Thomas Santelli

Professor of Art


M.F.A.Fine Art Photography/Photography History and AestheticsRochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
B.F.A DrawingPratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York

Professional Experience

My teaching experience began in 1987 as a Research Assistant for Dr. Richard Zakia, and
a Teaching Assistant for Ken White, Chairs of the Fine Art Photography Department at R.I.T.

I have taught numerous undergraduate and graduate photography courses at the Center for Art and Design at the College of Saint Rose since 1990. This tenure includes Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced studio courses; as well as three Faculty Led Programs (FLP’s): “Listen With Your Eyes” The Photographic Sensibility of Ecuador (and Latin America) in 2015; La Luz de la Cuba”, The Light of Cuba in 2017; and “The Land of Fire and Ice”, Photography in Iceland in 2019.

I have also taught two week sessions of black and white film photography (or foundation drawing) courses for the College of Saint Rose Summer Visual Art Pre-College Experience for interested high school students (2011 – 2015, 2017 and 2018).

Teaching Interests

“Don’t be afraid of mistakes, there are no mistakes”.    Miles Davis
As a young person I always doodled. As I grew older my obsessive doodling became drawings (more sophisticated “marks on paper”). These images connected me to the world around me both as I saw it or how I wanted it to be. This process initially informed my interests in making images, especially when I began to realize the images I produced could raise questions in the viewer’s mind or possibly suggest a story or narrative. Images grab my attention, engage my curiosity, and spark my imagination. Currently, however, only photographic images have the alchemy and mysterious power to move me on a deeply emotional level. This aesthetic is one I strive to convey in all of my classes.

I enjoy the challenge and creative stimulation of working with students to bring out what interests they have and what motivates their unique exploration of creativity, with an emphasis on critical thinking, visual problem solving, experimentation and taking risks.

Photography courses taught:

ART 232: Introduction to Black and White Film Photography; ART 233: Color Photography; ART: 333/334 Photo Imaging I/II; ART 432/439/440: Advanced Photography I, II, III;
ART 570 – 574 Graduate Photography.

Research/Creative Works

My creative work falls into two categories: gallery exhibition and book publishing. Some highlights from my extensive exhibition list include: Wellington B. Gray Gallery, Greenville, NC; George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, Joplin MO; Kirkland Art Center, Clinton, NY; Silvermine Galleries, New Canaan CT; New Image Gallery, Harrisonburg, VA; and South Street Seaport Museum, New York City, NY.

I currently have photographic work in the permanent collections of:
The Albany Institute of History and Art, The Photography Center of the Capital District, The Center for Photography in Woodstock, and The Wallace Memorial Library at R. I. T.

Currently two bodies of my photographic work are being considered for book publication:
Cartes and Ink.