Final Master Exam in History and Theory of Photography

Final Master Exam in History and Theory of Photography

Each student draws 2 questions/​themes from the list and has 30 minutes to prepare before the exam, which has 2 parts:

1st 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 (of artists and theorists) to demonstrate the approach and understanding of a given problem convincingly.

2nd question (15 minutes): discussion with the members of the committee about the second chosen subject.

Questions/​thematic fields:

1. Medium specificity, photography and intermediality
2. Reproducibility (graphic, photographic and digital techniques of reproduction, reproduction and documentation of artworks)
3. Portrait photography and the problem of identity in modern and contemporary societies
4. Objectivity as an epistemic ideal: scientific photography
5. Photographer as witness: ethical and political dimensions of photography
6. Vernacular (amateur and commercial) photography
7. Vision machines and apparatuses: technical conditions of photography
8. Art as postproduction: found, appropriated, recycled and archived images
9. Photographic canon and its institutions (historiography, exhibitions, market)
10. Photography and new media (remediation, computational photography, operative images, technological convergence)

Recommended literature for final state exams from theory and history of photography:

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. 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. On Photography. London: Reaktion Books, 2015.
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.
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: BBC & Penguin Books, 1972.
Birgus, Vladimír – Jan Mlčoch. Czech Photography of the 20th Century. Prague: KANT, 2010.
Crary, Jonathan. Techniques of the Observer. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1990.
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. Into the Universe of Technical Images. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
Flusser, Vilém. Towards a Philosophy of Photography. London: Reaktion Books, 2000.
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.
Goldberg, Vicki (ed.), Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981.
Hannavy, John (ed.). Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography. Vol. 1+2. New York – London: Routledge, 2008.
Larsen, Jonas, Sandbye, Mette (eds.). Digital Snaps. The New Face of Photography. London: I. B. Tauris, 2014.
Lister, Martin (ed.), 2013. The Photographic Image in Digital Culture. London: Routledge, 2013.
Mrázková, Daniela (ed.), What Is Photography: 150 Years of Photography. Prague: Videopress, 1989.
Sekula, Alan. 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.
Tagg, John. The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1988.
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.
Wells, Liz (ed.). Photography: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge, 2015.
Zylinska, Joanna. Nonhuman Photography. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2017.