THE AMERICAN EYE Spring Quarter: 2009
Bob Haft, Lab I, room 1004
Phone: 867-6474 (or simply 6474 if calling from campus)
Welcome to our program's website. Here you can review the images that were presented in class lectures and consult the program calendar. I will try to keep it updated as much as possible, but be aware that some changes to our schedule that are mentioned in class may not be available on the website for a day or two.
This is a sophomore-level and above group contract that involves hands-on photography, reading American literature, and a study of the American history that helped shape the way photographic images of the U.S. have looked for the past 160 years. We will begin with a short look at the birth of photography in Europe and then how it was used as a tool of documentation for major points in American history, such as The Civil War, the opening of the American West, the Roaring 20s, The Great Depression, World War II, and the 1950s through the 1970s.
In addition to looking at and learning to read photographs by others we will learn to make photographs (black and white) as recording devices for our own lives and times. Subsequently, you are responsible for becoming proficient in the use of 35mm cameras and will need to purchase appropriate supplies; these include at least 24 rolls of 36-exposure film, at least 100 sheets of 8x10 b/w glossy photo paper, possibly some 11x14 b/w photo paper, and other incidentals. The estimated cost of these supplies is $150, but you may find that you need to spend more than this depending upon your interest and skill level.
Our main text for the quarter will be American Photography by Miles Orvell. We will also read the following novels in the order listed:
The Red Badge of Courage, The Jungle, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, On the Road, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Classes are tentatively scheduled to meet on Mondays (9 to 12 and 1-3), Wednesdays (9 to 12), and Thursdays (9-12 and 1-4). Mondays and Wednesdays are reserved for darkroom work, workshops and lectures; we will meet in Library 1326 and the Photo Darkroom on these days. Thursdays will primarily be seminar and critique days; seminars will be held in Lab 2, 2211, and critiques will be held in SEM2 E4115. NOTE: On Thursday, April 9, we will have an all-day fieldtrip to Seattle to visit a working photographer (Doug Plummer) and view a show of photographs at the UW’s Henry Gallery.
Students will be evaluated on their attendance and participation in all class activities, shooting the required amount of film, production of a portfolio of original photographs, completing all writing assignments and for giving an oral and visual presentation on the work of an American photographer.
A total of 16 credits will be awarded in Black and White Photography, Art History and American Literature. In order to receive full credit you need to complete all assigned readings and assignments, attend class regularly and participate in seminars and critiques.