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Special Topics in Photography (A) Being Social: Photography and Engagement Today

This course explores historical and contemporary ways in which photography has been used to examine social issues and invites students to produce work that responds to issues that are important to them. We will learn about photography’s historical significance in raising social awareness, analyzing the aesthetic and methodological strategies of modern and contemporary photographers seeking to catalyze economic, political and cultural change through the production of photographic images. Concurrently throughout the course, we will consider and construct our own definitions for the term social, looking at academic, artistic and informal contexts to gain critical insights into what it means for an issue to be social. Students will be tasked to produce one medium sized project that responds to social issues they are interested in exploring through the medium of photography, and will present their work for critical feedback. The class will create a group book project that challenges to define what social engagement in photography is today. The course will be based around central themes and critical texts. In addition to fine art photography, popular forms of the medium will also be considered including museum exhibitions, out in the field research by visiting a UC Natural Reserve, photojournalism, domestic photographs, scientific documentation, and social uses of the medium. Prerequisite(s): Art 150 or 156. Enrollment restricted to art majors. May be repeated for credit.