The Burden of Representation: Photography and What We Show

Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Class Size: 22
Credits per quarter

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We make and consume photographic images in an infinite loop. In images, we make what we have already seen. By and large, what we have seen in images is predicated upon a lineage of representation that extends far beyond the 19th century development of photography. However, for the purposes and focus of this program, we will look especially close at the histories of representation in photographic images starting in Europe and the U.S. during the middle of the 19th century, when superstition, science (pseudo and otherwise), commerce, sexuality and race formed an immutable new form of "drawing" that was as full of treachery as it was full of promise. Modern means of photographic image production differ from photography's earliest forms in terms of material and time but our current methods of making photographs are as problematic and promising as ever.

This intermediate to advanced photography program will ask students to consider the broader implications of what we show in photographs and how we show those things. The program will be a substantially broad platform from which students can operate formally and conceptually. Both film and digital formats will be available (but neither required) for students to use. This includes all black and white and color darkroom work, as well as digital editing and printing. Students will be required to produce several bodies of images during each quarter and present those images at class critiques.

The program will require rigor on the part of students in both the conceptualization and execution of their images. For fall quarter, students will be expected to come to the program with considerable knowledge of basic camera, darkroom and digital editing skills. However, students will also have the opportunity to learn and explore any number of new processes that may prove important to their work. In fact, students will be encouraged to explore and experiment with ideas and processes that are outside their current field of knowledge. Students will be coming into the program at a variety of different experience levels and students can expect to have the ability to pursue their work at their individual level.  

During winter quarter, students can expect to build on learned skills from fall quarter as well as be introduced to new processes and materials as needed on a student by student basis.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

photography and visual arts.


Credits per quarter


Previous experience in using SLR cameras in either film or digital formats. Students must also have experience with color and/or black and white darkrooms as well as basic digital editing experience, such as Photoshop or Lightroom.

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.
Special expenses:

Students can expect to spend $200-300 per quarter on materials.


$60 per quarter for entrance fees.

Internship Opportunities:

Internship position for each quarter. Intern will help with student needs in DIS, darkrooms, lighting studio, critiques and in student work documentation. 

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 22

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, January 7, 2019 - 9:00 am
LIB 1326 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia