Week 2. Photographic Ethnographies

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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Portland 2.3

Morning Session: 10.00-12.00

Afternoon Session: 13.00-15.00

Morning session:

Photo-Portraiture: Social Emplacement

This week we consider the subject of photographic portraiture. Looking at carte-de-visite and Cabinet photographs as well as at a selection of other photographic portraits, we discuss the photography studio as an ideological environment, and the representational space of photography as a phantasmatic site of display. We ask how photography participates in the construction of social order and organization, and how it assists in perpetuating and solidifying social norms, standards, roles and positions.

Required Reading

Edwards, Steve, ‘Gradgrind Facts,” or “The Background Is Simply a Background’, in Steve Edwards, The Making of English Photography: Allegories (Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, 2006)

Further reading

Volpe, Andrea. “Cartes de Visite Portrait Photographs and the Culture of Class Formation.” In The Middling Sorts: Explorations in the History of the American Middle Class, edited by Burton J. Bledstein and Robert D. Johnston, 157–169. New York and London: Routledge, 2001.

Afternoon Session:

Assesment Exercise

In a short, eight to ten minute presentation, you will introduce the group to the images you are working with for your catalogue essay/module assessment project. You are responsible for presenting a concise tour of your selected works with a clear argument, or hypothesis, that the images support. This presentation will be supported with either PowerPoint or a Wiki page in which you will arrange the eight to ten images you have selected for your project. You will attach the presentation below, and you will use this presentation as the means of illustrating your selected images to the group. You should also include two to three images that will help contextualize your materials.


Feedback ( )

The feedback is due by the Monday after the session is offered.

This material should be provided as a short response to the following three questions:

1. In one sentence for each, please note two or three main ideas from this session.

    A. CDV as images/objects of status for the new middle-classes.
    B. Advice on assignment presentation and feedback SK
    C. The ideas behind portraiture and their social significance. jk

2. What concept(s) need more reinforcement?

    A. Non
    B. Need to confirm an idea for assignment as soon as possible. SK
    C. None

3. What two or three aspects of this session did the group like/dislike and why?

    A. Liked seeing extra examples to enhance understanding of the text
    B. Enjoyed seeing CDV's in a new light, far more detailed than previous study SK
    C. Interesting to compare photo portraiture in comparison to painted portraits. jk

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