Kris Sanford

Kris Sanford Faculty

High School
Associate professor
College of the Arts and Media
Art and Design

For Kris Sanford, teaching at CMU empowers her to help her students succeed. 

The nationally recognized photographer has been teaching at CMU for eight years.

The excitement of discovery energized her as a student and gets her fired up as an instructor. Witnessing the moments students find their inspiration and passion for photography is her favorite part of the job.

"Students are naturally interested in photography," she said. "How do we use that as the entry point to have deeper conversations about this tool? How do we start thinking critically about photographs in general?"

One way was through a course she designed and now teaches: The Self and Other in Photography.

The class uses photography to view how marginalized groups within United States and abroad have been historically represented or misrepresented and how contemporary artists and photographers make works to eliminate incorrect historical narratives.

"We want to talk not only about how we present ourselves, but how we look at other cultures through photography historically and how we can expose students to folks who are exploring identity through photography," Kris said.

Kris believes it's important for all students to see themselves reflected in the larger community, in the media and in the faculty that are teaching them. She shares a broad range of communities and individuals with her students through photography so students can see someone that they relate to.  

"It's important to share with students that they should embrace who they are with confidence and value," she said.