Home > England > London > Programs > Program Overview > Course Requirements > Course Description
Photographing the City
University of Westminster
Media, Arts and Design
Module Leader: Andy Golding
Module Code: 2MSS404
Summary of Module content
This module is concerned with an investigation of the city as representedthrough historical and contemporary photography. Through a series of lectures and workshops, students gain a critical perspective on the city as a social, cultural, architectural and artistic phenomenon. Through image and text based research they focus on an aspect of the city to represent through their own photographic project.
· To enable students to produce a coherent photographic project based on the theme of the city.
· To inform the work with an historical overview of the city, its development and its inhabitants based on photographic representations from the 1860’s to the present day.
· To consider ways that the city and its social conditions, (housing, work, poverty, war), cultural trends (music film fashion) and artistic production can be represented through photography based media (illustrated press, Film, Television)
· To develop photographic production techniques and methodology through the production of the body of photographic work in response to the briefing on the city.
· To introduce the practice of constructive appraisal and self appraisal of performance.
· To evaluate the genres of documentary, urban landscape, street photography, fashion, the tableau and photojournalism and paparazzi, in representing city themes.
By the end of the module the successful student will be able to:
· Construct a coherent body of photographs representing a key aspect of the city.
· Demonstrate an historical understanding of the city its development, as depicted in photography and photography-based media from 1860 to the present day. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of cameras and photographic images.
· Critically evaluate their own performance and that of their peers.
Indicative syllabus content
This module will begin with an illustrated lecture on the city, with examples of the work of key historical and contemporary practitioners and an introduction to key themes. Starting with John Thomson 1870 study of ‘The Street Life of London’ other key areas will include war time London, The Blitz, Social problems and the role of documentary photography (and film) and the illustrated press, London as a cultural centre, the 1960’s ‘Swinging London’ through to Brit Art and Brit pop in the 1990’s. London will also be considered
in its mythical representation and in relation to photography for tourists and
tourism, celebrity, royalty and so on. There will also be consideration of the characterisation of the city as represented in fictional and dramatic forms including Movies and Television. Students will be given a guided tour of an area of London. They will then develop a project proposal defining aims, references, context, photographic
approach and intended final from of the project. This proposal will be presented to the group to help scrutinise for effectiveness and viability, and suggest support and methodology for the project. There will be workshops on camera use, exposure, lighting and image quality for intended final production.
There will be practical photographic workshops on:
Preparing for print/publication
There will be critical reviews of projects and tutorials where project proposals
are discussed and monitored.
Teaching and Learning Methods
Lectures, walking tour, proposal presentations, seminars, practical workshops, tutorials, interactive critical review.
The assessments are designed to test students conceptual as well as technical abilities. In setting two projects each with specific briefs, students will be required to engage with the conventions of the genre they elect to employ for their project. The first two projects will be set and assessed early in the module so that students will receive formative feedback. The second will be assessed at the end of the module encouraging a more in depth response to the brief. The inclusion of a workbook and critical self-appraisal as equirements will enable assessors to determine the technical processes, level of research and critical engagement with the briefs.
Students will be assessed according to the following criteria:
Ability to construct a coherent body of photographic work in relation to a specific genre.
Conceptual engagement with and creative response to the brief.
Overall image quality
Evidence of research, awareness of the genre and relevant practices.
Assessment Methods and Weightings
Produce and present two sets of photographic images
15% Project 1
70% Main Project
In support of this work students must also submit:
A workbook evidencing research, project development and production procedure.
A three hundred word Critical self evaluation in relation to the above assessment criteria
These are an assessment requirement but do not carry a separate mark - they will be factored in to the overall mark for the projects.
The Ipcress File
The Long Good Friday
Lock stock and Two smoking Barrels
Langford, M., Basic Photography, Focal Press, 2000.
Berger, J., Another Way of Telling, Granta 1994.
Victorian London Street Life in Historic Photographs
by John Thomson, Dover Publications 1994
The Picture Post album / Robert Kee ; with a foreword by Sir Tom
Hopkinson. London : Barrie & Jenkins , 1989
A Hackney camera, 1883-1918 : a photographic portrait of Hackney during
the last years of Queen Victoria's reign until the First World War.