From photography’s inception, photo books have been critical to the medium and have provided a way to understand our culture’s use of images. In 1844 William Henry Fox Talbot utilized the book form with the first lens-based book, ‘The Pencil of Nature’. In this course, students will explore the photo-based artist book as a vehicle for self-expression. A a variety of approaches to the photo book will be introduced through a mix of readings, presentations, assignments, and critiques.
The class will cover a large scope of photography from pre-WWII books acting as markers of place and people such as Walker Evans’ collaborative effort, ‘Let Us Now Famous Men’, to various current versions of documentary projects rooted in personal observation. Careful attention will be given to books that help shape the field, including Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’, along with many contemporary practitioners such as Larry Sultan, Wendy Ewald, Daido Moriyama, and Alec Soth. The ways in which photographs function and create meaning through sequence, narrative, design, and text within the book format will be examined. Students will be introduced to different ways of conceptualizing a book project, exploring a range of methods whether based through structuring a book by theme or with other approaches such as a nonlinear narrative.
Through assignments students will learn basic skills in page layout software with Lightroom. Photo-based books will be produced using a print-on-demand publisher such as Blurb.