Advanced level studio courses in specific media. Areas of study may include: A. Drawing, B. Painting, C. Ceramics, D. Sculpture, E. Photography, F. Video, G. Digital, H. Interdisciplinary Study. Prerequisite will vary. Not offered Pass/Fail
|Arts and Humanities||Prerequisite will vary||1/2-1 course|
Current Semester InformationCynthia O'Dell
398EA: Tps:Documentary Photo
Tps:Documentary Photography: The Ethics of Representation
"Documentary is a little like horror movies, putting a face on fear and transforming threat into fantasy, into imagery. One can handle leaving it behind. (It is them, not us.)." Martha Rosler
Traditionally, documentary photography/film is often defined within a humanistic tradition, considered as an agent in social reform, with the photographer seen as an outside, observer. The intent has often been to document the conditions of the disenfranchised, to "give voice" to those without the power to speak for themselves. In this way, the photographer has taken a moral role in storytelling and bearing witness. But for all it's merits and good intentions, this process can result in a ethically fraught power dialectic between photographer and subject. As a result, photographers and curators have and do perpetuate notions of "otherness" in relation to race, gender and class. To this end some contemporary critics are calling for a new documentary- which doesn't bear witness but alters reality.
This lens-based production/seminar course will use alternative modes of production and presentation to both explore and critique the documentary method. Students will be introduced to the history of Documentary practice; consider theoretical concerns as identified by scholars in the late 70's and 80's; explore the work that resulted from that critique (such as text and image combinations, re-photography and community based arts practice); and examine contemporary methods of output. During the term, students will make their own contributions to the field of creative documentary creative, aware of the implications of their work within a broader context. Students will learn the pitfalls and successes of the field as well as a way to make work in spite of these issues. Upon completion of the course students should be prepared to confidently contribute to the field of documentary practice in an informed way.