Sophie Barbasch

Undergraduate Discipline

Visual and Studio Arts

BA, Brown University. MFA, Rhode Island School of Design. A New York-based photographer, Barbasch has exhibited internationally. Her selected grants and residencies include Light Work, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil. SLC, 2021-

Undergraduate Courses 2021-2022

Visual and Studio Arts

Black-and-White Darkroom: An Immersion

Open, Seminar—Fall and Spring

This class will focus on the technical and conceptual underpinnings of black-and-white photography. Students will learn how to use the 35mm film camera and how to print in the darkroom. We will cover a wide range of technical topics, including exposure, film development, printing on RC and fiber paper, toning, and split-filter printing. In-class lectures will introduce students to historical and contemporary practitioners, with a focus on voices and perspectives that have too often been sidelined in photo history curricula. Weekly shooting assignments will challenge students to engage with the complexities of the medium and think beyond traditional modes of presentation. Reading and writing assignments will supplement studio work. In addition to art criticism, we will read fiction and poetry by writers such as Mary Karr, Elena Ferrante, Rebecca Solnit, and Jorie Graham. Some of the guiding questions for our class will include: How can we use photography, the indexical medium, to investigate what we don’t understand? How can making images teach us about the people and places closest to us? And how can printing and installation choices support our artistic arguments? At the end of the semester, each student will present a body of work on a topic of their choice.


The Camera/The World

Open, Small Lecture—Year

What are the political, social, and aesthetic implications of a world in which the image may have supplanted the truth? What are the consequences for communities that are less globally wired? Can humanism thrive in an image-saturated environment? Can racial and environmental justice be furthered in a plugged-in universe? In particular, what are the ramifications of iPhone-enabled “citizen journalism”? Who is telling the story of an image? Who is allowed to look at it? Who is disseminating it? Do images haunt our public memory? Do artists have a responsibility in image-making? The course structure is lecture/studio hybrid and will entail a combination of lecture, discussion, writing, and art making.