Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

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Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Bard College Catalogue 2013-14



Stephen Shore (director), David Bush, Lois Conner, Laurie Dahlberg, Tim Davis, Barbara Ess, Larry Fink, An-My Lê, Gilles Peress, John Pilson, Luc Sante


A photographer’s growth is the product of the simultaneous development of three interdependent factors. The first is the conscious or intuitive understanding of the ­visual language of photography—that is, how the world is translated into a photograph and how a photograph orders a segment of the world in the space and time that it shows. This is a photo­graph’s grammar. The second factor is the acquisition of technique. Without a technical foundation there is no possibility of expression; the broader the foundation, the greater the scope of expression. This is a photograph’s vocabulary. The third factor is the photographer’s work on his or her self. This entails overcoming visual and psychological preconceptions and conditioning, deepening and clarifying ­perceptions, opening emotions, and finding ­passions. This is a photograph’s content. The Photography Program instructs students in this three-part process and provides a historical and aesthetic framework for their development.


Photography students are expected to take and pass one studio course in photography each semester; Photography/Art History 113, History of Photography; at least one upper-level history of photography course; one additional art history course; and Physics 118, Light and Color. Moderation occurs at the end of the fourth semester: by that time photography majors should have earned at least 60 credits and taken Photography/Art History 113 and at least two semesters of photography studio classes. The student meets with a Moderation board, presenting two short papers and a portfolio of 30 prints, 8” x 10” or larger. The portfolio demonstrates to the Moderation board whether the student can see and think photographically, can communicate his or her perceptions and feelings in pictures, and possesses the technical skills required for expression.


Following is a course of study for studio classes. First semester: Photography 101, Introduction to Photography, or Photography 103, Basic Photography. In the second through fourth semesters: Photography 105, Photographic Seeing; Photography 201, The View Camera; and Photography 203, Color Photography. In the fifth and sixth semesters: Photography 301-302, Digital Imaging, and Photography 305, Advanced Photography. Students work on their Senior Project in the seventh and eighth semesters.

Introduction to Photography
Photography 101
An introduction to the techniques and aesthetics of black-and-white photography as a means of self-expression. Systematic instruction in darkroom techniques and weekly criticism of individual work provide a solid understanding of the use of the camera as an ­expressive tool. Required materials include a camera (35mm or 21/4”) with fully adjustable ­f-stops and shutter speeds and a handheld reflected light-exposure meter. No previous darkroom experience is required; admission by portfolio.

Basic Photography
Photography 103
This course covers the same material as Photography 101 but is intended for beginning students with some photography experience. Admission by portfolio.

Introduction to Photography for Nonmajors
Photography 104
An introduction to the techniques and aesthetics of black-and-white photography as a means of self-expression, including instruction in darkroom techniques and weekly criticism of individual work. The student must have a camera (35mm or 21/4”) with fully adjustable f-stops and shutter speeds and a handheld reflected light-exposure meter. Open to Upper College students who have successfully moderated in disciplines other than photography.

Photographic Seeing
Photography 105
Beyond the material technique of photography lies a visual technique. This involves learning to see the way a camera sees; learning how a photo­graph, by its nature, transforms the world in front of the camera. The first half of the semester is devoted to exploring this visual grammar and how it clarifies a photograph’s meaning and the photographer’s intent. In the second half, students pursue independent projects. Prerequisite: Photography 101 or 103.

Photography 106
Light is the coauthor of image. Light can be brazen or bland. It can dramatize or simply describe. The assignments alternate between real or natural light and artificial or created light and attempt to clarify their differences and similarities. Learning to control light broadens a photographer's perception of ambient options. Prerequisite: Photography 101 or 103.

History of Photography
Photography 113 / Art History 113
See Art History 113 for a full course description.

The View Camera
Photography 201
View cameras, the first cameras, were the primary photographic tools for the first half of photography’s history. They offer unsurpassed clarity, tonality, and image control. Operation of the view camera and advanced darkroom techniques are demonstrated as the class explores the expressive potential of the conscious use of the camera’s precise control of the image. Students are supplied with 4" x 5" camera outfits. Prerequisite: Photography 105. Admission by portfolio.

Color Photography
Photography 203
An introduction to the problem of rethinking photographic picture making through the medium of color photography. Technical areas explored include transparencies, color negatives, and type-C prints. Admission by portfolio.

View Camera: Hudson Project
Photography 205
The operation of the view camera and advanced darkroom techniques are demonstrated. After six weeks of technical and darkroom assignments and exposure to past documentary visual strategies, students engage in a project documenting the city of Hudson, New York, half an hour north of Bard, and explore how a photograph communicates visual information. Stu-dents are supplied with 4” x 5” camera outfits. Admission by portfolio.

Advanced Photography
Photography 301-302
To prepare the student for ongoing independent work, this course emphasizes the exploration of visual problems by way of asking good questions of oneself and one’s work, seeing how other photographers and artists in other media have dealt with such questions, and “answering” the questions through individual projects. Prerequisites: Photography 201 and 203.

Digital Imaging
Photography 305
An introduction to the use of Adobe Photoshop for image processing. The class first studies techniques for color management, scanning, image processing, and outputting. Students then pursue individual projects, which are critiqued in class. Permission of the instructor is required.

Art and the Uses of Photography
Photography 316 / Art 316
In this study of photography as a material or tool in art making, the emphasis is placed on ­developing ideas and using simple, direct photographic means to express them. Students create a body of work with snapshots, slides, laser Xeroxes, Polaroids, photocollage, and other basic forms. The class visits New York galleries and museums to consider the use of photographic-based work in contemporary art practice. Admission by interview and portfolio.

The Employment of Photography
Photography 321
cross-listed: human rights
This course addresses the many purposes to which photography is and has been put, outside the realm of art: the studio portrait and postmortem portrait, journalistic and scientific photography, forensic photography, “spirit” and kirlean photography, erotic photography, advertising photography, fumetti, and the many manifestations of the snapshot. Methods of production and reproduction—the carte de visite, the postcard, the Polaroid—are studied in their social and historical context.

Photography, History, and News
Photography 328
cross-listed: art history, sts
This course considers war photography, tabloid photography, disaster coverage, photojournalism, propaganda, and the role of photography in preserving evidence of changes in daily life over the past two centuries. Special attention is given to objectivity, rhetoric, chance, and the ambiguity of the photographer’s position in a crisis.

Senior Seminar
The senior seminar is required of all seniors majoring in photography. It meets weekly and carries no credit.