Decoding the Message
Learning to Read Photographs
Instructor: Michelle Bogre
7:30–9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Eight Tuesdays, Beginning March 7
Course type: Lecture and discussion
Course fee: $475
Central Bosnia near Travnik, 1995. Photo by Glenn Ruga.
Option to pay 25% deposit now with balance due one week before course starts.
In 1936, Lászlo Moholy Nagy wrote: "The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen." He was right, but being literate today entails more than camera skills; it requires knowing how to decode photographs.
Photography has become the pulse of our culture and the most universal and versatile language of the 21st century. It also may be the most complex and varied visual discipline ever and because of that, it is the discipline most in need of explanation. Photography is a paradox. It is multifaceted in its depth and breadth; it is object and idea; art and science; reality and representation; evidence and witness; truth and fiction; objective and subjective; self-initiated and indelibly socially connected; fixed and floating; important and frivolous.
Through lectures, curated readings and photographs, this discussion-based class will introduce key photographic theory to help you learn to decode photographs and expand your understanding of images beyond the superficial.
Michelle Bogre, the former Chair of the Photography Department at Parsons School of Design in New York, currently holds the title of Professor Emerita title from Parsons after a 25-year career teaching almost every type of photography class and a special class she developed on copyright law for artists and designers. She is also a copyright lawyer, documentary photographer and author of four books: Photography As Activism: Images for Social Change, Photography 4.0: A Teaching Guide for the 21st Century, Documentary Photography Reconsidered: History, Theory and Practice, and her most recent, The Routledge Companion to Copyright and Creativity in the 21st Century. She regularly lectures and writes about copyright and photography. Her photographs and/or writings have been published in books, including the Time-Life Annual Photography series, The Family of Women, Beauty Bound, The Design Dictionary (Birkhauser Press, 2008) and photographer Trey Ratcliffe’s monograph, Light Falls like Bits. She is currently trying to finish a long term documentary project on family farms, published on Instagram as @thefarmstories, and a revision of Photography As Activism.
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