The St. Edward’s University Austin Documentary Photography Project was a partnership between St. Edward’s University and the Austin History Center. During the spring 2019 semester, Joseph Vitone, Professor of Photography and Media Arts, led the City of Austin Documentary Photography Project course where students chose documentary subjects in the Austin/Travis County area. As city documentarians, the students learned how to create visually engaging and intellectually challenging stories of the people and places of Austin, Texas while developing interview skills to gather information for writing image captions.

The partnership resulted in the Austin History Center archive, St. Edward’s University Austin Documentary Photography Project Collection (AR.2019.026), consisting primarily of digital photographs documenting various facets of the Austin area community as selected by the student photographers and their professor. In addition to the photographs, project statements from each of the photographers summarize their experiences interviewing and documenting their subjects of interest. Themes represented in the photographs include housing and urban development, particularly on Burnet Road, changing demographics, arts and culture, funerary practices including natural burial, and youth addiction recovery.

In the Photography & Media Arts program at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, students engage in experiential learning with hands-on work such as this documentary project in addition to studio and lab-based education in state of the art facilities. Practical as well as theoretical training pair with the development of visual literacy to produce students well prepared for successful careers. For more information on the program please contact Joe Vitone at