Times and had work included in “The Ones We Love”, a photography show at the Camden Image Gallery in London.  MFA alum Claire Krueger was featured in a video art show titled Cinema Killed The Video Star at Louisville Visual Arts in February.
  • Paul Thulin is one of the 50 Best Emerging Photographers for 2015, as voted by the international jury for the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards. Thulin was also one of eight “Juror’s Picks,” with Sacha Lecca, Deputy Photo Editor of Rolling Stone Magazine, writing,“Paul Thulin’s work of a generational home transported me.”
  • Chair Sasha Waters-Freyer‘s short experimental doc, A Partial History of the Natural World, 1965, has its international premiere at the WNDX Winnipeg Festival of the Moving Image in September.
  • MFA Alum Richard Robinson is a finalist for the National Portrait Gallery Outwin Boochever Portrait competition and will present a multi-media lecture on the relationship between James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and FSA photographer Arthur Rothstein at the regional Society for Photographic Education conference in Greenville, SC, in November.
  • In 2014/15 our grad students had the pleasure of being taught by affiliated faculty Hank Willis Thomas and Laurel Nakadate. Each artist visited campus multiple times during the year for individual studio visits as well as hosting the grads in NYC in the Fall and Spring.
  • Associate Professor Sonali Gulati, recipient of a 2015 VMFA Fellowship, premiered her new short film Big Time: My Doodled Diary locally at the James River Film Festival, and at several other festivals, including at the Diversity in Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France.
  • Assistant Professor Jon-Phillip Sheridawas included in the Anti-Grand: Contemporary Perspectives on Landscape exhibition at the Harnett Museum of Art at the University of Richmond. Jon landed the catalogue cover, and had a lively panel discussion with Ed Ayers and Rachael DeLue.  
  • Assistant Professor John Freyer for his work in the upcoming group show New Dominion at Mixed Greens Gallery in New York, curated by ICA Curator Lauren Ross.
  • Assistant Professor Mary Beth Reed’s abstract short film, After Creation, After Icebergs screens in mid-May at the prestigious Chicago Underground Film Festival.
  • MFA 2nd Yr Abbey Sarver‘s solo show in Philadelphia opens July 11th at Magic Pictures Gallery; MFA 2nd Yr Matthew Warren will have work included in the upcoming group show at Reynolds GalleryAlmost Famous, on view June 5-July 17, 2015.  Newly minted MFA Alum Tony Smith was awarded a $1,500 VCUarts Graduate Research Grant for his thesis exhibition at the Anderson Gallery that examines the virtual space of digital image-making software. Recent MFA Alum Josh Thorud presented his short video Eyes/Desires at the esteemed FLEXFest – Florida Experimental Film Festival – with the help of a VCUart Travel Grant.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked VCU School of the Arts 4th among public programs for photography and film.
  • Since 2010, VCU Photo & Film faculty, alumni and students have been awarded VMFA Fellowships: 15 Undergraduate awards, 1 Graduate award, and 5 Professional awards, totaling $131,000.



Thesis Exhibitions:

Click below to see thesis exhibitions for the 5 fine arts programs including Photography and Film