|Instructor Info:||Billie Mandle|
Office Extension x5447
Photography's history is rich with diverse theories and practices of community engagement and documentation; in this class students will contribute their own approach. Throughout the semester students will work closely with older members of the Amherst community, photographing together, participating in group critiques and exploring photography's ability to communicate. As a class we will study the array of historical and contemporary artists who intertwine social involvement with artistic detachment and students will be required to write extensively and produce art in response to their experiences. In addition, students will curate their narratives and the class photographs into a final exhibition. Prior photography experience is recommended but not required; it is required that students be able to listen empathetically and work well independently.
When I was photographing in A.D. Thomas Elementary school, I asked my mother a question, something I rarely did. I asked her what she had done when as children, I and my brothers misbehaved and were driving her crazy. Of course, I could not remember our ever having misbehaved, but I thought I’d ask. She replied that she would just look at us very, very hard – not to stare us down, but rather to look and look until she truly saw us, and who we really were to her.
Judith Joy Ross
It is when we do not know the other, or when we accept that the other remains unknowable to us, that the other illuminates us in some way, but with a light that enlightens us without our being able to comprehend it, to analyze it, to make it ours. The totality of the other […] touches us beyond all knowledge, all judgment, all reduction to ourselves, to our own, to what is in some manner proper to us […] This letting go of the subject […] this opening of a world of one’s own, experienced as familiar, in order to welcome the stranger, while remaining oneself and letting the stranger be other, does not correspond to our mental habits, to our Western logic.”
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
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