ARTH 438
Ambrotypes to Instagram: Photography and the Human Portrait Spring 2018
Division I Writing Skills
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“A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound?” exclaimed the nineteenth-century poet and critic Charles Baudelaire. With the invention of photography in the first half of the nineteenth century and with the digital revolution of the twentieth, portraiture arguably became more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound. In this seminar, we will explore this complicated and fascinating history. Photographic portraits are fine art and vernacular culture. They serve private and public functions. They help to fashion the self and construct group identity. They disguise and disclose the truth. In the classroom, galleries, and archives, we will investigate the problems of likeness and semblance, veracity and credibility. We will delve into the conflict between representations of individuals and representations of types, and we will attend to the complicated, sometimes fraught, relationship between photographer and subject, even when they are one and the same.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 10
Class#: 3992
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, short essays, individual presentations, and a final research paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: art history majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills

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