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IDSEMUG 1857 - Photography through the Lens of Magnum and VII

Does the still image have the same power today—an era saturated by images—as it did just a few decades ago? As a photographer, what are the ethical ramifications of acting as the public’s eyes? Some of the greatest works of journalistic and documentary photography over the last seventy years have been produced by members of the world-renowned photo collectives, Magnum and VII. Photographers at these leading collectives have not only created iconic documentary images, but also helped define, limit, and focus the field of photojournalism as we know it today. This course examines Magnum and VII both as a business model, in opposition to wire services and other photo agencies, and as a formative influence over the style and content of documentary photography in recent decades. We thus use these collectives as a lens (pun intended!) through which to address a recent history of photography, the trajectory of visual journalism, and ultimately, the place of advocacy in documentary photography, since these collectives often turn an eye toward momentous histories and social justice. Using specific photojournalistic works from each collective, and through conversations with some of the photographers themselves, students will interrogate how historic events (from guerrilla wars to the break up of Yugoslavia), and humanitarian issues (like the mining of “conflict minerals” in the Congo) are recorded in this medium and what impact these images have had on the reception of these events. Texts may include work by Ritchin, Cartier-Bresson, Sontag, and Dyer, and photographs by Robert Capa, Susan Meiselas, Ron Haviv, and Marcus Bleasdale. Students, in turn, will produce their own visual projects. Add Consent: Department Consent Required.
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