Landscape as Photography
In this course, photography is introduced as a means of both expression and documentation. Photographic sequences in particular offer the potential for an expanded reading of the designed landscape as well as the character and qualities of change and transformation inherent in the physical characteristics of cities and landscapes.
This course explores this expanded potential through the study of photography, both in its technical capacity and in its unique ability to express framed views, constructed narratives, the passage of time, sound, speeds of movement, radical scale shifts and discontinuous, extended, or compressed ideas of time and space. The course is structured around creating two essential photographic sequences of adjacent sites. The sequence allows students to investigate the notion of site and its definition within both city and landscape. Take, for instance, Boston Commons and Chinatown. They are adjacent; although one is a highly-designed historic park, full of seasonality, vegetation and a specifically ecological atmosphere. Chinatown, on the other hand, has street trees, alleys, trash, crowds, open air markets, smells, sounds and thresholds that are very different from the Commons.
Once these sequences have been established, the idea of transition is introduced. How can one sequence inform the other? This strategy aims to document the relationship between the planned landscape and its context.
Through the course of the term, participants will concentrate on the production of photographic images that are based in both site and experience, in order to produce a reading of the landscape that is both sensual and physical. The quality of the still image and the rigor of editing will be explored in order to construct a firm visual narrative of a site that will provide a new reading of each landscape.
By the end of the semester students will have a solid conceptual foundation for the potential of using photography to represent a place, location or site, as well as the specific skills concerning photographic technique. Through lectures and slideshows, students will also be exposed to a broad range of contemporary and historic landscape photography as a way of influencing and informing their own photographic practices.