Summer 2005
Fully Enrolled

ARTS 624
Seeing Photos Past, Making Photos Present

Johnston,William D.

06/27/2005 - 07/15/2005
Monday-Thursday 05:30 PM - 08:30 PM

Zilkha Gallery 106

The goal of this course is to engage the student, as an active photographer today with the historical legacy of this art form, for the purpose of stretching the creative imagination. We will engage with several established genres, including (but probably not limited to) landscape, portrait, architecture, figure, and street photography by looking at and discussing images in books and, as much as possible, prints held in the Davison Art Center.

Readings will include Robert Adams, Why People Photograph; John Szarkowski, Looking at Photographs; and a number of short essays on themes of viewing and criticizing photographs.

Students will be asked to work in a cycle of looking at and discussing past work, making their own photographic work in the genre under examination, and then looking at and discussing each other's work in the context of the previous images examined and discussed.

For class presentations, it will be assumed that students have access to their own means of photographic production, whether it be a personal darkroom, digital printing facilities, or commercial color lab. Black and white or color images are acceptable. The campus Epsom 9600 printer will be available for those who wish to pursue digital prints. In the final assignment, students will produce a portfolio of work that either includes at least one image in each genre or focuses on just one, with the objective of creating a personal vision that unifies the work as a single body.

Students are expected to have a camera suitable to make images that range from still life to landscape; virtually any camera is fine, from a small hand-held point-and-shoot to a large format sheet-film camera. Of course, a more sophisticated camera system such as an SLR with multiple lenses or a large format camera will provide more flexibility, but the aim of the course is to emphasize the development of a vision in conjunction with the student's camera of choice.

The class will meet on Friday, July 8 to make up for the July 4th celebration of Independence Day.

William Johnston (B.A. Elmira College; M.A., Ph.D. Harvard University) is professor of East Asian studies, history, science and society, and chair of history. He is also the author of Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star: A Woman, Sex, and Morality in Modern Japan (2004) and The Modern Epidemic: A History of Tuberculosis in Japan (1995).


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Studio

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Robert Adams, WHY PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPH (Aperture) Paperback

Robert Adams, BEAUTY IN PHOTOGRAPHY (Aperture) Paperback

John Daido Loori, THE ZEN OF CREATIVITY (Ballentine Books), Paperback

John Szarkowski, LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHS (Little, Brown), Paperback


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