THE HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY (ARTH 293/693)
PROFESSOR: DR. REBECCA BUTTERFIELD
TEACHING FELLOW: MR. BECK FEIBELMAN
OFFICE HOURS: 12:30-1:45p Thursdays and by appointment, 305 Jaffe Building
WEB SITES: Blackboard https://courseweb.upenn.edu (arth293-301 2001C)
This course will offer a history of photography in the United States and Europe from 1839 to the present. We will look at photography in relation to aesthetics, cultural contexts and to theories about the function of images. Some of the major issues we will explore are: photography's effects on portraiture, high art, popular culture, pornography and social documentation; the uses to which photography has been put by professional and amateur anthropologists, explorers, politicians and scientists; and the rise of photojournalism and advertising. We will consider photography in the context of continuing debates concerning the nature of reality and truth, photography's status as art or document, subjectivity versus objectivity, and issues regarding originality, authenticity and power.
PLEASE NOTE: Some of the photographs we will look at are sexually explicit (dealing with hetero-, homo-, and auto-eroticism), graphically violent or politically provocative. Some individuals may find these images disturbing or even offensive. Such works are included because they were significant in the history of photography. They presented important challenges to artistic traditions and conventions, to social mores, to standards of beauty and taste, and ultimately, to definitions of photography itself. Students will not be required to subscribe to any particular theory of the purpose and meaning of photography, nor will they be required to like all of the images shown. However, if you choose to take this course, you will be expected to understand the issues involved and why they are important. If you have any special concerns, please discuss them with me.
CLASS TEXTS: Available at the Pennsylvania Book Center, 130 south 34th St. These books are also available at Fisher Fine Arts Reserve; purchase is not required.
Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography (some readings required)
Alan Trachtenberg, ed. Classic Essays in Photography
Alan Trachtenberg, Reading American Photographs
Sylvan Barnet, A Short Guide to Writing About Art
Additional readings are either on reserve at the Fisher Fine Arts Library (FAR) and/or available on the blackboard site (BB) for this course.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Each of the requirements below will constitute 20% of a student's grade. EACH REQUIREMENT MUST BE FULFILLED IN ORDER TO PASS THE COURSE. Readings should be completed for that day's class.
Response papers: 1-2 page papers, typed, double-spaced on specific themes, issues or images related to the required readings. These papers are designed to help you think critically and creatively about the reading assignments. Your goal is to analyze some aspect of the readings, NOT to summarize them. These papers will serve as the basis for in-class discussions as well as prepare you for the exams. Some questions to consider in your writing (and in all your readings for this course) include:
1) What are the author's main points?
2) How does s/he support these points?
3) What kind of sources does the author use: published or unpublished writings contemporary with the making of the photograph, such as correspondence or records of the photographer, critical reviews in periodicals or newspapers, diaries or correspondence of those who saw the work; other visual images; recent art-historical or cultural-historical scholarship about the era?
4) What are the author's underlying assumptions about photography?
5) What alternative analyses would you suggest?
6) How would you develop these ideas?
7) How does the piece compare to others you have read for the course?
Thesis paper. (5-6 pages, typed, double-spaced). For this paper, you may either do a formal and contextual analysis of one photograph, or a critical review of a photography exhibition. In either case, your original interpretations will be supported by the formal qualities of the photographs and research. A separate handout will be distributed several weeks before the due date.
Class attendance and participation in discussions.
R 9/6 INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW
T 9/11 INVENTION & EARLY HISTORY
Readings: Daguerre, "Daguerreotype," in Classic Essays
Arago, "Report," in Classic Essays
Poe, "The Daguerreotype," in Classic Essays
Niepce, "Memoire on the Heliograph," in Classic Essays
Talbot, "A Brief Historical Sketch of the Invention of the Art," in Classic Essays
Recommended: Rosenblum, ch. 1: "The Early Years: Technology, Vision, Users"
R 9/13 PORTRAITURE
Readings: Trachtenberg, "Illustrious Americans" BB & FAR
Recommended: Rosenblum, "A Short Technical History: Part I," pp. 192-99.
T 9/19 PICTURING SOCIETY I
Readings: Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Stereoscope and the Stereograph," in Classic Essays
Barnet, pp. 1-30, 61-85
Rosenblum, ch. 2: "A Plenitude of Portraits"
Recommended: Tagg, "A Democracy of the Image," in The Burden of Representation FAR; Sontag, "In Plato's Cave," in On Photography BB & FAR
R 9/20 PICTURING SOCIETY II
Readings: Barthes, "The Rhetoric of the Image," in Classic Essays
Due: 1st response paper on Barthes, "The Rhetoric of the Image"
T 9/25 WAR
Readings: Trachtenberg, "Albums of War," Reading American Photographs BB & FAR
Recommended: Green-Lewis, "Framing the Crimea," Framing the Victorians FAR
R 9/27 EXPLORING FRONTIERS: SCIENCE
T 10/2 EXPLORING FRONTIERS: EUROPE
Readings: Solomon-Godeau, "Calotypomania," Photography at the Dock BB & FAR
Rosenblum, ch. 3: "Documentation: Landscape and Architecture," pp. 94-126
Due: 2nd Response paper on Solomon-Godeau
R 10/4 EXPLORING FRONTIERS: AMERICA
Readings: Buerger, "Ultima Thule: American Myth, Frontier, and the Artist-Priest in Early American Photography" BB & FAR
Barnet, "Some Critical Approaches," pp. 104-20
Rosenblum, ch. 3: "Documentation: Landscape and Architecture," pp. 127-43.
Recommended: Dippie, "Representing the Other: The North American Indian," in Edwards, ed. Anthropology & Photography BB & FAR; Trachtenberg, "Naming the View," in Reading American Photographs
T 10/9 PHOTOGRAPHING THE OTHER: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
Readings: Street, "British Popular Anthropology: Exhibiting and Photographing the Other" Anthropology and Photography BB & FAR
Wallis, "Black Bodies, White Science" BB & FAR
R 10/11 PHOTOGRAPHING THE OTHER: SOCIAL CONTROL AT HOME
Readings: Solomon-Godeau, "Reconsidering Erotic Photography: Notes for a Project of Historical Salvage" BB & FAR
Sekula, "The Body and the Archive," BB & FAR
Due: 3rd Response paper on Sekula
T 10/16 IS IT ART?
Readings: Lady Eastlake,"Photography," in Classic Essays
Baudelaire, "The Modern Public and Photography," in Classic Essays
Robinson, "Idealism, Realism, Expressionism," in Classic Essays; Emerson,"Hints on Art," in Classic Essays
Recommended: Rosenblum, ch. 5: "Photography and Art: The First Phase," pp. 208-43; Rosenblum, ch. 7: "Art Photography: Another Aspect," pp. 296-339
R 10/18 PICTORIALISM & EARLY MODERNISM
Readings: Stieglitz, "Pictorial Photography," in Classic Essays
Strand, "Photography" & "Photography and the New God," in Classic Essays
T 10/23 MIDTERM ESSAY EXAM
R 10/25 THE FACE OF OUR TIMES: AUGUST SANDER & EUGENE ATGET
Readings: Clarke, "Public Faces, Private Lives: August Sander and the Social Typology of the Portrait Photograph," The Portrait in Photography BB & FAR
Benjamin, "A Short History of Photography," in Classic Essays
Recommended: Rosenblum, pp. 278-79
T 10/30 ART & REVOLUTION IN GERMANY & RUSSIA
Readings: Lavin, "Heartfield in Context" BB & FAR
Rodchenko, "Against the Synthetic Portrait, for the Snapshot," in Photography in the Modern Era BB & FAR
Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" BB
Recommended: Buchloh, "From Faktura to Photography" in The Contest of Meaning FAR; Rosenblum, "A Short Technical History: Part II"
Rosenblum, ch. 9: "Art, Photography, and Modernism," pp. 392-441
Due: 4th Response paper on Benjamin
R 11/1 "BEAUTY WILL BE CONVULSIVE": SURREALIST PHOTOGRAPHY
Readings: Krauss, "Photography in the Service of Surrealism," in L'Amour Fou BB & FAR
Man Ray, "The Age of Light," in Classic Essays
Sat 11/3 PMA Visit Students will visit the PMA to see and discuss the Julien Levy
Collection of photographs. Sessions have been scheduled for 10a and 11a to keep
the group size manageable. Students will sign up for one of the sessions in class.
T 11/6 SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY I
Readings: Solomon-Godeau, "Who Is Speaking Thus?" in Photography at the Dock BB & FAR
Hine, "Social Photography," in Classic Essays
Rosenblum, ch. 8: "Documentation: The Social Scene," pp. 340-83
Due: 5th Response paper on Solomon-Godeau
R 11/8 SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY II
Readings: Rubinfien, "The Poetry of Plain Seeing" BB & FAR
T 11/13 THE NEW PHOTOGRAPHY: FRANK, ARBUS, CARTIER-BRESSON
Readings: Sontag, "American, Seen Through a Glass, Darkly," in On Photography BB & FAR
Recommended: Rosenblum, "A Short Technical History: Part III"
Rosenblum, ch. 11: "Photography Since 1950: The Straight Image"
R 11/15 NEWS AND INFORMATION
Readings: Orvell, "Weegee's Voyeurism and the Mastery of Urban Disorder" BB & FAR
Freund, excerpts from Photography & Society BB & FAR
Recommended: Squiers, "Class Struggle: The Invention of Paparrazi Photography and the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales," in Over Exposed FAR; Kozloff, "Photographers at War," The Privileged Eye BB & FAR
Rosenblum, ch. 10: "Words and Pictures: Photographs in Print Media"
T 11/20 PICTURING DESIRE: ADVERTISING & POPULAR CULTURE
Due: Thesis Paper
R 11/22 HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! NO CLASS!!
T 11/27 CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY: NATURAL & CULTURAL LANDSCAPES
Readings: Bright, "Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men," in The Contest of Meaning BB & FAR
Rosenblum, ch. 12: "Photography Since 1950: Manipulations and Color," pp. 568-607
R 11/29 CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY: THE BODY/THE BODY POLITIC
Readings: Philips, "Cindy Sherman's Cindy Shermans," in Cindy Sherman BB & FAR
Tannenbaum, "Robert Mapplethorpe: The Philadelphia Story" BB & FAR
Bright, "Mirrors and Window Shoppers: Lesbians, Photography, and the Politics of Visibility," in Over Exposed BB & FAR
T 12/4 VIRTUAL REALITY: ART/PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Readings: Baudrillard, "The Precession of Simulacra" in Art After Modernism BB & FAR
Recommended: Rosenblum, ch. 12, pp. 607-23; Batchen, "Ectoplasm: Photography in the Digital Age," in Over Exposed BB & FAR
R 12/6 CONCLUSIONS
BOOKS ON RESERVE IN FISHER FINE ARTS LIBRARY
Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (1981)
Geoffrey Batchen, Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography (1997)
Walter Benjamin, Illuminations (1968)
Richard Bolton, The Contest of Meaning (1997)
Caroline Brothers, War and Photography (1997)
Alfred L. Bush & Lee Clark Mitchell, The Photograph and the American Indian (1994)
Graham Clark, ed., The Portrait in Photography (1992)
Jonathan Crary, The Techniques of the Observer (1990)
Douglas Crimp, On the Museum's Ruins (1995)
Elizabeth Edwards, ed., Anthropology and Photography (1992)
Gisele Freund, Photography & Society (1980)
Vicki Goldberg, The Power of Photography (1991)
Max Kozloff, The Privileged Eye (1987)
Rosalind Krauss & Jane Livingston, L'Amour Fou (1985)
Jean-Claude Lemagny & André Rouillé, A History of Photography (1987)
Carol Mavor, Pleasures Taken: Performances of Sexuality and Loss in Victorian Photographs (1995)
Weston J. Naef, The Era of Exploration: The Rise of Landscape Photography in the American West, 1860-1885 (1975)
Christopher Phillips, ed., Photography in the Modern Era (1989)
Naomi Rosenblum, A History of Women Photographers (1994)
Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography (1997)
Alan Sekula, On the Invention of Photographic Meaning
Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Photography at the Dock (1991)
Susan Sontag, On Photography (1977)
Carol Squiers, ed., Over Exposed (1999)
Carol Squiers, ed. The Critical Image
Timothy Sweet, Traces of War: Poetry, Photography, and the Crisis of the Union
John Szarkowski, Photography Until Now (1990)
John Tagg, The Burden of Representation (1988)
Allan Trachtenberg, ed., Classic Essays on Photography (1980)
Allan Trachtenberg, Reading American Photographs: Images as History, Mathew Brady to Walker Evans (1989)
Allan Trachtenberg, America and Lewis Hine: Photographs 1904-1940
Brian Wallis, ed., Art After Modernism (1984)
Mike Weaver, ed. The Art of Photography, 1839-1989
Mike Weaver, British Photography in the Nineteenth Century: The Fine Art Tradition (1989)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Cindy Sherman (1987)
Steve Yates, ed., The Poetics of Space: A Critical Photographic Anthology (1995)