21A.348 | Spring 2008 | Undergraduate
Photography and Truth

Assignments

What matters most is staying up with reading and viewing assignments and participating actively in class. In addition, you will be responsible for the following.

Mini-Essays/Reports (PDF)

(1¼-2 pages, ongoing)

Three short essays, 1¼ to 2 pages, to be spaced out over the semester, on photography in life and literature. Some will be presented and discussed in class.

  • On photography as it appears in a film, novel, or short story
  • On photography as it plays a role in life

Vernacular Photographs

(4 pages, due Week #8)

A brief study of an example of vernacular photography, either from one’s own family albums or some other source.

Practice and Impact

(5 pages, due Week #10)

An essay on photographic practice and its impact. Either some aspect of depression-era photography, or colonial photographs of non-western peoples.

Critical Discussion of Claims/Theories/Interpretations

(2 pages, due Week #11)

Brief critical discussion of one point in theories/claims/interpretations of photography.

Interpretation of Pictures

(3 pages, due Week #12)

Discussion and analysis of one set of photographs (a photo-essay, a book, one photographer’s work).

Calendar

WEEK # TOPICS KEY DATES
1 Introduction  
2 The power and ambiguity of photography  
3 Looking at faces  
4 Snaps/albums/postcards/itinerants, everyday photography and people’s lives First mini essay/report due
5 Truth and deception  
6 Advertising photography and gender  
7 Photographing the Great Depression Second mini essay/report due
8 Imperialism and photography Brief study on vernacular photography
9 Muck-raking, advocacy, and propaganda Third mini essay/report due
10 Photographing people’s lives: photo-essays and photo-ethnography Essay on photographic practice and impact due
11 Looking at pictures, thinking about photography Critical discussion of claims/theories/interpretations
12 War and suffering in the picture Interpretation of pictures
Course Info
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Spring 2008