265MC- Concepts and Approaches Introduction

Today we were introduced to our first module, ‘Concepts and Approaches’. This is a theory based module to help us develop our writing and presentation skills in relation to photography, this will allow us to express our own viewpoints and ideas as well as researching into others opinions and providing comparisons of the two. As after uni we will have to do both of these things if we want to be successful. During this module we will look into a range of genres, contexts and practices by taking part in workshops, lectures and seminars. During these we will be looking at the current and contemporary debates within photography and having our own input on them too. Although this seems daunting, I am still looking forward to this, writing isn’t my strong point but I am willing to take on the challenge. We have 15 weeks to complete this module so there is plenty of time for rewrites of my drafts to make my essay as good as possible. The other side of the module, the presentation, is another one of my weaker points, although after doing two last year I am improving so am curious to see how I will do with another one. We get to chose the topic,this enables me to chose something that I am truly interested in and passionate about, hopefully making a better presentation.

These are the learning objectives for this module:

LO1. Demonstrate awareness of a range of contemporary debates and critical frameworks used to interpret photographs and the construction of photographic meaning. Essay or presentation, current debates

LO2. Demonstrate ability to undertake a range of research techniques and apply findings to visual analysis. Different ways to research

LO3. Demonstrate ability to produce a presentation that synthesizes research and applies critical frameworks in order to sustain a coherent argument and the analysis of specific practices. Pulls together all the research into one presentation

LO4. Demonstrate ability to produce writing that synthesizes research and applies critical frameworks in order to sustains a coherent argument and the analysis of specific practices. Pulls together all research into an essay- applying ideas

The brief for this task is to select a single photograph or work of photographic art and discuss some of the ways this work is informed by different disciplines, ideologies and other practices, historical or contemporary, using visual examples and texts from the reading lists. This is what both our presentations and essays will be based around.

When picking my image or photographic work I need to make sure that it is in something that I am interested in and not something that I will easily get bored of, this will keep me going throughout the 15 week module and keep my motivation high. At the moment I am unsure of what I am going to chose, however I think it would probably be in the genre of fashion, and an on location shoot, not in the studio, this however could be mentioned and gives an interesting comparison. Over the next few weeks I am going to look through lots of photobooks to find a starting point. I can also be researching the genre of fashion while I am doing this. By picking fashion, the thing I am most interested in, and hoping to go into in the future, I will find out more about the style and learn more things that will without a doubt come in handy in the future. When researching I need to thin about what I’m interested and link this in, I need to ask questions to start my research off, these may later form into the title of my essay.

Here are a few points that I need to think about:

  • Develop arguments and discussions
  • Do not just describe visual examples
  • Use specialist books to contextualize
  • Use work worthy of exploration- a tool that can illustrate your ideas, something interesting, the intention of the work, it’s a body of work in itself, is it going to make a difference? Raise points and debates? Means different things to different people, brings up questions, already an existing body of writing or research in relation to the work
  • Back up with theory- research, theory, writing, quotations
  • Don’t over use quotations
  • Quotes must be correctly referred to- page numbers included
  • Bibliography and quotes- CU Harvard referencing
  • Put into your own words
  • Less in depth but avoid being too general and vague
  • Express your points clearly
  • Structures in a logical flow of information
  • Don’t wait for lectures to research your topic
  • Find a topic you want to know more about
  • Focus
  • Not just websites!

There are certain things that need to be in expressed in out essay/presentations:

  • One key artwork- followed by a succession of other images that ‘map’ a field of practice, historical reference point? Etc. Helps structure
  • Key texts and citations, images, ideas, quotes, historical periods, brain storm everything to help with the essay writing
  • Analysis of the composition, materials and cultural meaning of the artworks, rule of thirds etc. materials in and out of image, effects, paper etc. made by people with race, gender, political thoughts, given meaning, influences
  • Critical reflection on the relevant theories pertaining to a genre or form of practice
  • Personal conclusions/reflections, summarise your findings

The structure of our essay has to be considered and done correctly to allow it flow and read properly.

Essay Structure

  • Work visually, visualise the essay- brain storm all ideas
  • Introduction (500 words)
  • Section 1 (500 words)
  • Section 2 (500 words)
  • Section 3 (500 words)
  • Conclusion (500 words)
  • Bibliography (approx. 15-20 sources)
  • +/- 10%
  • Illustrations (Fig 1, 2,3 etc.) and caption images

It is a good idea to treat each section like a mini essay, this makes it easier to write and less daunting, the introduction will actually be one of the last things that I write and made up from all the other sections that have already been written.

There will be seven lectures over the course of this term to help us with our research and produce new research that we may not have already thought of, these lectures are:

1. An IntroducMon to the Origins and Developments of Photography Theory

2.  The LinguisMc Turn: Photoconceptualism and Thinking Photography

3.  The Pictures GeneraMon: Capitalism and Postmodernism

4.  Experiments in Documentary: FicMons Framed and Unframed

5.  The PoliMcs of Documentary: War and Gender

6.  Photography and the Expanded Field: Hybridity and Materiality

7.  The Digital Image and the Algorithmic Turn: New Media, Network Culture and Post-Internet Art

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