PHO195 - The History of Photography

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Last revision date Sep 30, 2019 12:09:15 AM
Last review date Dec 2, 2019 12:15:05 AM

Subject Title
The History of Photography

Subject Description
Photography has been called the most confounding medium ? easy to learn but incredibly difficult to master. This course is about our complex relationship with photography, images that surround us but whose meanings sometimes elude us. No medium has had a bigger impact on our lives, and since its invention in the 1830s, photography has forced to us to question larger questions about truth, memory, and of course, art.
We will look at the idea of 'truth' in photography and whether or not the camera is able to capture it. Since its invention and availability to the masses in the late 1800s, photography has been hugely influential to our lives, both politically, personally and commercially.  Photographic images are everywhere! In this course, we will learn how to read images, like text and gain a better understanding as to how to create our own images that will leave a lasting impression on future viewers.

This course offers an overview of the history of photography from a social and aesthetic perspective. The role of photography as a documentary and artistic medium in the nineteenth and twentieth century is explored, as well as the ways in which it has altered our perceptions of reality, sense of self, memory and culture. This course will be based on the history of the medium, but will include some studio projects that explore the medium more fully.

Credit Status
One General Education elective credit in the Arts and Humanities category.

Please note; Students in the Independent Digital Photography program are not permitted to take PHO195 for credit.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

-critically analyze the formal elements of a photograph including composition, depth of field, effects of shutter speed, angle of view, contrast, colour, proportion and balance

-evaluate, compare and suggest ways of enhancing the visual impact of photographic images

-identify specific images pertaining to our course of study and discuss the images in a critical fashion

-develop critical skills, which will enable the student to analyze and understand art

-ignite the imagination so the student can imagine all kinds of possibilities

-encourage students to make personal decisions about what appeals to them in a work of art and to defend these decisions

-foster the student's ability to read, write and speak about art in a knowledgeable way

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.