Meet Tammy Rae Carland

Our Photography Program at CCA is embedded in a contemporary vibrant and historically significant photo community in the Bay Area. The program has strong relationships with local museums, galleries, publishers, studios, and artists.

We take a broad-based approach to photographic education, engaging students in the most contemporary practices as well as in the traditions and historical structures from which those practices have evolved.

Our curriculum provides a strong technical foundation that covers both analog and digital practices and simultaneously focuses on the critical and theoretical skill building necessary to pursue a career as an exhibiting artist and to work in photography-related professions.


My education was rooted in interdisciplinary scholarship with an emphasis on cultural studies, photography, experimental narrative video work, and small-press publications. I received a bachelor of arts from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, in 1991; a master of fine arts from the University of California, Irvine in 1994; and I completed the Whitney Independent Study Program in 1995.

While an undergraduate I cofounded and ran a nonprofit artist space called Reko Muse Gallery, which was committed to exhibitions, music, performance, and community building.

After graduate school I started and ran an independent record label and video art distribution company called Mr. Lady Records and Videos.

My studio practice incorporates photography (both narrative and conceptual), video, sculpture, and mixed media. I regularly exhibit internationally as well guest edit and write for art and photography publications such as Capricious and Exposure.

These endeavors have taught me a lot about collaborative leadership, cultural production, creative entrepreneurship, and the on-going process of building sustainable studio practices.

Faculty Community

I joined CCA’s faculty in the fall of 2002 after teaching at both a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and at a large research university in the South. I began my career at CCA teaching in both the undergraduate Photography Program and the Graduate Program in Fine Arts.

I began to co-chair the Photography Program in the fall of 2007 and became chair in 2008. I continue to teach at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

I was fortunate to begin my leadership in the program following my diligent and dedicated predecessors Susan Ciriclio and Larry Sultan, both of whom have contributed greatly to the ongoing success of our program and its alumni.

I have been mentored by the senior faculty in the Photography Program and have had the great pleasure of learning with them and from them.

Our program has a dedicated pool of faculty who all contribute to the development of the curriculum, facilities, and program community, while maintaining innovative and inspiring creative practices that are based in art exhibition, commercial and journalistic pursuits, academic publishing, and community-involved, project-based works.

(Please see the Photography faculty profiles to learn more about each of them.)

Photography Curriculum & Facilities

As a program we believe in the value of an art education. To learn a period of history through its aesthetic movements and cultural discourses and to learn a language that is visualized rather than spoken are skills that resonate well beyond a profession in the arts.

These are skills that give one the capacity to be socially aware, become an independent creative thinker, and develop the foundation for an innovative career and successful leadership.

The Photography Program boasts a dynamic fine art–based curriculum. We are committed to introducing and building both digital and analog technical skills from the beginning of the curriculum, while simultaneously incorporating media history, critical engagement, and the development of personal vision.

Critical engagement is embedded in the medium of photography due to its cultural impact in the commercial, media, and domestic spheres.

Photography is the site of discourse around some of our culture’s major modern inquiries into representation, identity, and social awareness; this makes for a lively curriculum -- one that is committed to dialogue, debate, and the examination of meaning.

The program’s Tools courses introduce a range of media and technology that encompasses digital and analog capture and output as well as studio and field practices. We teach film and digital exposure, lighting, all camera formats, film scanning, and digital-file preparation as well as fine printing.

We maintain an analog black-and-white lab and have introduced brand-new digital facilities. We are committed to following the industry standards for photographic media, while simultaneously considering the creative trajectories of the photo-based artist, which sometimes are at odds with the direction of the commercial production of photography resources.

The Photography Program has well maintained and continuously evolving facilities and equipment that are available to all students enrolled in our courses.

Bay Area Photography & Art

The Bay Area hosts a lively photography community with a long history rooted in academic, exhibition, and independent institutions. Institutions such as SF Camerawork, Photo Alliance, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Pier 24 Photography offer extensive and diverse programming that includes exhibitions, lectures, and workshops that the Photography Program faculty regularly incorporates into its courses.

Many local fine arts galleries also exist that show emerging and established fine art photographers. We tap into all of these resources in building our robust visiting artist Photography Lecture Series, in which we invite approximately six artists each semester to lecture.

We have also cultivated a variety of internship opportunities for our students with industry magazines, newspapers, museums, galleries, and private collections as well as with both commercial and fine art photographers in their studios.

Our program is committed to giving students support, knowledge, and skills while they study at CCA and to continuing those relationships into the future.