Fine Arts | History of 20th Century Photography (UG)
A443 | 24835 | Cookman
This course surveys twentieth century photography as a
medium of art and communication. Major art-photography genres
include portraiture, landscape, still life, the nude and conceptual
photography. Major communication genres include the social
documentary tradition, the magazine picture story, fashion,
advertising and war photography.
The course also examines the impact of postmodern theory on
photographic practice and the understanding of photography.
We will survey photography as a medium of art and of communication,
with our primary emphasis beginning in the 1920s.
Most histories of photography present it as the interaction
of two major threads: 1) developments in optical, chemical, and
mechanical technologies, which make possible 2) the evolution of
photographic vision among master photographers. A shorthand phrase
for this concept is: “Technology drives the medium.”
Most histories of photography attempt to organize the vast
number of important photographers and iconic images into
chronological periods, artistic movements, or into categories of
theme and subject matter; for example, such genres as the nude,
portraiture, landscape. Most histories also situate the evolution of
photography against historical, biographical, economic and social
We will explore all these approaches and will also consider
critical ideas about photography and the photographic act. Many of
these ideas begin in the 1970s with the advent of post modernism.