Image Text M.F.A. Virtual Information Sessions

A person wearing a blue suit jacket pointing at prints laying on a table.
Three people sitting on the ground examining a book while others look on in the background.
People gathered around various tables examining different artist books in a large barn.
Two people having a conversation while sitting a table with a laptop on it.
Two women, one standing the other kneeling, examining various books on the ground while in a tree porch.
Six people outside a building in a city standing next to a ladder.
Two people kneeling on the ground working on a book project.
Three people working close together to put a book project together.
Two people looking at a large printer that is printing various artwork.
One person staring at a screen wearing headphones in front of a keyboard at a table.
A woman sitting next to a man laying down while examining a photo.


Cornell University's low-residency Image Text M.F.A. is a unique program focused on the intersection of writing and visual art.

Learn about the new Image Text M.F.A. at Cornell University. Applications are now being accepted for the initial cohort to begin summer 2023. Directors Nicholas Mueller and Catherine Taylor, along with former faculty Tonya Foster, Bruno Ceschel, Lucas Blalock and Elana Schlenker and alumni Carla Liesching and Kelsey Sucena, will give a short presentation of the goals and structure of the program followed by a Q and A session. 

We welcome applicants with backgrounds in writing, photography, film/video, digital and studio arts practices, and artists working across these forms and disciplines. Experience in both text and image-making is not required, but applicants must submit a portfolio that demonstrates sustained work in at least one of these areas, if not both.

Students in our exploratory, flexible, and innovative program will work directly with faculty and visiting artists during three annual month-long summer sessions in Ithaca, New York, and during two annual week-long winter sessions.


Current and Former Faculty and Alumni

Nicholas Muellner

Senior Lecturer; Codirector, M.F.A. in Image Text and ITI Press

Nicholas Muellner is a Los Angeles-based artist and writer. His five published books include Lacuna Park: Essays and Other Adventures in Photography, The Amnesia Pavilions, and In Most Tides an Island, which was shortlisted for the Aperture/Paris Photo Photobook Award and selected as an outstanding book of the year by Artforum. In addition to solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, his writings have been published by MACK, Aperture, Radius, Triple Canopy, Routledge, and others. Muellner has performed slide lectures internationally, including at MoMA P.S.1, the Carnegie Museum, The Photographers Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. His work has been supported by the 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography, the John Gutmann Fellowship, and residencies at the MacDowell and Yaddo Colonies, among others. Muellner received a B.A. in comparative literature from Yale University and an M.F.A. from Temple University. He is a founding codirector of the Image Text M.F.A. and ITI Press.

Catherine Taylor

Senior Lecturer; Codirector, M.F.A. in Image Text and ITI Press

Catherine Taylor is the author of Image Text Music, a collection of essays on visual culture; You, Me, and the Violence; and Apart, a mixed-genre memoir and political history that combines prose, poetry, cultural theory, and found texts from South African archives. Her first book, Giving Birth: A Journey Into the World of Mothers and Midwives (Penguin Putnam), won the Lamaze International Birth Advocate Award. Her essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in the Seneca Review, The Colorado Review, Witness, The Believer, and elsewhere, and she is a founding editor of Essay Press, an independent press dedicated to publishing innovative essays in book form. Taylor was a cofounder and producer of The Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and she has received residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, Djerassi, the Millay Colony, and others. Taylor received her Ph.D. from Duke University. Taylor is a founding codirector of the Image Text M.F.A. and ITI Press.

Tonya M. Foster is a poet, essayist, and Black feminist scholar. She is the author of multiple literary works, was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, and is a recipient of a Creative Capital fellowship. Foster serves as the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Poetry at San Francisco State University.

Bruno Ceschel is the founder and director of Self Publish, Be Happy and a visiting lecturer at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, and École cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL). His latest book Self Publish, Be Happy: A DIY Photobook Manual and Manifesto was published by Aperture. Ceschel gives lectures and workshops internationally and also consults for leading companies interested in contemporary photography.

Lucas Blalock is a Brooklyn-based photographer whose work is in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, Hammer Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. He and his art have been profiled in publications including Arforum, The New York Times, New Yorker, Art in America, Brooklyn Rail, BOMB Magazine, W Magazine, British Journal of Photography, and Time. He is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Bard College.

Kelsey Sucena (she/they) is a trans*/nonbinary photographer and writer. Their work rests at the intersection of photography and text, often within the bodies of performative slideshows and photo-text-books. It is centered broadly upon the United States as a site for anti-capitalist, queer, and critical reflection. Sucena is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography at Alfred University, an M.F.A. graduate from Image Text Ithaca (2020), Managing Editor of The Photocaptionist, and a freelance writer/editor with contributions to Float Photo Magazine, Rocket Science, Aperture, and 10x10 Photobooks

Elana Schlenker is an art director and graphic designer. Through her independent studio practice, she creates visual identities, books and publications, interactive projects, and environmental graphics. Schlenker worked as an art director at Condé Nast and senior designer at Princeton Architectural Press. She publishes Gratuitous Type, an occasional pamphlet of typographic smut, and is the creator of Less Than 100, a traveling pop-up shop for gender wage parity. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Silver Eye Center for Photography.

Carla Liesching is an interdisciplinary artist working across photography, writing, collage, sculpture, bookmaking, and design. Liesching's ongoing project, Good Hope, was published by MACK in November 2021 and was shortlisted for the 2022 Aperture Paris Photo First Book Award and the Arles 2022 Prix du Livre in the Photo-Text Category. An excerpt from Good Hope is also featured in On Whiteness by SPBH Editions. Liesching was a 2021 winner of the Open Walls competition at the 2021 and 2022 Rencontres d'Arles, a 2021 Light Work Grant recipient, and the 2022 recipient of the Silver Eye Fellowship. She was recently named a 2022 Foam Talent, with upcoming exhibitions at Foam Museum in Amsterdam, the Deutsche Börse Foundation in Frankfurt, and a solo exhibition at PhMuseum in Bologna, Italy. She is a Visiting Critic at Cornell University and teaches at Ithaca College and the International Center of Photography.

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