Module 1: Introduction to Photography Appreciation

0 Posted by - August 24, 2014 - Courses, Photography Appreciation
Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Ophelia), 2001

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (Ophelia), 2001

Welcome to Photography Appreciation. The central idea of this course is that photography is a unique medium by which we can better understand the world, ourselves, and what it means to be human. This is all the more compelling in our media saturated society where it is all too easy to lose touch with who we are amidst a never-ending stream of images and text.

Photographic images are a big part of that stream, but they can also be instruments of awareness and empathy. This course will help you recognize and understand the difference. The Hungarian photographer and artist Lazlo Moholy-Nagy famously said, “Anyone who fails to understand photography will be one of the illiterates of the future.” We will examine photography from a wide variety of perspectives to provide you that understanding, and you will learn how to begin to create your own compelling photographs.

Most importantly, you will learn how to think differently. You will learn to see with your heart and mind, and open your eyes to the world and its possibilities.

Module Content

We begin our exploration with an overview of photographic history, and an examination of the unique “genius” of photography. Please read/view the following material:

A History of Photography, Part 1

A History of Photography, Part 2

A History of Photography, Part 3

The Genius of Photography, Part 1

Featured Photographer: Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941

Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941

Ansel Adams is one of the most revered figures in American photographic history. He was dedicated to the artistic exploration of the natural environment and its preservation. His iconic landscape photographs have excited the popular imagination of generations, and his writings about photographic method and technique are still used to educate aspiring photographers. Read and view an introduction to Adams and his work at these links. As you view the material pay particular attention to his approach and think about what it takes to produce a master photograph.

Discussion Topic

Citing at least three specific ideas and examples from Genius of Photography and the Ansel Adams materials, explain what you think is the particular nature and power (or “genius”) of photography. How is it unique? Why is it important to our history and culture? What are its impacts and effects? Full Directions


Top Image: Steve McCurry, Afghan Girl, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984 Copyright © Steve McCurry