ARTH 1100 – 405 – History and Appreciation of Photography


Tamsin Green                                                                                                                                     

Office Hours: Monday 10:00-11:00 am and by appointment

Humanities Department: Library/Atrium 630

Class Time/Location: Fri 11:30am-2:00pm Room: L631

Pathways: Creative Expression                                       Course Credits: 3 credits


5 April Roland Barthes’ writing on photography

Exhibition Review Writing Workshop

12 April Field Trip
19 April Street Photography, Robert Frank, Bernice Abbot, Diane Arbus, and the re-discovery of Vivian Maier

Gender and Representation and Performance Art and Photography

PAPER 2 Due Friday 19th April


Appropriation, and the Digital Image

14 Contemporary Museum Photography, Jeff Wall, Thomas Ruff


15 17 May FINAL EXAM

please note the final exam date and time are

*** Friday 17thth May at 11:30 AM *** NO exams will be given at an earlier or later date

Catalogue Description: An introduction to photography as a fine art and communications medium, from the publication of its invention to the present, among western and non-western practitioners. Illustrated lectures and discussions appraise diverse overlapping functions of photographs and view camera work within the history of art and culture. Changing styles, purposes and techniques are outlined chronologically.

Additional Description for this section: We will examine the use of photography for aesthetic, documentary, and “scientific” purposes, stylistic shifts in photography related to aesthetic concerns, and varying interpretations of subject matter based on social and cultural concerns at specific moments in history. We will also consider the relationship between photography and the visual arts in general, which culminates with the primacy of photography as a medium by the late twentieth century.

Textbook: Mary Warner Marien, Photography, A Cultural History, 4th Edition, Prentice Hall, 2015

It is not necessary to buy a copy of this textbook

It is OK to use earlier editions, copies, including earlier editions, are on reserve in the library

Additional readings will be distributed in class

Course aims:

  • learn the analytical techniques used by art historians,
  • become familiar with key works in the history of photography, the photographers, diverse styles, and working methods,
  • become knowledgeable about the major photographic works linked to historical events, intellectual history, and scientific and cultural trends,
  • acquire a working knowledge of the specialized vocabulary used in art history,
  • enhance their visual literacy and critical thinking skills

*Syllabus is subject to change.

Class Expectations: Look and think about what you’re looking at!

  • Students are responsible for: images, names, and vocabulary on the slide lists, information presented in lecture and assigned readings, including the general historical context.
  • Good note-taking skills are essential to passing the class.
  • Participate! Practice mindfulness and be aware of your surroundings, tune in rather than tune out, and interact with your classmates and the art
  • Website: You must access the class website by logging into CityTech’s OpenLab via /. Instructions on how to signup are on the OpenLab homepage. To access the OpenLab, you will need to register with your CityTech email account (if you have not activated your CityTech email, you need to go to a student helpdesk—i.e., 6th Floor Computer Lab in the General Building). Once you register on the OpenLab, locate my course (Humanities Department, Spring 2018) and ask to join! You need to “join” to be able to post!
  • Blackboard is used ONLY for submitting papers and checking your grades. All class files are found on the OpenLab, therefore, familiarize yourself with the OpenLab ASAP.

Slides for the lectures will be posted online. Go to the Lecture Slides tab on the open lab website. The slides will have the works of art and vocabulary that you are responsible for on the exams.

Important Dates:

Paper 1 DUE 25th February

Midterm Exam 15th March
Last day to withdraw with W grade 1st April

Paper 2 DUE 12th April

April 19 – 28 Friday-Sunday Spring Recess

Group Presentations 3rd May
Final Exam, FRIDAY 17th May
No incomplete work accepted after this date


Paper 1: Response Paper 15%

Midterm 20%

Paper 2: Exhibition Review 20%

Final 20%

Group Project 15%

Homework 10%

PLEASE NOTE: Failure to turn in a paper or submit an exam/assignment will result in a zero (0).

How this adds up. Use the following formula calculate your current grade average:.15 (paper 1) + .20 (midterm) + .20 (paper 2) + .20 (final) + .15 (group project) + .10 (homework) = grade


Homework: Group: Midterm: Final:

Paper 1: _______ x 15% + Midterm:  _______ x 20% + Paper 2: _______ x 20% + Final: _______ x 20% + Group Project: ______ x 15% + Homework x _____10%

This Total is your Final Grade Average. See City Tech’s Student Handbook to convert this number to a letter grade.



Exams: Exams are worth 40% of your grade. Exams consist of slide identifications (artist name, title of works, medium, dates, significance of work), short answer questions, comparative essays, and definitions of terms/concepts. Make-up exams will only be given for reasons of documented emergency. Look on the class website for more information on the exam format.

Papers: Papers are worth 35% of your grade. Students are required to write two papers. Information on required papers will be given in separate handouts.

You can find the “Grading Rubric for Papers” on the class website under Class Downloads. Your paper grade is an evaluation of content, organization, style, and grammar.

Papers are mandatory, it is nearly impossible to pass the class if you do not turn in BOTH papers.

Response paper  

— After reading several essays, you will write a short paper on critical issues in photography.

Exhibition Review

— You will be given a list of approved photography exhibitions in New York City. Choose one exhibition to visit and review. Write a review based on your interpretation and analysis.

— You must submit both papers to pass this course.
All papers are submitted through SafeAssign on Blackboard which checks your paper against a Google-like search engine and other student papers on file. You will receive 0 points for your paper if the matching rate exceeds 35%. A matching rate that nears 35% will be carefully checked for plagiarism. Please do not copy and paste from other sources because such practice will adversely affect your grade.

— Late assignments will loose two (2) points per late day up to 10 weekdays (school days): 2 points per day will be deducted for assignments submitted after the due date. Late papers will not be accepted after 10 weekdays from the due date. In short, you have almost two weeks to turn in a late assignment. For example, if you submit a homework 10 days after the due date, the assignment will lose 20 points. You cannot submit late assignments after this 10-day period for late work.

Group Project (2 pp per group member): The Group Project is worth 15% of the grade. After midterms, students will be assigned a group to work on a photography presentation. Each group will present their findings in a 7-10 min presentation. Each student will submit a report on the assigned photographer and group effort. Information on the required project will be given in a separate handout.

Homework: Homework is worth 10% of the grade. Some homework consists of writing homework posts on the class website. Students are responsible for submitting homework posts (min. 200 words). Instructions on how to post are located online under Posting Guidelines. Homework is mandatory.

In-Class Assignments: You will have the opportunity to work in small groups for in- class assignments throughout the semester. Participation in class exercises is mandatory.

Extra Credit: You have the option to do extra credit projects worth 1-3 points each. The projects are due by the last lecture. These are short written assignments of approx. 500 words. If you complete all the projects well, it is possible to increase your final grade average by 10 points. You will find extra credit assignments posted after the midterm and online on the class website.

Attendance: Students are expected to attend all classes. Excessive absences will affect your grade adversely. Excessive lateness will affect your grade.

If you arrive late, please enter the room quietly in order to not disturb your classmates’ learning time. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor of their late arrival, otherwise, you will be marked absent for the class.

Decorum: Please turn off your cell phones, beepers, alarms, etc. and no sleeping, internet surfing, text messages, while in lecture.

Plagiarism and Cheating: Presenting work by others as your own is completely unacceptable. Plagiarism includes using material from books or the Internet without acknowledging the source as well as submitting something written by someone else. Either will result in a 0 (zero) for that particular assignment/exam. A second instance will result in an automatic F for the course. See City Tech’s Academic Integrity policy below.

The Fine Print:


Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.


It is the conviction of the Humanities department that a student who is not in a class for any reason is not receiving the benefit of the education being provided. Missed class time includes not just absences but also latenesses, early departures, and time outside the classroom taken by students during class meeting periods. Missed time impacts any portion of the final grade overtly allocated to participation and/or any grades awarded for activities that relate to presence in class.


We are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities. Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable academic accommodations if determined eligible by the Center for Student Accessibility. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student’s eligibility from the Center, which is located in room A-237. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate contact with the Center staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.


The Humanities Department complies with the college wide nondiscrimination policy and seeks to foster a safe and inclusive learning environment that celebrates diversity in its many forms and enhances our students’ ability to be informed, global citizens. Through our example, we demonstrate an appreciation of the rich diversity of world cultures and the unique forms of expression that make us human.

ARTH 1100 D405

History and Appreciation of Photography LECTURE SCHEDULE AND READING ASSIGNMENTS

Week Date Topic Reading
1 25 Jan Introduction: Syllabus Review: New Ways of Seeing

Pioneers of Photography: Niepce, Daguerre, Talbot, Atkins

Marien Introduction

Marien Ch. 1-2

2 1 Feb Pioneers of Photography continued …Truth and Lies

Documentation, Science, Medicine, and the Law

Marien Ch. 2-3
3 8 Feb Documentation, Science, and Medicine continued …

War Photography and the Civil War, Tintypes

Marien Ch. 3-4
4 15 Feb Pictorialism: Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession

Survey Photography of the American West

Marien Ch. 4-6
5 22 Feb Riis, Hine, and Social Reform

PAPER 1 DUE on Monday 25th Feb

Marien Ch. 6 -7
6 1 March Motion Studies and Early Film and Screening

Dada and Surrealism

7 8 March Dada and Surrealism continued…



8 15 March MIDTERM on Friday 15th March 11:30am
9 22 March Modernism in America: FSA Photography

Focus on Gordon Parks

Marien Ch. 8-9
10 29 March Roland Barthes’ writing on photography

Exhibition Review Writing Workshop

Marien Ch. 10-11

Marien Ch. 9

11 5 April Street Photography, Robert Frank, Bernice Abbot, Diane Arbus, and the re-discovery of Vivian Maier

(Optional Field Trip 9th April 10:00 am)

12 12 April Gender and Representation

Performance Art and Photography

PAPER 2 Due Friday 12th April

Marien Ch. 11 -12

Appropriation, and the Digital Image

14 10 May Contemporary Museum Photography, Jeff Wall, Thomas Ruff


Marien Ch. 12-14
15 17 May FINAL EXAM

please note the final exam date and time are

*** Friday 17thth May at 11:30 AM *** NO exams will be given at an earlier or later date



Reference Library

Roland Barthes. Camera Lucida, trans. Richard Howard, London: Jonathan Cape, 1982

Geoffrey Batchen. Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography. MIT Press: Cambridge: Mass, 1999

Richard Bolton (ed.). The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1989

Tina Camp. Listening to Images, Duke University Press, Durham, 2017

Michael Fried. Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013

Anne Marsh. The Darkroom: Photography and the Theatre of Desire, South Yarra: Macmillan, 2003

Clive Scott. Street Photography: From Atget to Cartier-Bresson, London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2007

Susan Sontag. On Photography, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1977

Documentaries on Photography

America and Lewis Hine (1984)
I’ll be your mirror, a portrait of Nan Goldin (1995)
Walter Rosenblum: In Search of Pitt Street (1999)
John Szarkowski on Eugène Atget: Speaking of Art


Man with a Movie Camera (1929), Dir: Dziga Vertov

Rear Window (1954) Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Peeping Tom (1960), Dir: Michael Powell

La Jetée (1962), Dir: Chris Marker

Blow Up (1966) Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni

Caché (Hidden) (2005) Dir: Michael Haneke

Impaled (2006), Dir: Larry Clark (Released as part of the collection: Destricted)

Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (2007), Dir: James Crump


International Centre for Photography, New York

Aperture Foundation, New York

Magnum Photos

MedienKunstNetz (Media_Art_Net)

Photograph Magazine

Fraenkel Gallery

The Photographers Gallery – London

Tate Online


Video Data Bank