The Master of Fine Arts emphasis in Photography has been offered at UAF since 2008. The three-year program is a collaborative effort between the Art Department and Charles Mason, Professor of Photography in the Journalism Department. The degree draws from the rich field of contemporary art photography as a lens-based medium open to various expressive modes of image-making. Classes are structured around the production of cohesive photographic projects and exhibitions, editing, and final presentation. Darkroom, studio, and computer facilities are provided. Students receive technical instruction in digital and analog image production as well as non-silver and alternative photographic processes.
Charles Mason's photographs and photo essays have won numerous international, national and regional awards, including the Oskar Barnack Award at the World Press Photo Competition in Amsterdam and awards at the National Press Photographers Association's Pictures of the Year. His documentary and art photographs have been in many solo and juried shows throughout Alaska and in California, Illinois and Virginia.
Mason covers Alaska for the Corbis photo agency in New York/Seattle, and is represented by Tony Stone Images/Getty in Seattle/London. His work has appeared in LIFE, Time, Newsweek, Outside, Aperture, The New York Times and GEO. He also has published two children's books, including the award-winning A Child's Alaska. Other books include collaborations with writer Jennifer Brice (The Last Settlers, a black-and-white documentary project on the last federal homesteaders); writer Patti Clayton (Connection on the Ice, about the 1988 Barrow, Alaska, whale rescue); and writer Sherry Simpson (The Way Winter Comes, cover and illustrations).