MODULE CODE: PHT020N201A
MODULE TITLE: Photography and the Home
Assessment of Practical Element
Photographic Project Work: a set of photographic images and a research workbook 65%
Assessment of Theoretical Element
2000-3000 word essay 35% of overall module grade
Notions of home have many, often socially and politically fraught uses and manifestations. This module will begin to interrogate the concept of home by specifically focusing on constructions of nation, race, culture and class. As such, students will be introduced to psychoanalytic theory and the role that the unconscious plays in structuring familial engagement and acts of looking and remembering; notions of memory, belonging and the uncanny; the constitutive role that photography often plays in relation to the ways in which concepts of home are produced, disseminated and consumed; and the relationship between digital photographic practices and the production of ‘home’ and ‘homeland’.
On completion of this module the successful student will:
1. Critically comprehend the relationships between concepts of ‘home’, ‘family’, ‘nation’, ‘identity’ and ‘place’; specifically in relation to the production, distribution and consumption of visual culture.
2. Evaluate and make critical use of approaches to independent research and the development of sustained enquiry in the field.
On completion of this module the successful student will be able to:
7. Engage in sustained analysis of cultural products in the field of visual culture.
8. Evaluate and make critical use of theoretical and / or historical texts for cultural analysis.
9. Develop independent research projects that demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the field.
11. Present project work appropriately and professionally.
Teaching and Learning Methods
Lectures, seminars, crits, tutorials.
The module will consist of a lecture and seminar series. The lecture / seminar dimension of the module will culminate in the production of a written essay and also a piece of practical work.
During the module you will have the opportunity to attend individual tutorials with members of the teaching staff.
Please refer to the Photography Style Guide for advice on referencing and the production of your essay. Intentional and unintentional plagiarism will be taken very seriously and is likely to lead to your mark being penalised or being reduced to zero; further serious consequences may also be incurred.
For the practical assessment you will produce of a set of photographic images and a research workbook. Your practical work will be assessed during week 12 of the module (more details tba on Moodle).
Please do have your work ready to assess for the start of the workshop; a delay could mean a penalty for late submission.
Submission must be attempted in all assessment categories (including the practical components). Overall pass required, but in order to achieve an overall pass, any failed components must fall within the condonable fail band (30-39%).
The Practical Brief
For the practical aspect you will produce a set of photographic images and a research workbook for assessment. Your practical work will be assessed during week 12 of the module.
Your photographic project will demonstrate an engagement with the theme of ‘home’. The module explores the notion of home in a very broad way, including that of homelessness, the unhomely, nationalism, belonging, alienation, domesticity, the uncanny, familial relationships etc. and your work can respond to any one of these issues (or others that you can think of), or a combination of them, as long as there is a relationship to the theme of ‘home’. What is important is that your idea, and its expression in photographic form, is the product of a sustained engagement with your chosen approach to the concept of ‘home’.
You will need to investigate recent and historical approaches to your subject and record this exploration in your workbook. Your responses and evaluation of this existing work is important and it should demonstrate an awareness of how the photographer has achieved their end result and what the photographer conveys through the photographs (both singly and in sequence). Your workbook can also demonstrate an awareness of how the home, homelessness and connected themes are represented broadly in visual culture, by collecting and analyzing photographs from magazines and PR brochures. Consider how these sources might influence your own ideas of home and what you want to say about it. Please remember that your research needs to include a broad range of resource material.
Your own photography will need to demonstrate a sophisticated synthesis between the control of technique and the expression of your idea. For example, Richard Billingham’s use of camera mounted flash accentuates the sense of ‘exposing’ his family to the gaze of outsiders, while Tina Barney’s skilled use of unobtrusive lighting reveals the melodrama of everyday family existence. The techniques you use, the cameras and film, will alter the available interpretations of your work. How do you want your photographs to be seen? What are you trying to say about ‘home’? You will need to address these questions and experiment accordingly.
As well as investigating the existing photographic representations of home you will need to conduct a visual investigation of your idea. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are your ideas suitably critical or developed in relation to the concept of ‘home’? Does your idea enable you to develop a critical and informed understanding of, or approach to, the ‘home’?
- What resources do you need (props, assistants, subjects, lighting & camera gear)?
- Is your idea achievable with the time and resources available?
- Do you need to learn specific lighting/camera techniques?
- What do your photographs actually do or say about ‘home’? How can you develop your results further?
- Have you thought about presentation and whether your work will look suitably accomplished and/or professional? (Think about size of your prints, the paper they are printed on and how they are displayed. Other formats, such as books, are also worth considering.)
You will need to ask these questions as your work progresses so that you can evaluate and develop an awareness of what you are doing. From this it is clear that your project is not the outcome of a single photographic shoot; it requires planning, foresight and the ability to evaluate results, experimentation, and repeat attempts.
Please note that you are expected to read and research broadly around the theme of home. However, once you have settled on a particular subject or approach, more in-depth research pertinent to your focus is also expected.
Practical Assessment – How many prints should be submitted?
The exact number of photographs for a practical assessment has to be carefully considered by each student in relation to the conceptual nature of their work together with the overall coherence of the project. The number of photographs appropriate for submission will therefore depend on the nature of your project and how successful you have been at making photographs that correspond to the development of your ideas. For example, some projects intrinsically require the repetition of a specific point or approach and you will therefore have lots of photographs. Other projects will be more flexible in this regard and you may be able to adequately make your point with fewer images or with a highly diverse selection of photographs. It is unlikely (but not impossible) that an adequate project will contain fewer than eight photographs. It is highly likely that you will need to submit more photographs than this.
Some suggested photographers for research:
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
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