Fall 2008

ARTS 624
The Documentary Tradition: Photographing Daily Life


09/08/2008 - 12/12/2008
Tuesday 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

Zilkha Gallery 106

The legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson claimed, "in photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject." In other words, it is not necessary to travel to exotic and far away places to find subjects worthy of documentation. The neighborhood diner, skating rink, or even one's own backyard can lead to inspiring and compelling images. The primary goal of this course is to learn how to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and translate it into visually successful, evocative, and personal photographs.

Readings for the course will be drawn from Henry Horenstein, Black & White Photography; John Szarkowski, Photographer's Eye; Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment; John Berger, Another Way of Telling; Robert Coles, Doing Documentary Work; and supplementary handouts. Our discussions will be informed by the viewing of slides, prints from the Davison Art collection, and weekly reading assignments. Initially, some time will be devoted to review of exposure, reading light, visualization, and photographic design.

Emphasis will be placed on shooting done outside of class. Each week students will be required to submit prints from one roll of film (36 exposures) or the digital equivalent, to be critiqued in class. Students will work in black and white film, using a 35mm or medium format or a high-resolution digital SLR, and will be expected to own and know how to operate a camera with manual controls. In addition to shooting assignments, students will be responsible for the assigned readings, participation in class discussions and critiques, and one formal presentation on a photographer of their choice. The final portfolio will consist of 12 technically competent and visually strong images. Students are responsible for all film developing, and for having contact sheets and prints made in time for each class.

Students should bring two images that they have created, to share at the first meeting of class. This course is not open to auditors.

This course has an additional course fee of $20.

A syllabus for this course is available at:

Sasha Rudensky (B.A. Wesleyan University; MFA Yale School of Art) is visiting assistant professor of art. She was the recipient of the Mortimer Hays Brandeis Traveling Fellowship in 2004-2005, which resulted in the series Remains. She is currently working on a portrait series Demons. Her work has been shown in Danziger Projects, New York; Gallery 339, Philadelphia; Rooke Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; Jen Bekman Gallery, New York and others. Click here for more information about Sasha Rudensky.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Studio

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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