Course Title: Contemporary Photographic Practice

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Contemporary Photographic Practice

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


340H Art


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2011


Hong Kong Arts Centre


340H Art


Offsh 2 09,
Offsh 1 10

Course Coordinator: Kellyann Geurts

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5236

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: Bld 7.4.32

Course Coordinator Availability: Via Appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is for Fine Art Students from BP201 only.

Course Description

Contemporary Photographic Practice further develops students understanding of the history and development of art photography. The course focuses on contemporary art and the issues around it
including the nature of being an artist, gallery exhibition, developing sustainable working methods, the differences and similarities between art and other photographic disciplines and current issues facing art and artists locally and internationally. Classes take the form of lectures, discussions, artists talks and visits to exhibitions.
This course will encourage students to engage in fine art practice and consider how it relates to other aspects of visual culture and contemporary life. They will be encouraged to rigorously develop their own practice with consideration of their audience, peers and how and where they will operate within the art scene.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Capability Development

Upon completion of this course you will have developed the capabilities to address conceptual, perceptual, formal and aesthetic concerns of the fine art photographic image in a contemporary context.  You will also develop skills to effectively communicate via artistic production in a range of media and modes with awareness of and sensitivity to a range of local and global contexts and cultures

Learning Outcomes
This Course is designed to:
• Introduce students to the history of photographic art and issues particularly pertinent to
photographic practice currently.
• Introduce students to the various aspects of the Melbourne art scene, past and present. Students
will be encouraged to think about how they might operate within this scene and how they might
contribute to it.
• Develop research and investigation skills so students can seek out inspiration and influence within
galleries, art magazines and ‘the street’.
• Encourage students to think about the differences, similarities and relationships between fine art
and other visual practices such as graphic design, advertising, fashion design, photo- journalism.
• Assist students with issues such as composition, colour and materials. These will be addressed
through consultation and within the lecture context where students will develop an understanding
of the ways such devices can add power and meaning to their work.

Overview of Learning Activities

Lectures on the history of art photography including modernist, post-modernist and contemporary photographic practice. Lectures on issues currently facing photographers such as the representation of women, the objectivity of the camera, the relationship between fine art and commercial photographic practices.
• Class discussion will form an integral part of lessons and will include topics such as current art issues, current exhibitions, films etc
• Visits to exhibition spaces of all types including museums, commercial galleries, artist-run galleries, public art spaces
• Guest speakers including contemporary artists and curators

Overview of Learning Resources

Berger, John, Ways of Seeing, Penguin, London, 1972
Foster, Hal, The return of the real : the avant-garde at the end of the century, Cambridge, Mass. :MIT Press,c1996.
Godfrey, Tony, Conceptual art, London :Phaidon,1998.
Janson, H. W, History of art 5th edition, (Horst Woldemar), 1913- ed., New York :H.N. Abrams,1995.
Ian Jeffrey, The Photo Book, Phaidon, New York, 1999
Lucie-Smith, Edward. Movements in art since 1945, New ed. New York, N.Y. :Thames & Hudson,2001.
Marcus, Greil; Lipstick traces : a secret history of the twentieth century, Cambridge, Mass. :Harvard University Press,1989.
National Gallery of Victoria, Fieldwork : Australian art 1968 – 2002, Melbourne, Vic. :The Gallery,2002.

Art magazines including:
Un Magazine
Art Forum
Flash Art

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is conducted through a class project and a series of reviews.   
The class project assesses a student’s progress in relation to specific material presented in the class.   
Reviews are linked to the Fine Art Photography studio area, and provide students with the opportunity to publicly present their work for critical discussion and feedback.  Reviews are conducted collectively within the studio area, and whilst students are only expected to exhibit for one review, all students are encouraged to attend as many sessions as they can, as each review will be unique.