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                                                                      Tondalaya Crites, Photographer
BFA Photography 1998
                                                                       Columbus College of Art & Design
                                                                       MAAE Art and Education 2010                                                                                           Maryland Institute College of Art


I've always been in love with photography, since I first discovered the magic of taking pictures with a Polaroid camera at age 8. I went from Polaroid to Canon to Hasselblad, and then to art school to pursue photography.

After getting my BFA in Photography from Columbus College of Art and Design I began a career in wedding photography in Ohio from 1998-2007. Then I taught art in Baltimore City Public Schools for the next 11 years. At Maryland Institute College of Art I challenged myself to use photography, cultural studies, and social justice to create authentic, meaningful artwork in the studio and classroom, inspired by life and my own documentary photos shot from the hip. Students made important photographs, real snaps from life, depicting what they would change if they could. University of Baltimore and MICA showed and funded the projects and I presented them at National Art Education Association conferences in Baltimore and Seattle, as well as at Teacher's College. 


Before moving to Colorado in 2017, I taught English to young refugees from all over the world for 3 years. The next few years I taught Digital Photography, Commercial Photography, 2D and 3D Art in Colorado Springs. Forging connections with students was my why, no matter what was going on in the world.


I turned my focus fully to photography in 2022, and am happy to be making connections with all of you. I continue to create photographic art and love spending hours in the darkroom making prints. Art therapy and creating visual journals are modalities I share with others, and use myself to process emotions and inform art making. I shoot every concert I can. I enjoy bellydancing, Pure Barre, yoga and hiking. Art museums and shows, tiny mountain towns and big cities, traveling to take photos, I love it all. Spending time with my Mark outdoors or anywhere is my happy place. We have 3 kitties: Etta, Alfie & Fifi an axolotl Lady Aurora. I collect vintage cameras. I'm still upset that I'm not a mermaid.


Maryland Institute College of Art

Columbus College of Art & Design

I pursued a Master's of Art during my tenure at Baltimore City Public Schools. I focused my attention on culture, social justice, and creating a voice for those in need, including myself. It was a time of growth and introspection where I took my camera to the streets to find truth, and challenged students to do the same. Their work was shown at MICA during the National Art Education Association in Baltimore, MD. My show at MICA was centered on protection, strength, and perseverance, born from experience, and made of encaustic photo transfers, prints and layered with warm beeswax to provide a visual and tactile depth of field.

Steeped in Bauhaus principles, my education at Columbus College of Art and Design was intense, a very thorough, a strong foundation in the visual arts: drawing, painting, color theory, 2D and 3D design, and art history. Photo courses in alternative processes (my favorite), studio, 4x5 view camera, photojournalism, fashion, product, photo illustration, the zone system, creative storytelling, history of photography, history of film, digital imaging, and developing and printing both black and white and color film. My thesis show was about Healing the Inner Child. I contact printed Type 55 polaroid film, exposed and developed in the field and made 4x5 palladium prints mounted on handmade paper that I made and embossed at the Dard Hunter Studio in Chillicothe, Ohio. 

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