Joel Sternfeld

The Noble Foundation Chair in Art and Cultural History

BA, Dartmouth College. Photographer/artist with exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships and a Prix de Rome. Author of American Prospects, On This Site, Stranger Passing, and 10 other books. SLC, 1985–

Undergraduate Courses 2017-2018

Visual and Studio Arts

America as Photographic Art

Open , Seminar—Fall

In this course, students will study the work of Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, and the many others who have made the American scene their primary subject. At the same time, using the local landscape as a surrogate for the country as a whole, students will make their own photographs and studies of the look and meaning of the American experience. America was young when photography was invented in 1839. The “old world” had been depicted in painting, but the sights and sounds of the new nation were different from anything that had come before. Photography and America grew up together—and they made good companions. Much of photography's development as a medium in the 20th century took place in America and under American terms. While this special relationship may be at a conclusion, the perpetually evolving American physical, social, and political landscape yet remains rich subject matter open to everyone with a desire to investigate and express their understanding.

Faculty

The New Narrative Photography

Open , Seminar—Fall and Spring

A photograph presented alone and without a fully descriptive caption is like a simple utterance. “Ooh,” “Aah,” and “Huh?” are its proper responses. When pictures are presented in groups with accompanying text (of any length) and perhaps in conjunction with political or poetic conceptual strategies, however, any statement becomes possible. The photographs can begin to function as a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire treatise. Whether working in fiction, in nonfiction, or in a fictive space, artists such as Alan Sekula, Robert Frank, Susan Meiselas, Taryn Simon, Jim Goldberg, Ronie Horn, and others have been in the process of transforming photography with their work for the past 30 years. Or perhaps they have created a medium: The New Narrative Photography. In this course, students will initially study the work of these narrative photographers and either write about their work or make pictures in response to it. The culmination of this experience will be the students' creation of their own bodies of work. If you have a story to tell or a statement to make or a phenomenon that you wish to study and describe, this course is open to you. No previous photographic experience is necessary nor is any special equipment. The opportunity to forge a new medium is rare. This course aims to create the forum and the conditions necessary for all to do so in a critical and supportive workshop environment.

Faculty

The Ideas of Photography: Moving Beyond Influence

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course is a hybrid. Each week of the semester, a different photographic idea or genre will be traced from its earliest iterations to its present forms through slide lectures and readings. Each week, students will respond with photographic work inspired by the visual presentations and readings. Topics include personal dress-up/narrative, composite photography/photographic collage, the directorial mode, fashion/art photography, new strategies in documentary practice, abstraction/new photography, the typology in photography, the photograph in color, and the use of words and images. In the final portion of the semester, the emphasis will shift as students choose to work on a subject and in a form that coincides with the ideas they are most compelled to express. No previous experience in photography is necessary nor is any special equipment. A desire to explore and experiment and to create a personally meaningful body of work are the only prerequisites.

Faculty

Previous Courses

The New Narrative Photography

Open , Seminar—Fall

A photograph presented alone and without a fully descriptive caption is like a simple utterance. “Ooh,” “Aah,” and “Huh?” are its proper responses. When pictures are presented in groups with accompanying text (of any length) and perhaps in conjunction with political or poetic conceptual strategies, however, any statement becomes possible. The photographs can begin to function as a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire treatise. Whether working in fiction, in nonfiction, or in a fictive space, artists such as Alan Sekula, Robert Frank, Susan Meiselas, Taryn Simon, Jim Goldberg, Ronie Horn, and others have been in the process of transforming photography with their work for the past 30 years. Or perhaps they have created a medium: The New Narrative Photography. In this course, students will initially study the work of these narrative photographers and either write about their work or make pictures in response to it. The culmination of this experience will be the students' creation of their own bodies of work. If you have a story to tell or a statement to make or a phenomenon you wish to study and describe, this course is open to you. No previous photographic experience is necessary nor is any special equipment. The opportunity to forge a new medium is rare. This course aims to create the forum and the conditions necessary for all to do so in a critical and supportive workshop environment.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: The Photograph Now

Open , FYS

For its first 100 years, photography was black-and-white—an abstraction of human sightedness. Newly born photography shook (and was shaken by) painting, as it pushed into the world as an engine of modern consciousness. When color photography came along, it didn’t hesitate to present new pleasures and new problems to thoughtful practitioners of, and adherents to, the medium. The recent arrival of digital photography has created an image culture that is changing by the day—and changing the world by the day. Through black-and-white, color, and digital darkroom work and a broad range of readings, students will grow familiar with photographic practices and theories as they respond to the pull of the student's individual aesthetic.

Faculty

Advanced Photography

Advanced , Seminar—Year

This is a rigorous studio course in which students will produce a body of work while studying the relevant artistic and photographic precedents. A working knowledge of photographic history and contemporary practice is a prerequisite, as is previous art or photographic work that indicates readiness for the advanced questions presented by this course.

Faculty

Color Photography

Open , Seminar—Fall

Permission of the instructor is required.

This course concentrates on the technique and aesthetics of color photography using both traditional (analog) and digital methods. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the very nature of a color photograph. Students will print in the color darkroom and in the digital darkroom. They will explore “color seeing.” Readings in the history of photography will be part of the course work.

Faculty

Color Photography

Open , Seminar—Spring

Permission of the instructor is required.

This course concentrates on the technique and aesthetics of color photography using both traditional (analog) and digital methods. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the very nature of a color photograph. Students will print in the color darkroom and in the digital darkroom. They will explore “color seeing.” Readings in the history of photography will be part of the course work.

Faculty