Photography Theory Moving Forward

Harper, Sharon P (2015) Photography Theory Moving Forward. In: MeCCSA 2015: Generations, 7-9 January 2015, Northumbria University. (Unpublished)

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The nature of photography in higher education is undoubtedly changing. The next generation of photography courses has expanded (HESA data suggests a 39% with a 37% increase in overall enrolment between 2008-09 and 2012-13) with a concurrent emphasis on industry skills and commercial career outcomes (Edge 2009). Developing the next generation of photography theory to suit the new pedagogic demands is surely a necessity. A few calls for such a re-examination have indeed been made (Haeffner 2008, Newbury 2009, Edge 2009, Bate 2010). But little has been offered that is not simply a rearticulation of the already dominant theoretical models. Rather than relying on the well-trodden models that promote either the view of photographer as visionary or an emphasis on meaning generation, it is proposed here that theory and history in photography should look to the breadth of approaches found in film studies, given that film itself, like photography, spans the avant-garde through to the highly commercial. The two areas for development particularly advocated here are genre studies and industry analysis in terms of production and distribution. Since most commercially-bound photographers work within industrial structures and constraints, both of these approaches would facilitate an understanding of creativity and innovation in this context. This would open up areas of photographic study that have thus far been largely ignored by academics, and more importantly would facilitate a closer relationship and dialogue between theory and practice in the educational context.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Photography, education, theory, commercial photography
Subjects: T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Creative Practice and Theory
Depositing User: Sharon Harper
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2016 17:36
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:23

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