Fall Syllabus is now Live

Middle America, 2022

The syllabus/schedule for ART 363 for this Fall of 2022 is now ready. While the main dates and events are in place, the schedule will continue to be updated throughout the semester as we line up visiting speakers, book viewings, and other presentations. The course goal is for each of you to produce a photographic documentary project that establishes conversations around environmental, political, and health issues simultaneously.

I look forward to seeing you in class this Thursday, August 25th, 1:30 PM in Wiggins Room 122. You may work with your choice of camera and process (film or digital). We will always do our editing and finishing through the digital work flow. To help with that, please bring the following to our first class:

  • You camera gear if you have this
  • A hard drive with at least 30 MB of free space (you may already have one with a Lightroom catalogue from previous classes – this would be ideal)
  • You laptop if you have one

Additionally, the following texts are core references. You may already have them. If not, please go ahead and purchase them from the Bookstore in the coming week or so.

  • Robert Frank, The Americans, Steidl
  • Henry Horenstein, Digital Photography: a basic manual, Little BrownHenry 
  • Dawoud Bey, On Photographing People and Communities, Aperture .

Bieke Depoorter

Photographer Bieke Depoorter will be visiting our class, via Zoom, on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. “”The relationships that Bieke Depoorter establishes with her subjects are key to her approach to her work, and at the foundation of her artistic practice. Accidental encounters are often the starting point for projects: some of them leading to relationships which are years long. The ways these interactions naturally develop dictate the nature of Depoorter’s work.” – Magnum web site.

Bieke will take us through multiple projects and collections of her work, all the while calling us to be “a person first, photographer second” — while also exploring the complexities that come with this approach.

Please study her work ahead of class and be prepared to engage in what promises to be a rich discussion.

Charles Harbutt’s “The Spaceship”

CHARLES HARBUTT UNITED STATES, 1935-2015
LE MISTRAL (WOMAN ON THE TRAIN), FRANCE, 1975
Gelatin silver print
16 x 20 inches
https://www.peterfetterman.com/artists/98-charles-harbutt/works/28479-charles-harbutt-le-mistral-woman-on-the-train-france-1975/

“24 hours from when you start this assignment, you will board a spaceship headed toward a point in the solar system from which it’s unlikely you will return. No one is going with you – at least no critics or art buyers, no editors or savants. Certainly no teachers. There is nothing on the walls of the spaceship, no mirrors or paintings. The food comes in tubes with barcodes for labels. There is no radio or hi-fi, no TV or movies, no games or books. No dope or alcohol either. But you can dream.

All you can take with you as art or entertainment, as puzzle, past time, or memento of life on Earth are the photographs you take in the twenty-four-hour period before blast-off. Take the day off, at least from all the strain to make “good photographs.” You can take any pictures you want, any way you wish. Maybe you’ll make a “bad” photograph in a new and original way.
Bon voyage!

Charles Harbutt

From Fulford, Jason and Gregory Halpern, editors. The Photographer’s Playbook. New York, Aperture, 2014. p. 138

The Liberal Eye

Image from The Guardian Archive, on exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery

From an article about the current exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery, London

Nesrine Malik, The Liberal Eye

To accompany the exhibition The Picture Library, Guardian columnist and author Nesrine Malik reflects on the legacy and significance of  The Guardian Archive in the newspaper’s’ 200th year and asks what it tells us about the lens through which we are shown the world.  

The Guardian’s 200th anniversary year arrives with a history and a newspaper archive that seems not just a record of the past, but of a world that no longer exists. Our position, standing as we are after the suspension of the pandemic, removes us as viewers from a linear time continuum. We are looking at a past sealed off by the experience of the pandemic, a world that was before a great halting, before great loss, and before a great test to our economies and public health systems, one that many countries have failed. read more

from: https://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/photography-culture/picture-library-liberal-eye-nesrine-malik

Frank McElhinney: False Start, Limitless Ending

I invite DocPhotons to come to class early, at 1 PM CST, on Tuesday, August 31, to join a live online event from Scotland.

Frank McElhinney: from “False Start, Limitless Ending (2014)”

From the Stirling Photography Festival announcement:

‘False Start, Limitless Ending’ is a series of kite aerial photographs made from the source stream of the River Forth that feeds Loch Chon all the way out to the sea. It is a meditation on mortality and the cycle of life. 

The photographs were originally made in 2014 in response to the theme of FLOW that was proposed that year by the Jill Todd Photography Award, in which the series won first prize. 

The wind blown, aerial, perspective of places like Culross, Burnt Island and Fife Ness was intended to reflect in material terms the idea of flow. The inspiration for the work lay in the events of 1314 when a great battle had been fought at Bannockburn and several thousand people had died, many by drowning in the burn and River Forth. Frank had developed a body of work about Bannockburn for his degree show in June 2014. The show was cancelled due to fire. Within a few days of the fire Frank was photographing the waters of the Forth. 

In this talk, Frank McElhinney will cover the series made along the River Forth but will also discuss his process for making work. In particular he will examine the ways in which one project leads to another and themes addressed years earlier tend to flow through the work and resurface.

ART 363 Syllabus now up!

Jean St. Louis’ daughter in the kitchen. Ville de Dieu, Port Au Prince, Haiti. December, 2011. Pradip Malde

I am excited that this Fall of 2021 is the first time that “ART 363: Advanced projects in Documentary Photography” is offered as a stand-alone course at Sewanee. The class syllabus and schedule is now available.

Students will produce documentary projects around a topic in terms of its underlying environmental, political and human health issues.

The first class meeting is at 1:30 PM on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, in Wiggins 122. Please bring any photographic equipment with you, an external hard drive (at least 500GB of free space), notebook, and a padlock. Wear masks.