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Photography Between Art and Document, 1839 to Now


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Robert Maniura
  • Assessment: a 3000-word essay (60%) and three-hour examination (40%)

Module description

This module explores the histories of photography in Europe and America, from its conception at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present. As well as formal and aesthetic developments, we analyse some of the ways in which photographic images have been used in a variety of social contexts - artistic, commercial, personal and institutional. The module aims to provide not a comprehensive survey of photographic activities during the period, but a historical framework, locating some of the main issues and themes which have dominated debates about the nature and value of photographic images. Individual sessions are structured around the study of some of the key photographic practices during the period, and of some of the ways in which photography itself has been represented and conceptualised.

There is a mixture of lectures, lecturer-led seminars and student presentations. You are encouraged to contribute by commenting on set reading material, and generally by participating in class discussions. First-term topics focus on the nineteenth century, second-term topics on the twentieth century to the present.