By Ses #3, you must choose a site that will be the subject of two photographic assignments and a final photographic essay. Your site can be anywhere within the Boston region. It should be a place you can visit regularly throughout the semester, a place that intrigues you. It can be your studio site or a place you are studying for another course. Limit the size of the site (all of Roxbury is too big). Thinking about the rationale for bounding the site may be key to deciphering its identity or at least those attributes that you want to focus on.
All assignments are due at times and dates indicated. Late projects will receive a reduction in grade. It is very important to keep up with the assignments, for they build on one another and form a basis for class discussion. There will be no extensions without prior written consent.
Students keep a journal throughout the semester, submitted in weekly installments. The journal is a place to record observations of individual sites, light and other landscape phenomena, and reflections on readings and class discussions. It also serves as a source of ideas and written material for the final essay of words and images.
From time to time during the semester, we will discuss the role of journals, writing as a form of inquiry and means of investigating landscape, the interplay between journal writing and photographing, and related issues.
For the first few weeks of the semester, observation of light is the major subject for the journal. Start after the first class. Make entries on light at least 6 times a day, every day: on awakening in the morning; on going to school or work; at midday; in the afternoon; at sunset; after sunset. Note the time. Describe where you are, your surroundings. Describe the light, its intensity, clarity, color, and any other qualities you notice. Describe how light interacts with, reveals, or conceals materials, surfaces, forms. Note the quality of shadows. Notice the sky. Describe your observations as precisely as possible. Search for words that convey what you see (poetry is a good source for expanding your descriptive vocabulary).
Due by Ses #2. Please describe where it is and why it is interesting, why you are drawn to it. What questions does the place raise, what aspects of it do you hope to explore photographically?
Due Ses #3, in class. Post in online gallery by Ses #5.
Photograph your site with respect to qualities of light, especially aspects of light that are particular to your site, as well as to time of day, weather, and season. Take photographs at different times of day on different days.
Ses #6 images for projection and discussion during class and bring them with you for Ses #3. Please come a few minutes early in order to load your images on the computer or put your slides in the carousel before class. If you cannot come early, make arrangements for someone else to load your images before class.
Scan the images and post them in an online gallery by Ses #5.
Begin to develop your Web site. Create separate sections for this and subsequent assignments on Significant Detail and the Essay. Consider including passages from your journals.
Due Ses #7, in class. Post in online gallery by Ses #8.
Telling details signify: black streaks streaming down a rocky, desert outcrop trace ephemeral waterfalls from rare rains, point to a refuge; a stone at the gateway to a forest sanctuary, polished by thousands of touches, reveals reverence. Great artists use detail tellingly. Hans Holbein's sketch of a marksman shows mainly his face, the one eye closed, the other sighting down the crossbow. The squinting, sighting eye is the darkest, most detailed part of the drawing; the rest is drawn lightly, roughly, as if out of focus. Good photographers are close observers; they choose what to frame, how, and what to place in sharpest focus in order to highlight significant detail. Dorothea Lange kept journals where she jotted the telling details she recorded in photographs: a country churchyard's acre, its bare soil swept with dogwood brooms, the parishioner's hand - made gloves (The American Country Woman). Details reveal important truths, an idea as relevant to the scientific study of landscape, to architecture and poetry, as it is to photography. Physical diagnosis, in medicine, in landscape, is the art of culling the significant from a welter of irrelevant detail.
Photograph significant details of your site, details that are clues to your site's particular character and that embody or refer to larger stories.
Select 6 images for projection and discussion during class and bring them with you to class Ses #7. Please come a few minutes early in order to load your images on the computer. Post online by Ses #8.
Due Ses #11, in class. Post in online gallery by Ses #12.
Landscape is meaningful and expressive; it can be poetic, rhetorical, polemical, as well as pragmatic. Landscape meaning is complex, layered, ambiguous, never simple or linear. A river flows, provides, creates, destroys, simultaneously a path and a boundary, even a gateway. Fire consumes, transforms, and renews. A circle is hierarchical - it has a center - yet non - hierarchical - all points along the circumference are equidistant from the center. Multiple meanings are the source of metaphor and other tropes, as well. Metaphor and irony juxtapose meanings: harmonious, contrasting, or conflicting. Figures of speech are rarely isolated in landscape; combined, overlapped, juxtaposed, they introduce correspondences, prompt reflection and invite investment of meaning.
Revisit and reflect on your site in light of the readings for the class on "Landscape Poetics." Photograph your site from the perspective of rhetorical expression, both your own and the implied and implicit expression of those who live in or use the site. Review the slides you have already taken in light of this topic. This is the last assignment before the final project, the essay of images and words you will create to express the particular qualities of your site, to interpret its character, to tell its story(ies). Begin to identify the stories you want to tell and use this assignment to advance your thinking.
Select 6 images for projection and discussion during class and bring them to class, Ses #11. Give each image a title. Put them in a sequence that brings the individual images into dialogue. Please come a few minutes early in order to load your Web site. Post online by Ses #12.
Continue to develop your Web site, with separate sections for the assignment on Light, Significant Detail, and Poetics (though some images may serve in both categories). You may wish to include passages from your journals.
The storyboard draft of the essay is due at the conferences with individual students, held during Ses #11. A draft of the Web site essay is due online in Ses #14. The final photo essay is due online by Ses #16. During Ses #18 there will be a presentation and discussion of online essays in class.