VMA department offers free film for photo students

For the first time, the visual and media arts department is offering free film rolls to students. Photo: Lala Thaddeus / Beacon Staff

Students enrolled in photography classes received free film rolls at the start of this semester to help offset costs for assignments.

The visual and media arts department began providing six photo-film rolls to every student in one of the nine photo classes, including Introduction to Photography and Darkroom Photography. The type of photo film provided varies depending on the class requirement.

Students are still required to pay for other class fees like cameras, developing paper, and extra film.

For her Introduction to Photography class last year, junior communication studies major Amelia Wright went through 20 rolls of 35-millimeter black-and-white film.

Black-and-white photo-film rolls cost around $6 each on bhphotovideo.com, the same website the VMA department buys its film from.

[The film rolls] are not enough for the entire class, but we try to help defray the cost of film and processing for students,” Brooke Knight, chair of the VMA department said.

In previous years, the department provided each student enrolled in Film 1 or 2 with two rolls of motion picture film.

Photography professors Lauren Shaw and Camilo Ramirez wanted film for their students too.

“[The VMA department] was very cooperative,” Shaw said. “If film students received film rolls by the department, why couldn’t photo students get it too? It’s a no brainer.”

It took a year of planning in order to provide photo film for the photography classes, Delaney said. While the department gave students some film at the end of last semester, this is the first semester they are distributing the film consistently throughout the classes.

“There are additional costs, and students understand this when they enroll. That has always been the case for all the years I have been there,” Shaw said.

The money for the film rolls comes directly from the VMA Department budget.

Already, $8,000-$10,000 is set aside for students in the Film 1 and 2 courses. The department plans to spend $5,000-$6,000 on photo film yearly, according to James Delaney, the department’s budgets and operations manager. The final cost cannot be determined until all the orders are complete.

“If you require something for the class, you should definitely make the effort to provide people with the means to complete projects,” Wright said. “They should have been doing that the whole time, it would’ve been very helpful.”

Editor-in-chief Allison Hagan did not edit this article due to a conflict of interest.

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