Media Sandbox Michigan State University

Howard Bossen

Howard Bossen

Professor & Adjunct Curator in the Michigan State University Museum

School of Journalism


Howard Bossen has worked as a photojournalist and run a graphic design business. He is interested in the history and criticism of photography, cultural history and media and American Studies. He has a Ph.D. and an M.A. from The Ohio State University and a B.F.A. from Philadelphia College of Art (now known as The University of the Arts). In addition to teaching School of Journalism courses in photojournalism, visual journalism and documentary research methods, Bossen has taught history of photography for the Department of Art and Art History and interdisciplinary special topics classes related to exhibitions he has curated and has been involved for over 25 years in photography and media-related study abroad courses.

Bossen curated the photography exhibition Luke Swank: Modernist Photographer, which was at the Kresge Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh in 2005-2006. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cited the exhibition as the city’s best art exhibit in 2005. Bossen’s book of the same title was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2006 by Choice, a publication of the Association of College & Research Libraries. The exhibition featured 141 photographs by Swank, who was active between the late 1920s and the early 1940s. It was the largest-ever retrospective of Swank’s work and re-established him as one of the pioneers of modernism in photography. Bossen discovered Swank’s photos in 2002 while he was a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University. He was a Senior Fulbright-Robles Scholar to Mexico where he lectured on publication and graphic design.
Bossen is working on Molten Light: The Intertwined History of Steel and Photography, an exhibition and book project that examines how photographers have photographed steel from the mid-1800s to today. The first venue is tentatively scheduled for late 2013 with the exhibition to travel after that.

Bossen is frequently asked to discuss the works of photographers and the history of photography in public forums and to be a photography reviewer at international photography events.

Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Department of Art Education. 1979. Major area of concentration: History of Photography.
M.A., The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Department of Photography and Cinema. 1976.
B.F.A. Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, Department of Photography. 1972

Michigan State UniversityCollege of Communication Arts and Sciences


MSU Media Sandbox is a creative CURRICULUM and COMMUNITY in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University.