Fall 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
History of Photography: Photography After 1945
This survey will present an overview of photographic history from post-World War II to the present. We will study the medium's impact upon our culture in the context of the technical evolution of photography, with reflection on the expanding range of venues for distribution of images during this seventy-year period, from the picture press to galleries and museums to the internet. We will consider photographic "categories" and "canons" as we examine a medium in flux, an art form whose history is being written and rewritten. By gaining an understanding of this complex visual medium, which consistently crosses the boundary separating high art and popular culture, one can develop a critical framework for discussing and writing about photographs.
We will examine photography's role as document, the emphasis on recording time and place, which became a prominent aspect of work by photographers during the 20s through the 60s. A transformation in the 60s and 70s occurred as artists engaged in Conceptual, Process, and Performance Art began to experiment with the medium. New approaches involved the record of the self, documentation of environments, appropriation of mediated imagery, and exploration of staged photography. The transition to digital imaging technologies has continued to expand the possibilities while confusing distinctions between photographic reality and fiction.
The class will participate in discussion, relating study of the history of photography--through the review of images, catalogs, films, and exhibitions--to personal experience with this ubiquitous form of visual information.
Campany, David, ed. Art and Photography (revised edition, 2012)
Wells, Liz, ed. Photography: A Critical Introduction (5th edition, 2015)
Selected articles--available electronically--by scholars and artists.
Creative projects can be generated using basic consumer-level photographic processes, including digital inkjet prints, and color prints produced by a minilab.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Grading will be determined by attendance and participation (20%), two visual projects (20%), a research project (20%), a take-home midterm exam (20%), and a take-home final exam (20%).