Photography: Contexts of Practice - ARTS5230

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 30 (15) Jonathan Friday checkmark-circle


This is a practice-based module exploring the photographic medium and the contexts of its use through the production of photographs in response to a project brief and group-based critical discussion of the work produced. Students investigate how the context in which photographs are made affect how the world is represented, and how in turn these images shape perception. Students choose two practical project briefs that are designed to enable them to explore the medium creatively and through informed and reflective practice. The emphasis of the module is upon this creative practice rather than the acquisition of specific technical skills, and as such students are at liberty to use any photographic production and post-production technologies they wish to experiment with or find appropriate. A camera phone and access to a computer and printer are all that is needed for this module, though students who wish to make use of digital image processing or analogue processes, including use of a darkroom, are encouraged to do so. Each of the practical project briefs will be supported through a series of lectures closely examining various genres, styles and other contexts of photographic production through the work of those who have shaped them. In addition students will present the work they have produced in response to their project briefs, and engage in a broad critical discussion or their own and other's work.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 48
Private Study Hours: 252
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Students are required to produce two photographic portfolios. Each portfolio should consist of between 12 and 25 thematically connected photographs and a 1500 word reflective statement which are together assigned a single mark.

Portfolio 1 – 50% of the final mark
Portfolio 2 – 50% of the final mark

Reassessment methods


Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

The following books are recommended for those wishing to develop their practical skills and technical knowledge of the photographic medium:
• Hedgecoe, J. (2009) New Manual of Photography, London: DK.
• Langford, M., et al. (2012) Basic Photography, Taylor & Francis
• Mahé, P. and Zakia, R. D. (2012) Beginning Photography Using the Stop-System Editions France Delory

The following books provide extensive information about a wide range of genres, forms and styles of photographic practice:
• Rosenblum, N. (2008) A World History of Photography, New York: Abbeville Press
• Frizot, M. (1998) A New History of Photography, New York: Konemann
• Marien, M. W. (2014) Photography: A Cultural History, London: Laurence King

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Effectively use photographic equipment and materials to produce technically sophisticated images that are clearly situated within a context of photographic production,
such as a particular genre or style.
2 Creatively respond to a photographic project brief.
3 Employ relevant theoretical and critical concepts drawn from photographic and media theory to discuss their own and others' photographic practice and outputs.
4 Make and explain relevant connections between historic photographic practices, genres and styles and the images they have made in response to a project brief.
5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history of photography as an art and as a broader media form.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate problem-solving skills, including how to follow a project through from its initial conception to the final product.
2 Construct and evaluate arguments relevant to their own and other's creative activity.
3 Adhere to deadlines and demonstrate time-management skills
4 Conduct research into theoretical and historical materials.
5 Demonstrate advanced written and oral communication skills, particularly apropos the expression of complex thoughts about visual media and arts


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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