AH20220 History of Photography

Academic Year 2023/2024

** UPDATE for 2023-24: We are excited to share news that this module will be amplified in Spring 2024, owing to the recent acquisition of an important teaching collection of photography by the School of Art History and Cultural Policy, totaling more than 250 prints and objects, spanning the entire history of photography since 1840. Students enrolled in this module will have the opportunity to take part in small group handling sessions in the School, where we will be working with original photographic artefacts from the 19th - 20th century -- from daguerreotypes to albumen prints to Polaroids -- as well as cameras, photo-magazines, and other optical devices. This is a fantastic opportunity to encounter photographic media first-hand, and learn directly about their processes, history, and materiality. Art history major students, as well as elective students from other subjects, are welcome to enrol. **

This module surveys the history and theory of photography, beginning with its origins in the nineteenth century, and concluding with post-WW2 developments in photographic practice. We will examine the photograph both as a documentation of the world and as a work of art, reflecting on its technological and aesthetic evolution, and how the act of photography was (and is) a scientific, cultural, and aesthetic practice. How has photography revolutionized our ways of seeing? What is the relationship between photography and other forms of visual art and representation? What questions about looking at others, and representing ourselves, does it provoke? Following a roughly chronological structure, we will discuss the contribution of key photographers and important stylistic moments throughout its history. The history of photography in Ireland will also form an important dimension of this module. This module comprises lectures, in-class exercises, and special small-group hands-on tutorials utilizing the Kingsley Photographic Teaching Collection.

A central aim of this course is to develop students’ fluency in analyzing photographs and the conditions of their production and reception, including the ability to identify photographic processes and techniques. Topics will include the innovations of early photography; pictorialism and ‘straight’ photography; photographic portraiture; photojournalism and war photography; photography and modernism (abstraction, surrealism, the ‘New Objectivity’); colour processes; and the role of the photograph as ‘document’ and photographer as ‘witness’.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students will be able to:
(1) Recognise and describe key photographic processes (and their chronological development) from the 19th century to the present
(2) Identify and explain the importance of historically significant photographers, as well as examples of their work
(3) Demonstrate knowledge of theoretical frameworks concerning photography's status as art, technology, and as a form of witness and documentation
(4) Demonstrate familiarity with and application of correct terminology when analysing photographs, developing critical thinking and writing skills

Indicative Module Content:

Topics will include the innovations of early photography; pictorialism and ‘straight’ photography; photographic portraiture; photojournalism and war photography; photography and modernism (abstraction, surrealism, the ‘New Objectivity’); colour processes; and the role of the photograph as ‘document’ and photographer as ‘witness’.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities

40

Autonomous Student Learning

40

Lectures

18

Small Group

2

Total

100

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module comprises lectures, in-class exercises, and special small-group hands-on tutorials utilizing the Kingsley Photographic Teaching Collection.

An in-class midterm exam will assess students' ability to identify photographic processes, knowledge of key terminology and photographic theory, and discuss historically important photographers / photographs. Students' critical writing and research skills will be honed via a final research essay assignment. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Art History majors should not take any Stage 2 or 3 Art History modules until they have completed their Level 1 Art History requirements.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Midterm written assignment Week 8 n/a Graded No

40

Examination: A final 2-hour examination (covering course material throughout the trimester) will include multiple choice questions, short answers, and image response questions. A detailed study guide is provided. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No

60


Carry forward of passed components
Yes
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be given on the midterm examination, and suggestions for improvement offered. Extensive written feedback will be given on the final essay via Brightspace.

Name Role
Ms Carla Briggs Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mrs Susan Curley Meyer Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
 
Spring
     
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 11:00 - 11:50
Spring