Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FT0092 (AF:430051 AR:208662)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Term
Go to Moodle page
The course is part of the related or integrative courses in Art History of the Bachelor’s Degree in Conservation of the Cultural Heritage and Management of Cultural Activities. It therefore intends to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the history of photography, from its origins to today, in a constant and indispensable comparison with the contemporary visual arts and image theory.
Excellent knowledge and understanding of the history of photography and its theoretical, aesthetic, technical, and social developments between the 19th and 21st centuries. Ability to apply the knowledge and understanding of the texts and topics (authors, pictures, artworks, ideas, themes) examined during the course by elaborating, with the appropriate language and the subject-specific terminology, an autonomous, articulate and coherent discourse, especially in written form. Ability to formulate a personal critical judgment, also thanks to the methodological example and the tools provided during classes, by establishing an open and enriching exchange with the teacher and classmates.
Good knowledge of the major historical events and the main movements of thought between the 19th and the 21st centuries, as a general framework in which the history of photography and of the visual arts is included.
The course is divided into thematic cores and focused on some of the major authors and thinkers of photography – among which also important artists-photographers whose theoretical effort is an integral part of their work – that with their writings have investigated fundamental questions of the history and status of images between the 19th and 21st centuries. The topics covered during lessons will illustrate and integrate the study of the exam references – non-attending students will add a book chosen from the suggested bibliography. Particular attention will be paid to the problem of the identity of photography, which suspended between its scientific and artistic origin, social and cultural history, commercial and media use, public and private memory, documentary and fictional value, analogue and digital language, is in constant evolution. The complete programme will be presented and made available at the beginning of the course.
For attending and non-attending students:

1. Jean-Claude Lemagny e André Rouillé (eds.), A History of Photography, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1987 (1st ed. 1986). [NB: The book is no longer available to buy. It is available in the BAUM library and on Moodle].
2. David Levi Strauss, Photography and Belief, David Zwirner Books, New York, 2020.
3. André Gunthert, L’image partagée: La photographie numérique, Textuel, Paris, 2015.

Non-attending students and those who skip more than 30% of the lessons will prepare, in addition to the programme indicated above, one of the following books of their choice:

- Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Notes on Photography, Hill and Wang, New York, 1981 (First ed. in French, La chambre claire. Note sur la photographie, 1980).
- Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media, ed. by M. Jennings, B. Doherty, T.Y. Levin, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (MA), 2008 [Only the following sections: “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility” (pp.19-55); “Little History of Photography” (pp. 274-298)].
- Clément Chéroux, Fautographie. Petite histoire de l’erreur photographique, Yellow Now, Crisnée, 2003.
- Susan Sontag, On Photography, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1977.

Non-attending students should contact the teacher to confirm the exam programme, particularly if there are special requests or interests that are not part of the bibliography but are consistent with their curricula and the preparation of their thesis.
The exam will consist for both attending and non-attending students only of a written test with five questions, including the attribution and critical reading of a photograph, based on the study of the reference books. For non-attending students the question related to the topics covered in the course will be replaced by a question on the additional chosen book. The test is passed if the student reaches sufficiency by responding accurately and exhaustively to three of the five questions. Grades are given on the basis of the correctness and completeness of the answers and on the accuracy of the language used.
During classes the interpretative reading of critical texts and of images will be carried out as methodological exercise to facilitate learning. The bibliography of the critical texts discussed by the teacher, as well as the images that will be considered during classes, will be available for students in the form of slides on the online platform Moodle (for copyright reasons both the images and the texts cannot be made available in any other way). During the course, the "A photo a day" exercise will also be carried out: when coming to class, each student will be asked to take a photograph along the way, which will then be collected and shared with the classmates in a collective atlas of images. At the end of the course, through a group contest, some of the photographs will be chosen to be commented together in the classroom. Any visits to exhibitions and lectures by guest professors and experts in the field will be an integral part of the course – more information will be provided during classes.
Class attendance is recommended to all students and is required to those who wish to apply for a thesis in History of Photography, especially in relation to contemporary art and to visual production and culture.

Ca’ Foscari follows the Italian law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) for the support and accommodation services available to students with disabilities or specific learning disabilities. If you have either a motor, visual, hearing or another disability (Law 17/1999), or a specific learning disorder (Law 170/2010) and you require support (classroom assistance, technological aids for carrying out exams or personalized exams, accessible format material, note retrieval, specialist tutoring as study support, interpreters or other), please contact the Disability and DSA office
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 11/07/2022