Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to contextualize, at least in outline, the main actors in the history of photography, connecting them to the general historical and cultural environment of their time, and to read the photographic works of such authors in their characterizing elements. Another goal of this course is to provide students with the critical means necessary to find their way in the intricate 20th-Century theoretical debate on photography: students will be required to show their ability in analyzing and interpreting the most important texts on the photographic image.
Course contents summary
The course offers a survey of the history of photography through the reading of works by all the most relevant photographers active in the 19th and 20th Century. Particular attention will be given to the groups and movements representing particular shifts in the use of the medium. Moreover, the course will present a model of analysis of the photographic image from a theoretical and critical perspective, aimed at foregrounding its elements of originality and peculiarity among other kinds of visual document.
Beaumont Newhall, Storia della fotografia, Einaudi, Torino, 1984
Arturo Carlo Quintavalle, Messa a fuoco. Studi sulla fotografia, Feltrinelli, Milano, 1983 (introduzione)
Frontal lectures aimed at giving an outiline of the specific methodology, with readings from the main theoretical sources and participated analyses of a series of pictures.
Assessment methods and criteria
Students will be required to be able to read the photographic document in its technical and linguistic specificity, to put its formal elements in relation with the general context of the developments of both photography and the critical debate about it. During the exam, students will have to show their ability in autonomously apply the method of analysis to emblematic cases seen in class, as well as the acquisition of a proper, specific terminology.