Advanced Digital Documentary Photography [CRN 27377 Course] [CRN 27381 Lab]

Discipline: Journalism and Media Communication
Instructor: Seel
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 13:40
End: 15:00
Field Work: Day 5 | February 14, 2017 | Vietnam
Prerequisites: Completion of one (1) digital photography course (or an equivalent course on photographic fundamentals). Students will be asked to provide an example of a prior photo story (with 10-15 images) for admission to this course. Download Syllabus

This is an advanced course in the conceptualization, production, and editing of photographic documentary projects. As the voyage progresses, the course will explore varied approaches to photography as applied in photojournalism and longer-term documentary projects. During the semester, students will photograph people and places visited on the voyage with the goal of completing a high-quality portfolio of images with a unique theme.  The first part of the course will explore possible thematic approaches to the portfolio, and then include frequent critiques of student work as sequences of images are created in each port. A digital portfolio of prior advanced photographic work must be submitted to the instructor for admission to this course.

Field Work

Country: Vietnam
Day: 5
Date: February 14, 2017

This field class will visit with Vietnamese news photographer Hoang Van Cuong at his Ho Chi Minh City home and discuss his experiences documenting the fall of Saigon in 1975 and see his collection of wartime photos. At the War Remnants Museum we will see and discuss the Requiem exhibit of combat photographs taken during the wars in Indochina and review the fates of their photographers. Afterward we’ll have lunch nearby, then travel by bus 38 miles to take documentary photographs of the extensive tunnel complex at Cu Chi to see how Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army soldiers survived American air attacks by going underground during the war. Back on the ship, we will hold a reflection session to discuss how documentary images of the war (in still photos, film footage, and on television) shaped global opinion about this conflict.

Learning objectives:

  1. Meet with photojournalist Hoang Van Cuong to hear first-person experiences of covering the war with a focus on the fall of Saigon in 1975 and his incarceration in an internment camp after the war ended.
  2. View the Requiem photo exhibit at the WRM to see how photojournalists from both sides covered the war. Discuss the risks of being a combat photographer in light of the fact that all those included died in the war.
  3. Tour the tunnel complex at Cu Chi to see how the VC and NVA went underground to negate the effects of U.S. air power. Discuss how the tunnels facilitated the Tet Offensive in 1969 and its effect on U.S. public opinion.