Photos in the spotlight

Dakota College at Bottineau will be launching a one-of-a-kind photography program this fall.

Clint Saunders said he plans to concentrate on all aspects of photography, including landscapes, photo journalism, commercial photography and portrait photography. Students will take 10 classes on photography. One class will focus on the ins and outs of running a photography studio and students will have to complete a business plan.

“At the end of the year, they’ll be fully qualified to start a new career in photography,” said Saunders.

Students who enroll in the program will be able to pursue either a one-year certificate program or a two-year associate degree in arts, said Saunders, a professional photographer who will head up the program.

“My goal for 14 years has been to teach photography full time,” said Saunders. “I wanted to combine my passions.”

He ran his own photography studio in North Dakota at one time. His work is included in a coffee table book featuring photos of the North Dakota landscape called “Obsessed with North Dakota.” The book is available at book sellers and at smaller stores throughout North Dakota.

He has lived in Wyoming for the past four years and has taught college courses in an adjunct position, but is looking forward to beginning his first full-time faculty position at Dakota College at Bottineau.

Saunders earned a masters in fine arts from the Academy of Art University San Francisco. Aside from his passion for creating fine art images, he has also worked as a professional photographer for the past 14 years. His photos have won numerous local, national and international awards and been published internationally in magazines such as B&W Photo and COLOR Magazine. His work has also appeared in multiple coffee table books, magazines and area publications. Along with his publications, he has a growing national exhibition record including juried art shows, galleries, museums, private collections and purchased public art, according to his biography.

Saunders said there is a strong interest in the photography program, which will be the only one of its kind in North Dakota and only one of a handful offered in the U.S. Recruiters surveyed 1,600 prospective students and 264 of them expressed an interest in the photography program. The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved the program last month.

“I think it’s an exciting program,” said Saunders. “I think the kids are going to be very excited by it.”

Saunders said there is also still a market for photographers, so graduates will be able to work in the field.

In North Dakota, professional photographers are often called upon to take senior graduation pictures as well as to do wedding and family portraits. Saunders said senior portraits are more popular in North Dakota than in Wyoming. When he was a photographer in North Dakota, he once did a 12-hour photo shoot for a senior portrait. Saunders also said commercial photography is still in demand.

Students in his class will have an opportunity to photograph the beautiful landscape around Bottineau and Lake Metigoshe.

“You can’t beat that for landscape photography,” said Saunders.

For more information about the program, contact Dakota College at Bottineau.