This research paper will be focusing on the often highly mediated and ambiguous space that exists between fictional and documentary photography. You will need to select a photographer who intentionally treads the line between the two, or whose work is mediated to the extent that it becomes difficult to determine whether it occupies fictional or documentary space. Do these images serve a propagandistic function, or are they in some way meant to sway the spectator’s point of view?
This research paper will feature selected works by an artist discussed in lecture or section, and must be a known photographer whose work has been contextualized within the larger framework of contemporary art and culture. In other words, the artist that you select needs to be the subject of scholarly research. Your paper must be 8-10 pages of text, and this does not include the cover page, images or bibliography. Use relevant examples and citations from the course reader, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing and the research materials available at the Art Library to clarify your assertions.
The purpose of this paper is to apply the course material to the experience of looking at works of art, and to use the readings and lectures to dig a little more deeply into the context surrounding the works than you normally might. Be sure you use at least 8 different sources and make at least 8-10 citations (including scholarly journal articles, monographs, etc.). DO NOT USE Wikipedia because it is often rife with misinformation!
If you have another artist in mind who has not been discussed in lecture or section then talk with your TA to determine whether your selection is a relevant choice for the aims of this paper.
Issues to consider when addressing this paper (when applicable):
Discuss the relationship between form and content in these works; do the formal choices serve to heighten or mask the intent of the work? How do their visual strategies relate to the message or content of the work? In what way does the medium chosen by the artist operate to strengthen the intent of the work? To what degree do the works force you to reevaluate `visual literacy’ in terms of larger issues of time, space, gender politics, larger political issues etc.
If the artist makes intertextual references to other works of art, then be sure to frame your discussion to reflect this, and include a discussion of the specific works referenced.
On writing the paper:
1. The selection of a good thesis and supporting examples is an important part of producing a good paper. Be selective. The paper is about how to look closely at works of art and how your evaluation of objects and images is expanded by the specific context in which they are presented.
2. Write primarily with nouns and verbs. Avoid unnecessary (especially vague and imprecise) adjectives and adverbs.
3. Revise and rewrite. Proofread your work. Do not rely solely on “spell check.”
4. Use the dictionary to refer to words you do not fully understand.
5. Do not overstate, or excessively use qualifiers (such as very, rather, little, etc.).
6. Use orthodox diction and accurate spelling. (“Its” is possessive; “It’s” is a contraction for “it is,” “Its’ ” doesn’t exist. “Their” is possessive, “They’re” is a contraction of “they are,” There is declarative).
7. Be clear. Make references clearly. (Do not use the word “this” as the subject of a sentence).
8. Do not let your opinions get in the way of your writing.
9. Get to the point quickly. Concentrate on quality of writing not quantity of words.