Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Documentary Photography

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit will provide an opportunity to students to document an assigned subject in a photo essay of 10 photographs. Students will be asked to develop an engaging photographic story on a person they find interesting or they’re intrigued by. This could be a relative, close friend, a casual acquaintance or even someone you may encounter on a daily basis, to name a few.

The choice of person will be subject to discussion and the tutor’s approval before the student embarks on the project. The development of visual language, narrative structure and a sequential editing process of the pictures are key learning components of this assignment. Students are required to submit a written piece (max. 300 words) introducing the chosen character and explaining their final set of photographs – this will provide a contextual framework for the images and narrative. Supporting sound (ex. a voice recording from an interview) and moving image work would be accepted as part of the final submission.

All the final submissions will be published on a website hosted on the Cargo Collective platform. This will be created and updated by the students as one peer group. A collective exhibition with an opening could provide an ideal opportunity to launch this website to the public. (Subject to discussion with the students).

This study block would be supported by a series of talks introducing and discussing historic, contemporary and future practices of documentary photography. Group and individual crit sessions will be held to supplement the students’ reflective and work development.

Study-unit Aims:

- Introduce students to the research and practices of documentary photography;
- Give students the required skills in storytelling, visual literacy and project planning;
- Encourage students to critically reflect upon their role in the wider landscape of society.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit students will be able to show knowledge and understanding of:
- Historic and contemporary documentary practices;
- The function of visual language and narrative in relation to the subject being communicated;
- Methods of investigation and a alternative ways of seeing things;
- Approaches by which their practice could be developed and extended in future modules.

2. Skills:

By the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate skills in:
- Communicating their ideas to a third party through negotiation of a proposal;
- Composing narrative structures through a selection and editing process;
- Verbal and written articulation of their message;
- Interpersonal communication in the context of a creative process;
- Collaborating with their peers and colleagues;
- Time management;
- Reflective, critical analysis of personal practice and progression;
- An understanding and engagement with any ethical and legal issues involved in their work;
- Using contemporary network-based creative web platforms;
- Promoting their work with a wider audience.

Reading List:

- Arbus, D. and Israel, M. (2007). Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, Aperture.
- Calle, S. (2004). Sophie Calle: Did You See Me?, Prestel.
- Day, J. (2011). Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’: The Art of Documentary Photography, Intellect.
- Isaacs, M. (Director). (2001). Lift (Documentary), Second Run DVD.
- Weinberg, J. (2005). Fantastic Tales: The Photography of Nan Goldin, Tate.
- Weski, T. (2006). Click Doubleclick: The Documentary Factor, Walther Konig.

Other journal articles related to the topic will be made available on the study-unit e-Learning website.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Studio Practice

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Project SEM2 Yes 40%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Patrick Fenech

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.