Photography, Theory and History
  I: Administrative Information   II: Course Details   III: Topical Outline(s)  Printable Version
Section I: Administrative Information
  Total hours: 36.0
Credit Value: 2.5
Credit Value Notes: N/A
Effective: Winter 2019
Prerequisites: (VDES70006 VDES70029)
Corequisites: N/A
Equivalents: N/A
Pre/Co/Equiv Notes: N/A

Program(s): Digital Photography
Program Coordinator(s): N/A
Course Leader or Contact: N/A
Version: 20190107_00
Status: Approved (APPR)

Section I Notes: This course is offered in a classroom version and an online version. In the classroom version, there are three hours per week of classroom instruction. The online version is a web-based course offered entirely online through Sheridan and hosted by Sheridan College. Students taking this course will need reliable access to the internet, and should have a basic level of comfort using computers as well as the self- discipline to study online. Students can expect to spend an additional three hours per week for online activities such as postings, discussions, and homework.

Section II: Course Details

Detailed Description
The discoveries and inventions that made photography possible as both an art and a science will be discussed. Examine real surviving examples of vintage photographs and create a photogram using the Cyanotype vintage chemical process. Videos and hundreds of vintage and contemporary images will illustrate the evolution of photography from the 1830's to present day. The work of important documentary, portrait, fashion and art photographers will be examined and discussed. Basic camera operations will be reviewed and the importance of balancing both techniques and creativity will be stressed.

Program Context

Digital Photography Program Coordinator(s): N/A

Course Critical Performance and Learning Outcomes

  Critical Performance:
By the end of this course, students will have demonstrated the ability to discuss key concepts of the evolution of photography from its history to present day and create photographic images to illustrate these concepts.
Learning Outcomes:

To achieve the critical performance, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Discuss the evolution of photography over the course of the medium's 180-year history.
  2. Differentiate between key movements, photographers, and technologies in the mediums history.
  3. Participate in discussions of historic and current photographic practices and trends.
  4. Analyze key texts in photography theory.
  5. Explain the impact of modern and historic photography on current practices.
  6. Evaluate the artistic work of current and historic photographers.
  7. Show technical knowledge and aesthetic knowledge when operating a camera.
  8. Create a series of images that integrate knowledge of the medium's history, knowledge of aesthetic trends, and knowledge of basic technical skills.
  9. Write an artist statement explaining the rational and concept behind their photographic images.
  10. Critique the aesthetics of the photographic image in terms of form, content, and design.

Evaluation Plan
Students demonstrate their learning in the following ways:

 Evaluation Plan: ONLINE
 Online Group Discussions50.0%
 Photo Assignment: The Portrait15.0%
 Photo Assignment: Wikipedia Article / History Book20.0%

Provincial Context
The course meets the following Ministry of Colleges and Universities requirements:


Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition
PLAR Contact (if course is PLAR-eligible) - Office of the Registrar

  • Not Eligible for PLAR

Section III: Topical Outline
Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and class timetabling.
Instruction Mode: Online
Professor: Multiple Professors
RequiredTextbookThe Photography Reader: Theory and History, Liz Wells, 2nd, ISBN 9780415749183

Applicable student group(s): Continuing Education Students
Course Details:

Orientation: Welcome 

  • Introduction
  • Topics/Main Idea: Introduction to the content and structure of the course
  • Learning Activity and Assessment: group discussions

Module 1: 19th Century (Weeks 1-4)

  • Topics/Main Idea: The birth of photography and the early social, artistic, and technological advancements.
  • Social movements discussed:
    • Carte de Visit
    • Daguerrotype-mania
    • Uses of photography in the sciences
    • Early war photography
    • Resistance to photography as an artistic medium      
  • Technology discussed:
    • Heliography
    • Calotype
    • Daguerrotype
    • Ambrotype
    • Motion picture studies
    • Kodak
  • Artists discussed:
    • Niecpe
    • Daguerre
    • Talbot
    • Nadar
    • Fenton
    • Brady
    • Muybridge
    • Riis
    • Hine
    • Cameron.

Module 2: Early to mid 20th Century & Modernism (Weeks 5 - 8)

  • Topics/Main Idea: The evolution of photography as an artistic medium, a medium for advertising, a medium for journalism, and its evolution in personal life.
  • Movements discussed:
    • Pictorialism
    • Photo-Secessionists
    • Straight photography
    • Documentary photography
    • Photojournalism
    • Portraiture
    • FSA
    • Magnum photography
    • Life magazine
    • Vogue magazine
    • Fashion photography
    • The Americans
    • Surrealism
    • Dada
    • Colour photography,
    • Photography as fine art
    • The Family of Man,
  • Artists discussed:
    • Steiglitz
    • Weston
    • Adams
    • Man Ray
    • Moholy-Nagy
    • Portraiture
    • Atget
    • Van Der Zee
    • Cartier-Bresson
    • White
    • Frank
    • Steichen
    • Cunningham
    • Weegee
    • Karsh
    • Callahan
    • Avedon
    • Penn.

Module 3: Late 20th Century & Post-Modernism (Week 9 - 12)

  • Topics/Main Idea: Photography in the age of postmodernism as it relates to fine art, journalism, and commercial photography.
  • Movements discussed:
    • Post modernism
    • Appropriation art
    • Anti-aesthetics
    • Digital photography
    • Feminism
    • The emerging status of colour photography in fine art  
    • Subjective journalism
    • Conceptual art
    • Performance art
    • The body
    • Fabrication
  • Artist discussed:
    • Parr
    • Winogrand
    • Warhol
    • Arbus
    • Bourdin
    • Michals
    • Owens
    • Eggleston
    • Shore
    • Nauman
    • Sherman
    • Levine
    • Goldin
    • Witkin
    • Wall
    • Hockney
    • Serrano
    • Mann
    • Mapplethorpe
    • Burtynsky
    • Gursky
    • Salgado
    • Mark.

Sheridan Policies

All Sheridan policies can be viewed on the Sheridan policy website.

Academic Integrity: The principle of academic integrity requires that all work submitted for evaluation and course credit be the original, unassisted work of the student. Cheating or plagiarism including borrowing, copying, purchasing or collaborating on work, except for group projects arranged and approved by the professor, or otherwise submitting work that is not the student's own, violates this principle and will not be tolerated. Students who have any questions regarding whether or not specific circumstances involve a breach of academic integrity are advised to review the Academic Integrity Policy and procedure and/or discuss them with the professor.

Copyright: A majority of the course lectures and materials provided in class and posted in SLATE are protected by copyright. Use of these materials must comply with the Acceptable Use Policy, Use of Copyright Protected Work Policy and Student Code of Conduct. Students may use, copy and share these materials for learning and/or research purposes provided that the use complies with fair dealing or an exception in the Copyright Act. Permission from the rights holder would be necessary otherwise. Please note that it is prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote. It is also prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own or your own work with the intent to assist others in cheating on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote.

Intellectual Property: Sheridan's Intellectual Property Policy generally applies such that students own their own work. Please be advised that students working with external research and/or industry collaborators may be asked to sign agreements that waive or modify their IP rights. Please refer to Sheridan's IP Policy and Procedure.

Respectful Behaviour: Sheridan is committed to provide a learning environment that supports academic achievement by respecting the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of every person engaged in the learning process. Behaviour which is inconsistent with this principle will not be tolerated. Details of Sheridan's policy on Harassment and Discrimination, Academic Integrity and other academic policies are available on the Sheridan policy website.

Accessible Learning: Accessible Learning coordinates academic accommodations for students with disabilities. For more information or to register, please see the Accessible Learning website (Statement added September 2016)

Course Outline Changes: The information contained in this Course Outline including but not limited to faculty and program information and course description is subject to change without notice. Any changes to course curriculum and/or assessment shall adhere to approved Sheridan protocol. Nothing in this Course Outline should be viewed as a representation, offer and/or warranty. Students are responsible for reading the Important Notice and Disclaimer which applies to Programs and Courses.

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