Skip to main content

PHOTOGRAPHIC EYE: CULTURE, IDENTITY, AND IMAGE MAKING

Megan Jacobs, mejacobs@unm.edu
Core: Humanities

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The course will explore the seminal artistic photographic movements since photography’s inception. We will investigate contemporary fine art photography, which will provide the backdrop for which students will learn to use photography as a creative tool through an array of photographic camera techniques and editing approaches. We will explore how the act of deliberately making images can help one to think in new ways. Additionally, we will investigate the importance of what images are printed on and how that informs the meaning of a creative work.

Additionally, we will investigate the role that photography has played in shaping and preserving culture historically and in contemporary times through an investigation of vernacular and fine art photographs. For an individual living in the 1880’s one may have only possessed one photographic image in their life time, yet now we can snap 20 images in a few seconds alone. The desire to take photographs has persisted over the last 130 years but the meaning of these very images has shifted. We’ll investigate this transformation through an evaluation of the breadth of the contemporary photographs that we are exposed to daily ranging from selfies, to police body camera imagery, to Facebook portraits, to Instagram “food porn”, to documentation of riots, to sexting. We swim in a sea of photographic images, but what compels us to take them? How do these photographs inform contemporary culture through the construction of one’s virtual identity and in turn inform one’s social status? How can photography be used as a social tool?

Requirements: 3 creative photographic projects, 1 argumentative paper, oral presentation on a contemporary artist, written observations, and participation.

 

READINGS AND TEXTS AND OTHER COURSE MATERIALS

Heiferman, Marvin. Photography Changes Everything. New York: Aperture, 2012 will be our required text. Additional selected excerpts (drawn from the sources below) will be placed on the course blog:
Barrett, Terry. “Principles for Interpreting Photographs,” in Johan Swinnen and Luc Deneulin, eds.
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida, Reflections on Photography. Trans. R. Howard. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.
Berger, John. About Looking. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980.
Bright, Susan. Art Photography Now. New York: Aperture, 2005.
Cotton, Charlotte. The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 2009.
Goldberg, Vicki, ed. Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981.
Rosemblum, Naomi. A World History of Photography. New York: Abbeville Press, 1984.
Sontag, Susan. On Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1973.
Szarkowski, John. Looking At Photographs. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1973.
Thompson, Jerry L. Why Photography Matters. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013.

 

COURSE FEE (if applicable) & BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF HOW FEES WILL BE USED

$35

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS

Requirements:
3 creative photographic projects
1 argumentative paper,
An oral presentation on a contemporary artist
Written observations to accompany class readings

We will take a field trip to the University Art Museum's print room to see seminal photographic works in person.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Megan Jacobs' work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been part of exhibitions at Saatchi Gallery (online), the Museum of New Art (MONA), the Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China, GoEun Museum of Photography, Busan, Korea, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA). She earned an MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico and a BA from Smith College. She is an Associate Professor in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico where she teaches interdisciplinary courses in fine art.