The Craft of Writing: Seeing Photographically
R1B - 002 | CCN: 31627
Hannah Airriess and Jennifer Pranolo
The technological “triumph” of photography, wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1859, lies in the feat of “making a sheet of paper reflect images like a mirror and hold them as a picture.” But as the medium moves between paper and screen, the analog and the digital, can this claim still hold true? This course will examine the structuring metaphors that have shaped our understanding of photography. We will consider its link to nature, to ideology, to the archive, to art and perception, producing powerful—and often ambiguous—relations to the real. We will ask if we now need new models for thinking about the photograph as it changes the way it pictures the world.
Throughout the course we will approach the photograph as a theoretical object. Topics will range from photography’s early connection to magic and evidence to the current moment of Photoshop, the Internet, and Instagram. Assignments will emphasize a practice of analytical writing and research. Students will engage various sources, methods, and texts to come up with their own arguments and positions about how we see photographically.