Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture Lecture/Seminars : 20 hrs
Seminars / Tutorials 3 x tutorials
Other Study Time: 177 hrs (General reading, Essay preparation, and Examination revision)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment CAL Test - 25%  Both assessed elements must be passed. Only the failed component need to be resubmitted  Essay - 25%( 2,500 words)  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. research and compose an essay that clearly demonstrates an ability to contextualize, reflect upon, and critically appraise an aspect of contemporary photographic practice (Aims: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I)
2. formulate ideas and opinions in a substantiated and orderly manner (Aims A,B,C,D,E,F,H,I)

CAL test to be used to:
3. analyse particular photographs in order to show an informed awareness of their possible reading
4. critique specific approaches to the medium of photography and contextualise these approaches in relation to the work of lens based artists

Brief description

This module examines the development of applications of photography to fine art since 1945 to the present time. It encapsulates the changes in imaging associated with genres such as landscape, documentary, self-portraiture, ethnicity and gender issues. It closes with the advent of digital photography as a new fine art tool. The period is examined in relation to changes in critical thinking particularly semiotics and the applications of specific theories to the photographic form


A. study the development of specific applications of photography from around 1945 to the present
B. develop convictions regarding the debates surrounding contemporary photographic practice
C. cultivate an ability and confidence to examine and compare ways in which photography is discussed and written about
D. develop a critical apparatus and criteria to evaluate specific images
E. sharpen students powers of judgement
F. form ideas relating to the interconnectedness of visual art disciplines
G. develop a specific program of research and a research methodology
H. undertake a systematic inquiry within a prescribed framework
I. form and test hypotheses


This structure is given for guidance only:

1 Introducing the course and issues
2 Exhibition visit/review 1
3 Reading photography (directorial, Symbolistic and Reportorial)
4 Photography in the School of Art collections
5 National Library of Wales collections
6 Case study (select British artist)
7 Case study: Diane Arbus
8 Case study: Martin Parr
9 New Land(scapes) for Old - new topographics
11 Landscape as mirror and window
12 On Photography: critical approaches
13 Case study: South Africa - photography, politics, race
14 Imaging the `other-: photographic politics
15 Exhibition visit/review 2
16 Women and the camera
17 The post-modern self: identity and the camera
18 Case study: Nan Goldin
19 Media and cyber culture
20 Italian photography in the School of Art collection
21 Exam preparation

Skill Development

Transferable skills

  • Self-directed project work -- through the production of the essay
  • IT and information handling -- you will be expected to word-process the essay and search the internet for research sources. Where appropriate, supporting work may be generated using computer-graphic software in consultation with individual tutors and subject to the availability of existing resources.
  • Writing in an academic context -- The essay will be composed in accordance with academic conventions.
  • Oral discussion and presentation -- These will be developed in the context of class discussions and seminars and presentations
  • Self-management -- you will be expected to construct a realistic timetable for the completion of discrete phases of research and writing in consultation with their supervisors.
  • Group activity - regular seminar discussions

Reading List

Aaron Scharf, (1986) Art and Photography New York: Penguin Primo search Barrett, T.M., (2000) Criticizing photographs : an introduction to understanding images London : Mayfield Pub. Co Primo search Barthes, R (1985) The responsibility of forms: critical essays on music, art and representation Primo search Barthes, R. (1982) Camera Lucida London: Cape Primo search Beaumont Newhall (1982) A History of Photography New York: Museum of Modern Art Primo search Coleman, A. D (1998) Depth of field : essays on photography, mass media, and lens culture Albuquerque, NM : University of New Mexico Press Primo search H. Gernsheim (1971) Concise History of Photography London: Thames and Hudson Primo search Jeffery, I. (1981) Photography: A Concise History London: Thames and Hudson Primo search Kember, S., (1998) Virtual anxiety: photography, new technologies, and subjectivity Manchester & New York : Manchester University Press, Primo search Malcolm, J. (1980) Diana and Nikon David and Godine Primo search Mitchell, W.J., (1994) The reconfigured eye: visual truth in the post-photographic era Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, Primo search Sontag, S (1979) On Photography London: Penguin Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6