Photography: Course

back to the past

Gershuni Uri, Semester 1, Tuesday, 10:00-13:00
The pictorialist movement dominated photography during the late 19th century until early 20th century. It was a short period but one that helped to understand, develop and define what photography is.The pictorialists used photography as a mean to ‘create’ an image rather than simply recording it. Their goal was to imitate the high-art of the time; painting, and in order to achieve that, they developed and involved all kind of hand manipulated techniques through the process of making a photographic image.A century has passed since than, and it seems we are submerged in a totally different atmosphere, in the midst of the digital revolution, in a world dominated by computers and screens, so far from the tactile and bodily objects the pictorialists were aiming for. But is it true? Through out this past century, it seems, that the world was devoured and digested by photography, nowadays in a more bulimic phase than ever before. This ‘problematic’ state of things, is very similar in many ways (social, cultural, technological, physiological) to the status of photography, and the photographer, in the late 19th century.Once again, photography is fighting for its place and definition, not so much from a political point of view but more from a substantial one.In order to clear a path in its future, photography looks once again to paths that were already paved and marched, to its past and heritage. Photography once again is turning its head back from reality, not being satisfied with mere, direct representation.This dialectic state of photography would be the core of our reflections and work processes in the course, and we would use it as a burning material, as fuel.The above themes will be addressed through theory, reading and discussion, but at the same the class would also take shape as a workshop from time to time, in order to enable, enrich and motivate work processes from a more physical/sensual existence. We would recreate 19th century techniques, long forgotten, and we will strive to develop new ones, or at least re-think our means and technology nowadays and in the near future.The students will be required to make personal work according to the general theme and to the assignments that are given.