History of Photography, Images & Practice

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Module Details

Module Code: HOPP 5008

Module Credits: 30 credit module

Module Leader: Kelley Wilder

Module Tutors: Kelley Wilder, Gil Pasternak, Elizabeth Edwards and invited speakers

Module Duration: 12 weeks

Module Meetings: Tuesdays 10:00am - 12:00pm in Portland 3.2 seminar room, and 1:30pm - 4:00pm in Portland 1.24 or elsewhere when required.

Assignment Due: Tuesday, 31 December

All meetings can be found on the wiki calendar.

Module Contents page

Follow this link History of Photography Contents to get started on this module.

Back to the MA: Photographic History Main Page


Maidenhair negative small.jpg
Maidenhair positive small.jpg

What is the history of photography? Where does it begin? What does it encompass? Where are its boundaries? As a photohistorian, what do you do? These are some of the many questions posed by historians of photography today. This module in the history of photography is built on the notion that understanding photographic images requires understanding photographic objects and photographic practice. A comprehensive history of photography would be impossible in such a short space of time, and a history based purely on the work made by artists would be misleading. Each week we will address an important theme in the history of photography, going roughly in chronological order from the invention to today. This module will lay the foundations for your understanding of the scope of photographic history, and will give you the tools to carry on your own research.

The course will be taught in a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops consisting normally of two sessions, morning and afternoon of the same day. In the morning you will have a lecture/discussion about the topic of the week, and in the afternoon, you will have a practical workshop on the same topic. The practical workshops will be taught from primary sources; photographs, manuscripts, journals and objects. Because some of these workshops will take place in private and public collections, the lectures and workshops may take place off site. We collaborate with Birmingham Central Library, the National Media Museum, the Wilson Centre for Photography Studies and private collectors.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Engage critically with the broad scope of photographic history in terms of images and the practice which makes them
  • View photographs both as images and as objects with object histories
  • Develop a working knowledge of analogue photography of the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Write history for various audiences directly from photographic objects

Back to the MA: Photographic History Main Page