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Bard College Catalogue 2023-24
Stephen Shore (director), Lucas Blalock, Jasmine Clarke, Laurie Dahlberg, Tim Davis, An-My Lê, Tanya Marcuse, Gilles Peress, Walid Raad, Bryson Rand, Laura Steele
RequirementsPhotography students are expected to take and pass one studio course in photography each semester; Art History 113, History of Photography; at least one upper-level art history course; and one additional art history and visual culture course. Moderation occurs at the end of the fourth semester: by that time photography majors should have earned at least 60 credits and taken History of Photography 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.
Recent Senior Projects in Photography
- “The Air That Rests on the Horizon”
- “American Typologies: Crosscountry”
- “The Hair of the Dog That Bit You”
- “The Veins I Couldn’t See”
CoursesFollowing is a course of study for studio classes. First semester: Photography 101, Introduction to 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, Advanced Photography I and II. Students work on their Senior Project in the seventh and eighth semesters.
The descriptions below represent a sampling of courses from the past four years.
Introduction to Photography
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.
Photography for Nonmajors
An introduction to both the techniques and aesthetics of black and white photography as a means of self-expression. Systematic instruction in darkroom techniques along with weekly criticism of individual work provides a basic understanding of the use of the camera as an expressive tool. Open to Upper College students who have successfully moderated in disciplines other than photography.
Beyond the material technique of photography lies a visual technique. This involves learning to see the way a camera sees and learning how a photograph, by its nature, transforms the world in front of the camera. The first half of the course 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.
Photography and Instagram
With more than 700 million monthly users, Instagram has become one of the most ubiquitous means of visual communication. A growing number of artists are exploring Instagram as a platform for artistic expression. This course examines the history of “notational photography” and Instagram’s relation to the Polaroid and other instantaneous photographic media. It then explores strategies—the visual notation, scrapbook, visual diary, curated feed, and use of serial imagery—for using Instagram as a medium of communication.
The Photo Diary
DESIGNATED: OSUN COURSE
From its earliest days, practitioners of photography found value in documenting what was at arm’s reach. In a digital age, this urge to weigh and measure the world around us is amplified. Everyone is creating collections and archives that are typically left unedited. This course helps students hone their diaries to make them more insightful, more meaningful. Virginia Woolf wrote of writing a diary, “It loosens the ligaments,” and this class is intended as an exploration of how we can stretch ourselves photographically.
Photographic Portrait / Self-Portrait
An introduction to analogue black-and-white photography with a special focus on the expressive, conceptual, and political possibilities of portraiture and self-portraiture. Discussions of historic and contemporary photographs by diverse practitioners are the springboard for assignments and discussion. Students write an analysis of a photograph on a weekly basis in tandem with visual work. The course provides instruction in darkroom techniques, and weekly criticism of individual work gives the student a basic understanding of the camera as an expressive tool.
The View Camera
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.
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.
Photography and Ethics
CROSS-LISTED: HUMAN RIGHTS
This introduction to contemporary discourse on ethics and photography explores imaging technologies and circulation, from analog color photography to deep fakes, and the flood of images on social media to white-cube galleries. The goal is to develop a nuanced understanding of the power dynamics inherent in representation, including the role of the photograph in truth and human rights claims; the imbalance between photographer, subject, and viewer; and how power imbalances fluctuate through intersections of race, class, gender, and ability. Artists and theorists considered: Azoulay, Sekula, Sontag, Farocki, others.
Bookmaking for Visual Artists
CROSS-LISTED: STUDIO ARTS
The course provides students working in a variety of media with the opportunity to express themselves in the unique medium of the book, using such elements as page sequencing, scale, and layout. Books are created using print-on-demand digital services (as opposed to hand bookbinding). Demonstrations of scanning, interfaces with InDesign and Photoshop, and other tools augment regular critiques of books produced.
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 have dealt with such questions, and “answering” the questions through individual projects. Prerequisites: Photography 201 and 203.
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.
Photography and Sculpture
CROSS-LISTED: STUDIO ARTS
Photography and sculpture will always have their own identities, but the degree to which photographers are making sculptural installations and sculptors are incorporating photographs in their pieces are just two examples of an expanded field of cross-disciplinary work. The four pillars of this course, in which students work at the intersection of the two disciplines, are: making, research, experimentation, and discussion. As the semester progresses, students have opportunities for collaboration; by the end of the term, each student realizes a final independent project.
The Portrait and Its Guises
Photography 314 / Art History 314
See Art History 314 for a full course description.
Art and the Uses of Photography
In this study of photography as a material or tool in art making, 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.
How to Be Anxious: Critical Issues in Image Making
CROSS-LISTED: HUMAN RIGHTS
Through careful attention to the problems of image making, this course attempts a collective reframing of anxiety as a tool for developing criticality and social engagement. Over the course of the semester, the class looks at the intersections of photography, performance, and activism, using collaborative exercises and group readings to make (and learn from) art that addresses hierarchies of institutional and societal power. Also considered are important photographs across the history of the medium as they relate to issues of ethics and representation.
The senior seminar is required of all seniors majoring in photography. It meets weekly and carries no credit.