Documentary Photography as 371. 303 Phyllis Berger

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Documentary  Photography AS 371.303

Phyllis Berger

Home 410-467-8525

Cell 410-207-5862


In this course, we will explore different genres of documentary photography including: the fine art document, photojournalism, social documentary photography, the photo essay and photography of propaganda.

Students will work on a semester-long photo-documentary project on a subject of their choice. Camera experience is a plus, but not a prerequisite.  Students will be loaned a digital SLR for the semester.


Course Objectives

Students will:

Begin to think critically about images

View and discuss the work of documentary photographers

Gain proficiency in the use of the camera

Learn to connect images sequentially

Create a semester long documentary project



30% Students must be active participants in all classroom activities: joining in discussion of images, and completing assignments for critique on time.

60% Final project



You must be on time for all classes. Three late classes count as a missed class.

Two missed classes will lower your grade by one letter.

Three missed classes result in an F.


Class 1

Lecture: What is Documentary Photography?

Discussion on various forms this genre takes

Introduction to Feldman Theory

Camera Operation


Reading Assignment

Understanding Exposure Brian Peterson

Practice using your cameras see assignment sheet on Blackboard

Upload images to Flickr See data sheet on Blackboard


Class 2

Field practice: Baltimore Street Car Museum

Shoot Raw


Class 3

Camera Raw Tutorial

Discussion of Flickr uploads


Lecture: Street Photography


Eugene Atget

Robert Doisneau

Lee Friedlander

Diane Arbus

Cartier Bresson


Digital Journalist Discussion



Street Photograph

See assignment sheet on Blackboard

Due Class 5


Class 4

Hampden Skate Park

Shoot raw


Write a semester long project proposal due class 6

You should pick a project that would lend itself to a photographic essay on a subject that truly interests you. We will have critiques of your work as we progress through the semester to help with technical and content issues.


Class 5

Photoshop Tutorial and Lab


Reading for Class six

We will work on street car photos


Begin work in class on semester project


Class 6

Movie and Discussion “True Meaning of Pictures”



Reading for class 7


 “Impossible to Forget” on electronic reserve


Short crit


Discussion of project proposals


Class 7

Fells Point


Class 8


Movie and Discussion War photographer

Lecture: Photographer as Witness 

James Nachtwey 

Michael Kenna


Upload images from your semester project to flickr

You can post them under your set



Class 9


Critique: Bring images on a portable drive


Class 10

Reading “The Harvest Gypsies” PDF on Blackboard


Lecture: Farm Security Association

Discussion: Issues of Photographic Integrity


Dorothea Lange

Russell Lee 

Arthur Rothstein 

Propaganda photos from Soviet Union








Class 12

Final Critique






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