4.343/4.344 Advanced Photography and Related Media

4.343/4.344 Advanced Photography and Related Media: Photography and Non-Capitalist Life

Instructor: Jesal Kapadi

While market forces have looked to control the power of photography and turn it into a disciplinary tool of authority or a mere object to be consumed, discarded and recycled, the plurality of positions and practices surrounding the medium of photography have ensured that it functions on a horizontal plane to affirm new aesthetic gestures outside of the proscribed tempos of capitalist life.

This studio course is organized so as to locate these ‘other openings’, focusing on the subjects who are making the media rather than just the object produced, to examine the diverse relations that make up our world. What would an “emancipatory” photographic practice look like, given the social media and digital imaging tools so easily available to us today? Can photography facilitate in producing or sustaining a notion of the commons?

To examine these questions we will critically re-define an open and inclusive practice of representation to foster the notion that photography be seen as a space of political relations, and as a tool for refashioning notions of solidarity. We will explore photography’s capacity to visualize an aesthetic imaginary with paradigms inspired by the ‘third cinema’ and counter-documentary practices, in order to restore a “poetics” to the image which challenges the separations of a neoliberal imaginary.

Students initiate term projects to create either new works or reconsider and continue old ones. Work-in-progress is reviewed and discussed continuously in a critical forum. Final project is presented in an exhibition format. Emphasis is placed on the individual development of a conceptually and visually strong body of work. The course combines lectures, readings, practical instruction, hands-on photo shoots, visiting professionals, group discussions, individual reviews, and a field trip to New York City.

Work with a range of different analog and digital camera formats from cell phone camera to 4×5 view camera. Practical instruction in exposure and development, traditional and experimental black-and-white darkroom printing and all aspects of digital imaging and output in state of the art facilities, and studio lighting. 35mm and digital SLRs, medium format cameras and 4×5 view cameras available for checkout.

Production time outside class is essential. Advanced students are welcome. Limited enrollment. Open to advanced students. Lab Fee $185.




  • G:
    Prereq: Permission of instructor
    Units: u-level: 3-2-4; g-h level: units tba
    Lab Fee: 185
  • Credit: hass-arts
  • Schedule: W 7-10pm (recitation tba)
    Location: e15-054