Introduction to the History of Photography - HART3170

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Spring Term 4 30 (15) Jonathan Friday checkmark-circle


This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 46
Private study hours: 254
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Image Analysis (2000 words) (40%)
Virtual Exhibition (Including a 2000 word written component) (40%)
Seminar Preparation Notes (For each seminar, a set of preparation notes of approximately 500 words) (20%)

Reassessment methods

Like for Like.

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

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

1 demonstrate some understanding of the origins of photography and the development of the medium through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
2 demonstrate some understanding of the social and cultural contexts relevant to the emergence of the photographic medium.
3 identify and characterise a wide range of photographic genres and styles.
4 demonstrate a good understanding of emergence and development of photography as an art form.
5 outline the technological development of the photographic medium and the effects of such developments upon photographic practices.
6 demonstrate an ability to critically analyse photographic images.
7 demonstrate an ability to undertake comparative and non-comparative analyses of photographic images.

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

1 correctly employ the appropriate technical vocabulary in writing about art.
2 attend critically to the views of others, whether spoken or written, and make a relevant response that furthers the investigation.
3 construct and evaluate arguments.
4 adhere to deadlines and demonstrate time-management skills


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage 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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