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  1. If you could only keep a physical copy of one photograph, which would it be and why?

  2. What motivates you to take photographs?

  3. In what sense are your photographs an attempt to stop time?

  4. Would you rather have a photograph or a video/film of an important event in your life? Why?

  5. Photographs are not neutral; they are susceptible to the abuse of power.

  6. Photographs communicate powerful ideas about the world. They can be used to promote both good and bad attitudes. Therefore, students of photography must be very careful to think hard about what they see in other people's photographs and how they make their own.

Social Documentary assignments:

The poor, social outcasts and lower classes have been recurring themes throughout the history of photography, a desire for political and social change often being the motivation for a photographer (or commissioning editor).

  • How effective are these photos in portraying hardship?

  • Which photographs (if any) appeal to you the most - and if so what do they ask of you?

  • Three of the four images above rely on eye contact to connect with the viewer. Is this significant? How does this compare to the 'Heroin screws you up' poster which uses an actor directly staring at the camera / viewer - is it possible to distinguish between a staged or genuine stare?

  • Explored how the adding of captions to a photograph can distort our understanding of it. How important are the titles to these works above? How might an advertising agency exploit these images to positive effect? Research the images and create accompanying text that sensitively sheds more light on the subjects.

  • Collect a range of magazines and newspapers that include fashion photography and advertising.  Challenge students to order these under a range of headings, repeating the exercise with increasing complexity. For example, you might use the following headings / stages to consider where the 'power' of the image lies:

  1. Shape, Texture, Colour, Tone, Form

  2. Informative, Stylised, Abstracted

  3. Staged, 'Real' / Fiction, Fact / Manipulated, Truth

  4. (The image draws most attention to:) The model, The clothes, The words, The story, The Photographer, Ourselves

  5. The past, The present, The future

  • Experiment with 'disrupting' fashion adverts by adding text, questions, quotes, doodling or collaging (refer to the next section for further insights on this). How might you enhance, contradict or challenge the intentions of an image?

  • How does this photograph (or this photographer's work) affect your view of human relations?

  • What do you think is the relationship between photographer and subject? What might others think?

  • What do you find most challenging/puzzling/confusing about this photograph/project?

  • Which ideas about photography have been most influential for you so far?

  • How do you respond when you feel stuck? How might you develop your persistence and tolerance of uncertainty?

  • How might you collaborate with others in solving this creative challenge?

  • How might you become more self-directed in your studies? Which aspects of the course do you need to develop most?

  • What are the ethical challenges for photographers? When might it not be appropriate to make a photograph?

"One thing that struck me very early is that you don’t put into a photograph what’s going to come out. Or, vice versa, what comes out is not what you put in."- Diane Arbus

"I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them." - Diane Arbus

"For photographers, the ideal book of photographs would contail just pictures - no text at all" - Robert Adams


1. American Suburb

2. Either/Or

3. Capture Light

4. Capture Night

5. Odd still life

6. Self Portrait

7. Environmental Portrait

8. Storytelling

9. Your refrigerator

10. Monochromatic

11. Your bathroom

12. Your fears

13. Your guilty pleasures

14. Self portrait still life

15. Round

16. Flat

17. Texture

18. Re-create a photo

19. Take a shot you already did and re-shoot it.

Members to bring in a photo

they see is not quite working

explain have dialogue and

facilitate making it better and how.

Assignment criteria:

1. Must show originality

2. Must have original content. Nothing derivative.

3. Must show some creative skill (not photoshopping).

4. Must only be processed using these criteria:

a. Keep full frame (no cropping)

b. You can only use curves, color correction and sharpening.

c. Show the original raw file (pre-processed).

d. Must be time and date stamped. No cheating using an existing photo you already took.

Score will be determined by following criteria:

1. Visual

2. Technical

3. Content

4. Conceptual

To not embarrass photographer a score from 6-10 (hero) will be given out of 10.

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