HART2041 The Art of Photography

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History of Art major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Design and Creative Arts
  • Category A broadening unit for Bachelor of Arts students where relevant according to the broadening requirements for each student
  • Level 2 elective
From Degas' selfies to Warhol's serials, photography has reshaped artistic practice since the nineteenth century. This unit investigates how artists have deployed photography as an observational tool and expressive medium since the first creation of the fixed image. By analysing a diverse range of global photographic practices from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day, the unit charts how the photograph changed the artistic discourse surrounding mimesis and visual representation. The history of photography reveals a persistent debate concerning the truth-value of the photographic image, and this unit examines how artists have explored and challenged the idea of the photograph as a form of documentary evidence. The photograph is much more than a mechanical capture of a moment, and this class considers how artists construct, manipulate, and market photographs as forms of representation. In the photographic realm, what differentiates an artist from an amateur? What is the role of artifice in the art photograph? How has photography responded to and changed the global art market? Through exposure to a wide range of photographic methods and artists, students learn how art historians critically discuss, contextualise and analyse photographs.
Students are able to (1) identify specific photographs and photographers from a diverse range of cultures, dating from the nineteenth century to the present day; (2) understand the technical and social processes of photography and their impact on the interpretation of photographic images in an age of globalisation; (3) differentiate between the interpretation of photographs as empirical evidence and as art; (4) apply various methods of historical and theoretical discourse to the interpretation of photographs in a written essay; and (5) use oral communication skills to discuss and debate various interpretations of photographic images.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short essay; (2) long essay; and (3) discursive learning. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Assistant Professor Emily Brink and Philip Goldswain
Unit rules
HART1000 Great Moments in Art (formerly VISA1000)
HART1001 Art, Technology and Society (formerly VISA1001)
HART1003 Ways of Seeing: Themes and Theories in Art
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.