The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Niagara College’s Digital Photography program has decided to donate their annual hardcover photography books that showcase and document all students’ work throughout the program, to the college’s libraries.
“I believe we’re the only program, probably in the province, that does something like this,” says Stephen Dominick, Digital Photography professor at Niagara College. “This is like a high-end, hardcover, almost like an annual yearbook that’s produced every single year.”
Dominick explains that these annual books include a message from the professors, it shows sponsors of the program and every student in the program gets one full page in the book that consist of two of their own photographs plus their headshot.
“We are donating a set of five books that exists right now and then every subsequent book that is produced will be donated to NC libraries.”
When explaining a little bit about the books and why they are important, Dominick says that they showcase a lot of continuity. The front cover is always done as a self-portrait that is done by a second-year student whereas the back cover is always the work of a first-year student.
“It’s a tangible piece of art, not a JPEG that can go poof and disappear,” says Dominick.
According to the Niagara College website, the Digital Photography program is an intensive two-year program designed to help train the student’s artistic eye, master digital imaging technologies, develop an individual style and create a cutting-edge portfolio. A strong hands-on approach is emphasized to help define specific career-relevant skills training in portrait, commercial, advertising and event photography, including photojournalism.
Dominick became interested in becoming a photographer when he was studying to become an architect and realized at that time that it wasn’t plausible to become an architect (in the early 80s). He decided to change things up and turn his focus to photography, which ultimately led to him deciding to teach at the college level.
“I was inspired by a graphic arts prof that took my (continuing education) course at Brock. He loved it so much, he asked me why I wasn’t teaching here (at Niagara),” says Dominick. “I said there was no program and he said why don’t you write one? So I did.”
The students in the digital photography program have won a variety of different awards over the years. The two categories of awards are the Emerging Media Arts Awards and the Applied Arts Awards. The majority were won in 2015 with a few being won this year, 2016.
“The bigger significance (to me) is that we have created a book that now has a very large following,” says Dominick. “This book, last year, was given as a gift by Dan Patterson to the U.S. ambassador to Canada.”
For more information on the program or to see what kind of work the digital photography students have produced, visit ncdigitalphotography.com.