Final Bachelor Exam in History and Theory of Photography

Each student draws 1 question/​theme from each list and has 30 minutes to prepare before the exam.

1st question (15 minutes):

Students answer question of the committee that focus on the chosen author. Students should be familiar with his/​her body of work as well as the historical and cultural context and have detailed knowledge of at least one primary text (book, chapter, article).

1. Walter Benjamin (photography and critical theory)
2. Roland Barthes (photography and semiotics)
3. Susan Sontag (photography and political criticism)
4. Vilém Flusser (photography and philosophy)
5. Rosalind Krauss (photography and art history)
6. Allan Sekula (photography and sociology)
7. Martha Rosler (photography and feminist criticism)
8. Lev Manovich (photography and new media)
9. W. J. T. Mitchell (photography and visual studies)
10. Geoffrey Batchen (photography and historiography)

2nd question (15 minutes):

10-minute uninterrupted presentation by the student followed by additional questions from the committee. The student is not expected to systematically cover the whole thematic field; s/​he should rather demonstrate his/​her approach to the subject while combining historiographical facts with theoretical perspective. It is recommended to choose several particular examples (artists, theorists, works, texts…) to demonstrate the approach and understanding of a given problem convincingly.

1. Nineteenth-century photography, painting and visual culture
2. Photography and twentieth-century artistic avant-gardes
3. Postmodern art and postmodern theory
4. Photography in socially engaged art
5. Photography and conceptual art
6. Photography and new media
7. Historical development of documentary photography
8. Historical development of scientific photography
9. Historical development of vernacular photography
10. Photography and feminist and postcolonial criticism

recommended literature:

Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography.New York: Hill & Wang, 1980.
Barthes, Roland. Image, Music, Text. London: Fontana Press, 1977, pp. 15 – 51.
Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. New York: Noonday Press, 1972.
Batchen, Geoffrey. Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph. DelMonico Books – Prestel, 2016.
Batchen, Geoffrey. Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2001.
Batchen, Geoffrey. Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1997.
Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media. Cambridge – London: Harvard University Press, 2008, pp. 19 – 165, 271 – 314.
Durden, Mark (ed.). Fifty Key Writers on Photography. London: Routledge, 2013.
Edwards, Steve. Photography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Flusser, Vilém. Towards a Philosophy of Photography. London: Reaktion Books, 2000.
Flusser, Vilém. Into the Universe of Technical Images. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
Foster, Hal et al., Art Since 1900. Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism.London: Thames & Hudson, 2011.
Freund, Gisèle. Photography & Society. Boston: David R. Godine, 1980.
Frizot, Michel a kol. A New History of Photography. Köln: Könemann, 1998.
Krauss, Rosalind. “A Voyage on the North Sea.” Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition. Thames & Hudson, 2000.
Krauss, Rosalind. The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge – London: The MIT Press, 1986.
Manovich, Lev. Language of New Media. Cambridge – London: The MIT Press, 2001.
Manovich, Lev. Instagram and Contemporary Image.
Mitchell, W. J. T. Picture Theory. University of Chicago Press 2016.
Rosler, Martha. Decoys and Disruptions: Selected Writings, 1975 – 2001. Cambridge – London: The MIT Press, 2004.
Sekula, Allan. Photography Against the Grain. Halifax: The Press of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1984.
Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador, 2003.
Sontag, Susan. On Photography. London: Penguin Books, 1977.
Sturken, Marita – Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking. An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009.
Trachtenberg, Alan. Classic Essays on Photography. New Haven, Conn.: Leete’s Island Books, 1980.
Warren, Lynne (ed.). Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography. Vol. 1+2. New York – London: Routledge, 2006.