The Photographers Eye

VIS 158: HISTORIES OF PHOTOGRAPHY FINAL ESSAY Fall 2014
Write a formal essay using one of the following prompts. Your essay should be 1800-2200  words in length, include a strong thesis statement and thoughtful analysis of the issues/questions presented in the prompt. All essays must be properly cited (MLA format) and include a bibliography. You must use at least two scholarly sources outside of the textbook and lectures.
CHOOSE ONE:
1. THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S EYE:
In 1966, John Szarkowski’s influential book “The Photographer’s Eye” was published. In it he listed five interdependent characteristics of the photographic image: the things itself, the detail, the frame, time, and vantage point. Describe each of these characteristics in depth using specific photographs as examples (include thumbnail photos in the body of your essay). In your opinion, did Szarkowski fail to recognize any particular characteristics of photography in his analysis? If so, what? How did Szarkowski influence the direction of photography in late 20th century America?
2. SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY WORK
Discuss the early social documentary photography of Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine and the FSA photographers of the Great Depression (Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, etc). What were their goals, motivations, and ideologies as related to both subject matter and audience? Include a discussion of the role of newspaper journalism, the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) and the Farm Securities Administration (FSA) in documenting social conditions. How has social documentary photography changed over the last 100 years? Find contemporary examples of social documentary work. Is the influence of early documentary work apparent in today’s social documentary work? Use specific examples in your discussion.

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