Senior Capstone Seminar: Reading Photography
190 | CCN: 31281
*This course will be taught via Remote-Synchronous instruction.
Lecture: M 2-5pm
This seminar explores the medium of photography from various angles: as a new way of seeing the world, as an instrument for documenting private and public life, and as a modern art form that has gained entry into museums and galleries. We will study the similarities and differences between photography and film and thus obtain a new understanding of the “moving pictures.” We will also investigate how photography and film manipulate time and space and alter our perception of reality. How truthful are photographic images? How reliably do they reproduce the past and present? These questions are especially timely in the digital age, as we are forced to confront the circulation of doctored images and deep fakes on social media. We are also interested in the emergence of the photographic image as a work of art that is in dialogue with artistic currents like abstract and conceptual art. In the seminar, we plan to read and discuss texts from major theorists (Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, etc.) and to closely analyze famous works from such photographers as Louis Daguerre, Paul Strand, August Sander, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Jeff Wall, to name only a few. This capstone course offers undergraduates with senior standing (or consent of instructor) an opportunity to experience seminar learning. Creative work is encouraged but the emphasis will be on the completion of a substantial research project.