Visual Culture Case Study
For this assignment, you will be choosing a 20th-century photograph to use as a case study. You will be identifying the studium and punctum and analyzing your photograph by applying photographic seeing.
Write a paper of approx. 1,000 words in which you complete the following:
Choose a photo taken by a well-known photographer in the 20th century (1900-1999):
Identify your chosen photograph by title, photographer, year & include a link to an appropriate image source.
Briefly explain why you chose this image.
Then, analyze your photo using Roland Barthes’s theories:
Describe the studium of the photograph?
Identify the punctum of the photograph?
Be sure to make specific reference to Barthes.
Then, analyze your photo using Susan Sontag’s theories:
Use photographic seeing to look beyond the initial image; to examine it through the lens of historical context, relevant historical or social events, related photography movements, and and other significant factors relating to your specific example. What you write about in this section will depend on the particular image that you choose.
Apply Sontag’s arguments about photography and reality from her essay In Plato’s Cave to your photo.
You do not need to use an essay format for this case study if you do not wish to. You may choose instead to break your analysis up into sections. Either approach is appropriate.
Acceptable sources for images & research:
Images: museums, galleries, Google Arts & Culture, Artsy, Artnet. If you’re unsure, email me and I can approve your source or help you track down the photo somewhere legit.
Research: peer-reviewed sources written by experts. This includes books, academic journals, JSTOR, museums and galleries.
You can use the website of the photographer’s estate/foundation if you can find proof that they’re legit & hold the copyright to the images (many are fake).