Documentary Photography (Section 1)

Discipline: Studio Art
Instructor: Forsgren
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 2 - Rostock - Tuesday, 9 September | Germany Download Syllabus

Documentary Photography explores conceptual and theoretical concerns of documentation and photography as a tool for cultural investigation while introducing technical and practical 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 book 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 focus on DSLR and mirrorless cameras as well as current practices in photographic workflow using Adobe Lightroom.  The class begins with a series of weeklong projects considering methods to frame, edit, and process digital images.  It includes an overview of photographic history and theory with an emphasis on the impact of digital technology on documentary photographic strategies.

Required Materials: Laptop computer, Adobe Lightroom 5.0 (installed on your laptop), a digital camera (with RAW capabilities and manual shooting options), 8GB SD/compact flash card for camera, 8GB Flash Drive

Field Work

Country: Germany
Day: 2 - Rostock - Tuesday, 9 September

Germany has a rich photographic and industrial tradition.  We will examine different manners in which the narratives of industry and cultures have merged together, focusing on the typologies of Bernd and Hilla Becher and the work of their students (from the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf).  Using the Becher school as a starting point, we will consider how photography has been used as an analytic tool in documenting and defining industry.  In the second workshop we will consider objectivity and subjectivity in photography.  We will consider how romantic ideas about industry fueled an aesthetic vision in the early 20th century, and how contemporary artists approach photographing industry.  These sites will also provide plenty of lines, patterns, and forms to play with composition, as we consider the interaction between our humanity and the camera as a machine. Academic Objectives: 1. Exposure to contemporary artists as well as industrial revolution/modernist photographic paradigms. 2. Hands on time with photographic equipment – The camera as a measuring tool: slowly and methodically. 3. Hands on time with photographic equipment – Composition: industrial lines, grids and transects.