Contents and Learning Objectives

Course Contents

This continuing education program focuses on the cultural and historical significance of photography from its beginnings to the globalized present. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the medium from a theoretical, art historical, and media historical perspective. Emphasis is placed on photographs in the context of society and politics, national and transcultural discourses, and the museum, as well as on photographic images and processes in scientific theories and practices.

Historical Knowledge of Photographic Objects  

Taking a long-term perspective, we will explore the sociopolitical and technical significance of photographic processes—from the first daguerreotypes to digital images. The modules will also convey skills needed to work with scholarly research, historical sources, and images. Participants will improve their own ability to speak and write about photography while productively engaging with current discourses in cultural theory.

Analyses from Visual Studies and Art History 

The program teaches methods to contextualize photographs and gain the necessary skills for their analysis as objects of scholarly research. The focus is on the ability to examine the visual language and statement of a photographic image against the backdrop of artistic traditions, historical functions, and geographic spaces. 

Discussion and Application of Theoretical Models and Current Research Methods  

We will specifically engage with the history of theoretical models, methods, and questions that have been applied to the study of photography. Comparing and discussing these approaches allows us to understand the historical and transnational complexity inherent to the production and reception of photographs and to reflect on photography in writing.


Learning Objectives

The course offers participants an intensive study of photography as visual medium with a focus on theory, history, and practice.
Participants will learn to expand their research skills in the field of photography in order to understand and theoretically reflect on forms of theoretical discourse about photography. They will learn to analyze photographs as visual and artistic objects, considering the relationship between the history of technology, materials, and the intellectual history of images. They will examine photography as a visual medium in relation to social and political discourses and in the context of exhibitions, museums, the art trade, and public media.

With the knowledge they acquire, participants will be able to

  • Develop strategies for cataloguing photographic work in the context of museums, archives, and collections
  • Formulate ideas for assessing and analyzing a historical collection or an exhibition concept
  • Train the ability to classify images in the field of photojournalism and photo editing as political statements and media carrying messages with social significance, while strengthening skills in writing about photography
  • Examine photographic images in the course of work for education institutions not only as historical evidence and illustrations, but as an active form of communication that shapes society, while developing the ability to understand photographs in terms of their own visual language