Documentary Photography (Section 1)

Discipline: Studio Art
Instructor: Critcher
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1425
End: 1540
Field Work: Day 2 - Wednesday, 30 September | Turkey Download Syllabus

Documentary Photography explores conceptual and practical concerns of documentation using photography as a tool for objectively exploring different cultures while introducing technical principles of digital photography.

Students consider ethical concerns of documenting different cultures and peoples as well as conceptual positions such as the range of perspectives a photographer can adopt: from objective observer to subjective participant. The final project involves constructing a thematic photographic portfolio of images made during the voyage, considering their images in sequence and series to construct a narrative. The technical emphasis of the class is on camera operation, file management, digital imaging, and digital editing.

Students learn camera operation with a concentration on DSLR cameras as well as current practices in photographic workflow using Adobe Lightroom. It includes an overview of photographic history and theory with an emphasis on documentary photographic strategies.

Field Work

Country: Turkey
Day: 2 - Wednesday, 30 September

We will explore two dissimilar areas of Istanbul with the idea of documenting aspects of this culture.  The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii), completed in 1616, is an example of the Late Classic Ottoman style of architecture. The intention is to look carefully in order to absorb details and overall impressions in a manner that will document the richness and variety of an Islamic Mosque, while respecting the boundaries set for visitors. The Grand Bazaar is an opposite photographic challenge, as the purpose of this location is to practice a quick visualization to capture a meaningful and descriptive image of a rapidly moving scenario. Another consideration is the people and the vendors in the market, which may necessitate interaction and negotiation in order to make photographs that are truthful and evocative. The assignment is also designed to exercise the introverted and extroverted parts of the psyche in a manner that will enable you to photograph under very diverse conditions and come back with significant imagery. Participating with an eager and generous spirit is paramount to the success of this outing. Academic objectives:

  1. Using photography to document a sacred space respectfully and within the restrictions imposes by the religion of Islam.
  2. Practical time with photographic equipment: working both slowly and methodically, and utilizing the camera to work quickly in a rapidly changing market and street atmosphere.
  3. Learning how to work with a local guide in order to facilitate your efforts.