Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Thinking Photography? Post-Modernism, Anti-Modernism and the politics of Identity
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3,500 words essay  Essay (with list ‘Works Cited’ comprising 15 secondary sources related to/relevant for the critical essay)   50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Seen exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit essay  Essay (with list ‘Works Cited’ comprising 15 secondary sources related to/relevant for the critical essay)   50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Resit exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1) study the development of specific applications of photography from around 1945 to the present

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

2) develop convictions regarding the debates surrounding contemporary photographic practice

3) cultivate an ability and confidence to examine and compare ways in which photography is discussed and written about

4) develop a critical apparatus to evaluate specific images

5) form ideas relating to the interconnectedness of visual art disciplines

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


1) Introducing the course: Structure, content, delivery, assessment, queries. Reading Photography 1: Modes in Photography.

2) Reading Photography 2: Light Readings - Characteristics of the Photographic Image and Critical Positions

3) Case study: Diane Arbus; Case study: Martin Parr

4) New Land(scapes) for Old - New Topographics; Landscape as a Mirror and Window

5) Exhibition Visit

6) National Library of Wales: Modern Collections

7) Case study: South Africa 1949-1994: Photography, Politics, Race

8) Documentary Photography in the School of Art Museum collections.

9)The Post-Modern Self: Identity and the Camera; Gender and ‘Identity Politics’ in Photography.

10) Ghosts and Shadows: the Numinous in Contemporary Practice .

11) Media and Cyber Culture.


This structure is given for guidance only:

1 Introducing the course: Structure, content, delivery, assessment
2 Reading Photography 1: Modes in photography
3 Reading Photography 2: light readings - Characteristics of the photographic image & critical positions
4 Exhibition visit: writing a review
5 National Library of Wales: modern collections
6 Case study (select British artist)
7 Case study: Diane Arbus
8 Documentary aspects of the School of Art Collections
9 New Land(scapes) for Old - New Topographics
10 Landscape as a mirror and window
11 Case study: South Africa - 1949 ? 1994 photography, politics, race
12 Photographing the `other?: ethics and observation
13 Exhibition visit/gallery visit seminar
14 Women and the camera
15 The post-modern self: identity and the camera + `Naked? video
16 Case study: (select photographer)
17 Hybrids and analogue echoes ? reinventing historic processes
18 Ghosts and shadows ? the numinous in contemporary practice
19 Media and cyber culture
20 Contemporary engagements - seminar (with postgraduates)

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

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Written communication skills.
Improving own Learning and Performance Written, critical, IS and research skills further developed.
Information Technology Writing in an academic context using computer.
Personal Development and Career planning Professional presentation of research and annotated bibliography using MLA style documentation.
Problem solving Contextualizing historical precedent in the history of photography (e.g. visual, cultural, media, conceptual effects of the medium).
Research skills Researching through the use of library resources (National Library, Hugh Owen) as well electronic resources (e.g. the internet), object studies (School of Art collections, NLW collections of photographs.
Subject Specific Skills Being introduced to the specifics of photographic influences on political, social and cultural functions.
Team work Seminar discussion groups and debate.


This module is at CQFW Level 6