Art 367 Syllabus


History of Photography
Danny Lyon, From Daytona to Columbus, 1966
Tuesday and Thursday 1 to 2:15 PM
Instructor: Denise Johnson
Phone: 714.289.3569
Moulton Center 218

Office Hours by appointment
Monday & Wednesday
1 PM to 2:30 PM and 4 to 5:30 PM
10 AM to 11 AM


click here for a printable syllabus



Course Description

A survey of photography from 1839 to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship of photography to other arts and current critical issues in the field.

(Offered fall semester, alternate years.)

Objectives & Outcomes

Photography is so much a part of our private and public lives, and it plays such an influential role in our environment, that we often forget to examine its aesthetics, meanings, and histories. This course provides an introduction to critical analyses relevant to photography by examining its history from the ancient period to the present. Considering fine arts and mass media practices, the class will examine the works of individual practitioners as well as the emergence of technologies, aesthetic directions, markets, and critical theories.

Visual language and art terminology will be used to examine photographs from a wide assortment of historical, social, political and personal contexts. During this investigation, students will be encouraged to develop and maintain a critical eye that takes nothing for granted and is actively engaged in questioning.

Course Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the course will:
Learn major artists and photographic movements from its invention to the present;
Be able to identify and compare the aesthetic and philosophical characteristics associated with each of the major movements of fine art photography from its invention to the present;
Become familiar with the resources in fine art photography that are available to be directly experienced in Southern California;
Analyze and evaluate the social, political, and technological developments of art photography;
Learn the predominant theoretical ideologies influencing photographic movements and be able to recognize and apply them when looking at photographic works;
Synthesize strategies in critical theory to write analyses of photographic works.
Art History Program Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:

Develop the writing competencies used in the discipline of art history;


Locate works of art and visual culture within the context of world art history and articulate the relationship between intended meaning/function and audience response in specific cultural and historical contexts;


Conduct advanced art historical research using the full range of scholarly resources; and


Recognize the theoretical concerns of art history and its allied disciplines and apply specific theoretical perspectives to their research projects.

General Education Learning Outcomes
7AI Artistic Inquiry: students compose critical or creative works that embody or analyze conceptually an artistic form at a baccalaureate/pre-professional level.
7SI Social Inquiry: employs theories of how people frame and analyze social and/or historical phenomena.



Required Textbook

Marien, Mary Warner. Photography: A Cultural History. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2015.



Materials on Blackboard

Selected essays will be posted to the Art 367 Assignments page at (see weekly schedule)

Additionally, two exams will be taken outside of class on Blackboard.



Recommended Texts
Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art. Boston: Pearson Education Inc. (any edition, 10th or 11th preferred).
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989.
Bolton, Richard, ed. The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1993.
D’Alleva, Anne. Methods & Theories of Art History. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2012.
Rosenblum, Naomi. A History of Women Photographers. New York: Abbeville Press, 2010.
Solnit, Rebecca. River of Shadows: Eadward Muybridge and the Technological Wild West. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
Sontag, Susan, On Photography. New York: Anchor Books, 1990.



Instructional Website
This class will be taught from the instructional website The Slide Projector at, Lecture presentations, assignments, and other course materials will be available for you at this site and you will need to access it regularly.



Instructional Strategies
Students will work toward course objectives through: lectures; student reports on readings, active participation in class discussions; in class partner exercises; reading assignments; writing assignments; exams; viewing images, videos, and audio representations of photographic works; and viewing of an off-campus exhibition that will require a commute, and may entail a parking fee, and/or entrance fee.



Major Study Units
Writing with light
New Vision

• Previsualization

• Victorian optical amusements

• Straight photography

• Zone System

• Chemical experiments
• Modernism and the avant-garde
The Family of Man
The Daguerrotype
Healing the Madness
The Americans
The Calotype
• Dada

• Street photography

Wet-Plate Collodion

• Photomontage

Vietnam War
New Images
• Surrealism
The Question of art

• Appropriation

Imaging The Other
• Social reform movements

• Culture Wars

Amateur practices

• Photojournalism

• Identity Politics

• Theory of sacrifices

• FSA and FAP

• Body Politics

• Kodak

• Halftone printing

Death of photography

• Snapshot

• Life Magazine

• Digital vs. analog

Decisive Moment

• Market for photography

• Photo Secession

• Photographer’s Eye
• Camera Work
Group f/64



Methods of Evaluation

Students will be evaluated on the presentation of evidence that they have achieved the course objectives; the frequency and quality of their contributions to in-class discussion; on their ability to make oral and written critical observations about the artists, movements, and concepts presented in the course; on the quality of the writing they present for homework assignments; and on their ability to demonstrate growth in their understanding and application of the history and theory of photographic works from its invention to the present.

There are 500 points possible, which will be earned through the following components:

Class Participation - 10%

Students will earn up to 50 participation points through the following activities:

  • Actively and consistently contributing to in-class discussions and applying theoretical ideas to works to earn up to 15 participation points.
  • Voluntarily reporting on assigned readings during class to earn up to 10 participation points through meaningful contributions to multiple conversations over the semester.
  • Attending one lecture in the Visual Thinker Lecture Series (two contemporary artist lectures, and one Bensussen lecture) and submitting a VTLS Report worth 25 points. Please be reminded that Art and Art History majors are required by the department to attend all Visual Thinker Lectures and that the Art 370 assignment requires different documentation.

Writing Assignments 60%

Students will earn up to 50 points each through the following assignments written in Chicago Manual of Style (no bibliography) that reflect skilled academic research techniques and include:
• One in-class group writing assignment focusing on descriptive language and developing research techniques
• Four critical essays including skilled analysis of specific photographic works in response to assigned readings
• A Visual Analysis of two photographic works on view at a relevant art venue


Exams 20%

Students will take a midterm and a final exam, each worth 50 points. Exams will be accessed outside of class on Blackboard at during scheduled periods. In progress quizzes can be saved, printed, and updated. However, once the quiz has been submitted, answers cannot be edited. Make-up quizzes cannot be accommodated, except under extenuating circumstances!


Final Presentation 10%

During our scheduled final exam period, each student will be asked to give an in-class presentation using Micol Hebron’s 1 Image, 1 Minute project as a model. You’ll be asked to select one photograph that is of significance to you, and discuss the image for one minute.


In preparation, each student will be asked to submit a presentation plan that identifies the photograph you’ll be speaking about, a methodology for your analysis, and citations for your sources worth 20 points. The presentation itself will be worth a maximum of 30 points.


Extra Credit

Students are limited to earning a maximum of 25 points, 5% of the total points possible (500), in extra credit points during the semester. Any points earned above this cap will NOT be applied to the final grade.



Points will be earned on writing assignments through committed consideration of the material, demonstration of learned concepts and language, and evidence of critical thinking. In addition to the individual requirements, each writing assignment will earn points based on rigorous analysis through the skilled application of the art historical methodologies, as well as pointed and thoughtful responses to the questions proposed.
100 to 97%
500 - 483 points

Writing demonstrates excellence in both articulation and critical thinking. Art historical methodologies are used thoughtfuly and with exceptional skill. All questions are answered thoroughly, and disussion points carry beyond basic responses with sophistication. Credible academic sources were employed to support the author's positions, and Chicago Manual of Style citation rules were carefully followed. The written assignment leaves little to no room for improvement, and demonstrates committed interest in the discipline.

A -
96 to 90%
482 - 448 points
B +
89 to 87%
447 - 433 points

Writing demonstrates clear focus and an above average consideration of the subject matter. While all questions have been answered, there is room for improvement in carrying the analysis and discussion beyond a basic response. The work exhibits potential for excellence however, a clearer application and understanding of the art historical methodologies is needed. Author has met the requirements for research and citations, but the stated positions could be significantly served by additional research.

86 to 84%
432 - 418 points
B -
83 to 80%
417 - 398 points
C +
79 to 77%
397 - 383 points

Most of the material is understood, but the focus is not entirely clear, and analysis is cursory. Question responses could be more fully realized, and the material, more thoroughly examined. Citation issues are present, little research was executed in support of the author's positions, and/or sources are not credible or academic. There are issues with language that make the writing somewhat difficult to understand.

76 to 74%
382 - 368 points
C -
73 to 70%
367 - 348 points
D +
69 to 67%
347 - 333 points

Lowest possible grade for a complete assignment submitted on time. Writing demonstrates little understanding or connection with the material and is flawed in content and form. Question responses do not provide evidence of critical thinking. Citation issues are present, no research was executed in support of the author's positions, and/or sources are not credible or academic. There are issues with language that make the writing very difficult to understand.

66 - 64%
332 - 318 points
D -
63 - 60%
317 - 298 points
< 59%
297 - 0

Work fails to meet any requirements satisfactorily.



Writing is incomplete but shows potential. Student is offered one additional class day to revise, add to, and re-submit the assignment.



Instructor Policies
Commitment to the Conversation

Conversation and debate will be central to the learning experience this semester. Art historians do not work in secluded spaces that are entirely disconnected from the world around them. Given the importance of engagement, students will be expected to fully commit to in-class dialogues and will agree to take a break from texting, emailing, and fulfilling requirements for courses other than our own, while in class. Laptop, tablet, and smart phone use will only be permitted for use in class when the devices are being used for the purpose of understanding Art 367 material.

Students found to be using laptops and tablets during class for activities other than those related to Art 367 may be asked to leave class until their full attention can be directed to our course material.


Regular attendance is mandatory. You are permitted two unexcused absence without damage to your grade. More than two missed classes will potentially lower your grade, and missing four or more classes will put you at risk of failing.

Please also be punctual! Students arriving 15 or more minutes after class begins should expect to be marked absent for the entire class session and may miss the departure of the class on arranged field trips. Students are asked to exchange contact information with their classmates to remain connected to the class as we travel to various destinations.

Respect is Key
We will often consider provocative, challenging, even vulgar subject matter in this class. It is assumed that each of us undertakes this learning endeavor with honorable intention and a commitment to understanding diverse perspectives and histories. When this is difficult for us, we agree to keep an open mind and to respect all views and identities, even those with which we are not able to concur. When this suits our viewpoint, we equally agree to openly consider ideas that may conflict with our own. While engaging in class activities, we agree to refrain from using derogatory, inflammatory, or otherwise disrespectful language. We do such, fully committed to the principles of academic freedom, holding “that the widest possible scope for freedom of expression is the foundation of an institution dedicated to vigorous inquiry, robust debate, and the continuous search for a proper balance between freedom and order,” “that censorship is always suspect, that intimidation is always repugnant, and that attempts to discourage constitutionally protected expression are antithetical to the central focus of the University's mission: education and discovery of new knowledge,” and that these principles are “accompanied by a corresponding principle of responsibility.” (From the Chapman University Faculty Manual, 2016)

Please submit coursework on Blackboard before the start of class on the day the assignment is due, even if you will need to miss class.

Late Assignments
You may submit one assignment, one class day late. The late assignment will not be marked down, however any assignments turned in more than one class late, or in addition to the one accepted assignment, will only receive credit at the digression of the instructor.



Chapman University Policies
Academic Integrity Policy
Chapman University is a community of scholars which emphasizes the mutual responsibility of all members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith. Students are responsible for doing their own work, and for submitting coursework completed this semester, for this class. Academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated anywhere in the university. Academic dishonesty of any kind will be subject to sanction by the instructor/administrator and referral to the university's Academic Integrity Committee, which may impose additional sanctions up to and including expulsion. Please see the full description of Chapman University's policy on Academic Integrity at
Students with Disabilities
In compliance with ADA guidelines, students who have any condition, either permanent or temporary, that might affect their ability to perform in this class are encouraged to inform the instructor at the beginning of the term. Upon recommendation of the Center for Academic Success, adaptations of teaching methods, class materials, including text and reading materials or testing may be made as needed to provide for equitable participation.
Equity and Diversity Policy

Chapman University is committed to ensuring equality and valuing diversity. Students and professors are reminded to show respect at all times as outlined in Chapman’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy: at Any violations of this policy should be discussed with the professor, the Dean of Students and/or otherwise reported in accordance with this policy.



Class Schedule and Required Reading
This is a tentative schedule that may change. Assignment directions and due dates will be posted on The Slide Projector. Updates will be announced in class, on lecture presentations, and modified on the Syllabus page of The Slide Projector.
Discussion Topic
Assignment & Reading Due
January 31
February 2
Before Photography
Introduction - page 7
February 7
The Daguerreotype
Pages 8 - 16
The Daguerreotype
February 9
The Mirror with a Memory
Pages 16 - 29 & 56 - 73
February 14
The Expanding Domain
Pages 30 - 41 & 43 - 55
February 16
Conflict & Expansion
Pages 42, 96 - 127 & 222 - 227
February 21
Imagining the West
Pages 127 - 140
Febraury 23
Question of Art
Pages 74 - 95
Photo Among the Fine Arts?
February 28
Amateur Visions
Essay 1
March 1
Rachel Mason, AF 209 C, 7 to 9 PM
March 2
Photographing The Other
Pages 140 - 159, 214 - 222
March 7
Impact of the Hand-Held
Pages 160 - 170
March 9
Pages 170 - 179 & 182 - 194
Essay 2
March 14
Studies in Motion
Pages 208 - 214
March 16
Straight Photography
Pages 180 - 181 & 194 - 199
March 20
Midterm Exam
March 21
Spring Break
March 23
March 28
New Vision
Pages 230 - 240, 260 - 266
March 30
Social Documentary
Pages 200 - 208, 228 - 229
April 3
Bensussen Lecture
April 4
Healing the Madness
Pages 240 - 259
April 5
Margo Pawell, Beckman Hall 404, 7 to 9 PM
April 6
Art & Documentary
Pages 266 - 294
April 7
Art History Symposium, AF 209 B, 11 AM to 5:30 PM
April 11
The Decisive Moment
Pages 295 - 335
April 13
The Family of Man
Pages 336 - 347
April 18
Social Landscape
Pages 348 - 357, 372 - 391
April 20
Through the Lens of Culture
Pages 354 - 371
April 25
New Topographics
April 27
Pages 392 - 404, 455 - 473
May 2
The Simulacra
Pages 437 - 453
May 4
Photographic Politics
Pages 405 - 435, 454, 474 - 491
Essay 4
May 9
Into the Twenty-First Century
Chapter 14
May 11
The Death of Photography
May 14
Exam 2
May 16
Final Presentation 1:30 to 4 PM



Important Dates
Late Registration
The last day to add this courses is Friday, February 10.
Drop Deadline
Students wishing to drop the course without record must do so by Friday, February 10. The last day to withdraw from a course, or change grading option to P/NP is Friday, April 14.
Final Exam
The in-class final for this course is mandatory, and will not be offered at an alternative date, except under extenuating circumstances. The instructor understands that the end of the academic year and travel come with much urgency and pressure. Nonetheless, the hours set aside for the final exam are a part of your earned credit and as such, are an important component of your grade.
Grades will be available no later than Sunday, May 29.



Dee Williams, Broadway Waterfall, 2010.