This course sits at the intersection of the humanities: art history, comparative literature and philosophy. Making extensive use of museum and archival photography collections at Stanford, elsewhere in the Bay Area, and online students will refine their skills in a workshop setting through different modes of writing: personal narrative, formal analysis, and research-based argumentative essay.
From its beginnings in the nineteenth century to our present digital age, photography has long captivated writers, who grapple with questions about the meanings of photographic images and the uses to which we put the artistic, scientific, personal, social, and political. In this course, we will explore the relationship between the photographic image and text.
Students will develop both visual literacy or the ability to read images and the ability to describe, analyze, and make arguments about images in writing. Students will learn to think of writing as a mode of critical inquiry in a world that is suffused with and mediated by images. We will take as our models classic and contemporary essays on photography by a range of authors, including photographers, historians, philosophers, and critics.