PH4251 PJ7251 Photo Book S15 syllabus - Blackboard

CPH4251/ CPJ 7251: Making Meaning: The Photography Book Spring 2015 Prof. Andy Grundberg Downtown, Studio 20 Wednesdays, 1:30pm -­‐ 4:15pm 3 Credits Contact instructor: email : [email protected] phone: 202 639 1847 office: Downtown administrative offices, south end of atrium office hours: Thursdays 10am-­‐12pm, and by appointment Course Description:
This advanced studio-based seminar engages with the traditions and practices of the
photographic book to examine and explore narrative strategies useful to today's
artists/photographers. Through close readings of such classic 20th century book works as
Walker Evans's American Photographs, Wright Morris's The Inhabitants, Robert Frank's The
Americans, Ralph Gibson's The Somnambulist and Days at Sea, Larry Clark's Tulsa, Joel Sternfeld's
American Prospects, and Alex Soth's Sleeping by the Mississippi, students will gain insight into
ways of structuring their own photographic projects. On completion of the course, students will
be expected to have sequenced and produced a book-length collection of their own
photographs, in consultation with the instructor.
Course goals:
By semester’s end students should be fluent in methods and approaches to crafting coherent
messages, both narrative and non-narrative, from the assembly of individual photographs and
texts into sequential book form. They should also be aware of the many approaches to
photographic book making that have been employed historically and in contemporary practice,
and able to identify strategies of content and context that form the basis of making meaning in
photography books.
Course objectives:
By the conclusion of the course students will be expected to have learned to:
Discuss and write about how photographic meaning can be constructed through the
sequential assembly of photographs on the printed page.
Making Meaning syllabus S15 -- 1
Demonstrate an advanced ability to construct their own photographic meaning by
creating a photographic book of their own making.
Analyze a variety of strategies and approaches to creating meaning via photographic
books, assessing the value of each for the topic and the quality of the author’s use of the
Speak clearly and cogently about the uses of images and photographic books as
instruments of witnessing and persuasion.
Course requirements:
All class members:
1. Come prepared each week to lead or participate in discussion of the book or books listed
on the syllabus, and to discuss with guest speakers their ideas about photo books.
Discussion is an important component of your final grade.
2. Formulate a proposal for a book of your work and, with instructor’s approval, develop
the concept into a finished work of two or more copies, printed using Blurb or another
online printing service.
Undergraduate students only:
1. Present to the class a comprehensive analysis of a photo book published in the past
fifteen (15) years, selected from a volume of The Photobook: A History (on reserve in the
library) or from your own selection with the instructor’s approval.
Graduate students only:
1. Write a paper of 10-15 pages examining how photographic books have engaged in
attempts to define the essential character of American life, including its cultures and
subcultures, since the 1930s. This essay should encompass a number of relevant book
works by individual authors and address their use of “documentary style” as a
rhetorical device.
2. Present to the class a cogent analysis of the influential photo book(s) of a single
photographer as listed in the syllabus (first half of course).
Required texts:
No textbooks need to be purchased; however, the three-volume The Photobook: A History, edited
by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, is an indispensible resource for all photographic book makers.
Volumes 1 and 2 of The Photobook are on reserve in the library.
All books listed on the syllabus are in open circulation in the library’s stacks; please check them
out for brief periods during the semester.
Grading standards and criteria:
For undergraduates: 30% classroom participation (including attendance); 20% class
presentations; 50% book development and ultimate result. For graduates: 20% class
participation (including attendance), 20% class presentations, 40% book development and
ultimate result; 20% final paper.
Letter grades can range from A (exemplary grasp of materials presented and outstanding
presentations and book) to F (total failure to grasp materials and totally miserable presentations
Making Meaning syllabus S15 -- 2
and book). Rubrics for grading will be distributed as appropriate. Three or more absences will
constitute a failing grade, as will plagiarism.
Classroom policies:
Classroom attendance is important, as is punctuality. Passionate discussion and debate are
encouraged; rudeness, verbal bullying, and lack of consideration for others are not. All rules of
comportment mentioned in the student handbook apply.
Wireless devices may be used during class time for making notes, checking facts, and finding
information – but not for emails, texts, or extraneous entertainment. No cell phones or ear buds
unless by special permission of the instructor. First-time violators will receive a warning;
second-timers will receive a grade reduction notation.
Academic integrity:
You are expected to be familiar with, and abide by, the George Washington University Code of
Academic Integrity. The code covers plagiarism, cheating, and lying, all of which are violations
that can lead to dismissal. See:
Disability accommodations:
The Corcoran supports students with identified learning disabilities by providing
accommodations and assistance. Speak to me early in the semester so we can discuss how to
enhance your experience of the course. A learning support provider is on site at the Flagg
Building. Find information on the university’s Learning Support Services at:­‐support-­‐services. Other campus resources:
Writing Center:
Making Meaning syllabus S15 -- 3
Course schedule: Jan 14 Introductions Syllabus review Classic American photobooks of 30s/40s American Photographs, by Walker Evans (1938) The Inhabitants (1946), The Home Place, God’s Country and My People, by Wright Morris Jan. 21 After Walker Evans The Americans, by Robert Frank (1958/59) Discuss Rubinfien essay on The Americans Jan. 28 Guest artist: Art Desks (2014) The New West, by Robert Adams (1974) Brady Robinson Feb. 4 The New Topographics Park City, by Lewis Baltz (1980) Feb. 11 Lustrum Press The Somnambulist (1970), Déjà vu (1973), and Days at Sea (1975), by Ralph Gibson Tulsa, by Larry Clark (1971) The lines of my hand, by Robert Frank (1972) Making Meaning syllabus S15 -- 4
Feb. 18 The new in “new color” Uncommon Places, by Stephen Shore (1982) Election Eve (1977) and The Democratic Forest (1989), by William Eggleston Feb. 25 On the road again American Prospects, by Joel Sternfeld (1987) MIDTERM GRADES for undergraduates Sleeping by the Mississippi, by Alec Soth(2004) Mar. 4 Class presentations #1 Possible guest speaker No class this week, sorry L Class presentations #2 In-­‐class editing session Grad students: hand in papers! Mar. 11 SPRING BREAK Mar. 18 Mar. 25 Class presentations #3 and In-­‐class editing session editing session Apr. 1 Book dummy (no, not you!) reveal and critique #1 Your books on parade Your books Your books All: hand in finished books for grading! Apr. 8 Book dummy reveal and critique #2 Apr. 15 Book dummy reveal and critique #3 Apr. 22 Guest speaker or field trip Apr. 29 Conclusions and wrap up SCHOOL OVER! Making Meaning syllabus S15 -- 5
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