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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Theodor Frederick Hiebert
BIS 209
Bothell Campus

Engaging Visual Arts

Foregrounds questions about visual arts: What are the purposes of the visual arts? What approaches might we use to understand them? How do they relate to the societies and cultures in which they are located? May focus on individual writers, movements, historical periods, genres or topics.

Class description

WINTER 2012: Photography as Art

What is the difference between a passport photograph, a picture in a family album and an image hung on the wall of an art gallery? What do each of these pictures mean in a larger context -- whether used for identification, as a fond moment of remembrance or as a creative gesture to the outside world? Are all photographs created equal and if not how and why do we look at certain types of photographs in the ways we do?

And how could we begin to look at photographs differently?

This course explores photography as an artistic medium, looking at pictures by artists and asking students to make pictures of their own. The goal of the class is to create a context for understanding photography as a form of contemporary art, including expressive and interpretive strategies for taking and making pictures.

Student learning goals

develop a basic understanding of photography as a contemporary artistic form;

learn different ways to think about and interpret photographs;

experiment with creative, expressive and conceptual strategies for making pictures;

explore creative, interpretive and reflective methods of engagement with visual arts practices.

General method of instruction

This course will be content-driven, and will include lectures, readings, class discussions, presentations and critiques. Assignments will include a combination of art projects, writing assignments, in class discussions of artists and of student works in progress.

Please Note: This is not a course on technical skill-acquisition or professional photographic practices -- this is a course that explores the relationship between photography and contemporary art. While some elements of technique will be discussed, the focus of the course is on understanding how images can serve an artistic purpose.

Recommended preparation

No advanced preparation is required. Students will be expected to provide their own camera(s) and other technical equipment necessary for project realization. Available campus resources, supported practices and off-campus alternatives will be discussed in class.

Class assignments and grading

Grades will be based on a combination of writing assignments, arts production and participation in class discussions and critiques. A portion of final grades will be based on artworks produced for the course.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Theodor Frederick Hiebert
Date: 04/19/2012