Documentary Photography (Section 2)

Discipline: Studio Art
Instructor: Forsgren
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0925
End: 1040
Field Work: Day 3 - Le Havre - Friday, 19 September | France 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: France
Day: 3 - Le Havre - Friday, 19 September

During this field lab we will consider different modes and approaches to photographic time, considering photographic instants as well as extending the moment.  Initially we will focus on Cartier-Bresson, the famous French photographer and Magnum Photo Cofounder who coined the term “The Decisive Moment.”  We will attempt to create our own ‘decisive moments’ in downtown Le Havre, focusing on the present day-to-day life of the city.  We then go to the MuMa (local art museum) and look at the work of contemporary French photographer Bernard Plossu. Following this, we will visit the city’s archive and look at their photographic collection, looking at the city’s past.  Using this experience and our memory of these materials, we will return to the city streets, but this time with a keen sense of awareness of the history of La Havre.  The second workshop will reconsider the city, creating new images but also focusing on how we can use historic materials and other photographic sources to imagine the city beyond our single day in it. Academic Objectives: 1. Developing strategies for documenting motion and time in still photography 2. Hands on time with photographic equipment – Shutter speed, aperture and constructing the moment 3. Hands on time with photographic equipment – Sources and documents: Past, present, and future.