Instinct & Metaphor
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art, Media and Technology
Department: Photography
Course Number: PUPH 2545
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Photography
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
  • Visual Arts
Most photographs, whether student, fine art, or professional, are made by the traditional, classic art concept, a previsualization, and execute that vision with taste and elegance in some medium. The goal is total control. In this century, artists in almost every medium have disputed this approach: John Cage in music, the Surrealists and Dadaists with automatic writing and chance juxtapositions. William Burrough’s notebooks, Jackson Pollock’s dribbles. In photography, the box camera originally had no viewfinder, which made total control impossible. Inspired by their inventive compositions, photographers using its successors, 35mm cameras, have successfully explored this new approach and some of their discoveries were adapted by their view camera brethren. In their theoretical remarks, such photographers will say the proper state of mind is to be as blank as the piece of film or as open to discovering images as the lens, which makes pictures all the time. The photographer chooses which ones to preserve on film. This method introduces chance, spontaneity and time into the visual media in a new way. And these have often led to metaphor, as in Stieglitz’s equivalents. This class will study such spontaneous photographers as they have worked in fine arts and commercial photography. But primarily it will aim at producing photographs by this method.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university undergraduate degree students. Pre-requisite(s): PUPH 1011 Freshman Seminar 2 or PSAM 1051 Photography 2.


Open to Undergraduate students.