Course detail

The History and Context of Photography 1 - Winter

FaVU-DKFI-ZAcad. year: 2018/2019

The course consists of lectures on history and contemporary tendencies in photography (with considering its position within both fine arts and non-artistic visuality). Students will be introduced to the development of the medium not in chronological retrospect but in thematic blocs. This way they will be able to understand particular problems within broader philosophical and medial context. Students will learn how to “read” language of photography, to understand its expressive potential and they will learn the main theoretical frameworks within which photography is interpreted.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Students will gain an insight into both development of photography and its contemporaneous trends. They will be able enrich insight into their own photographic practice, they will learn more about the language of photography and the basics of its gallery presentation.


Basic knowledge of the 19th and 20th century visual culture.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

● Anděl, Jaroslav: Česká fotografie 1840-1950 : příběh moderního média. Praha: Kant, 2004. (CS)
● Baatz, Willfried: Fotografie. Praha: Computer Press, 2004. (CS)
● Barthes, Roland: Světlá komora. Agite/Fra, Praha, 2005. (CS)
● Berger, John: O pohledu, Agite/Fra, 2009. (CS)
● Birgus, Vladimír; Mlčoch, Jan: Česká fotografie 20. století: průvodce. Praha, KANT, 2005. (CS)
● Císař Karel: Co je to fotografie? Herrmann & synové, Praha, 2004. (CS)
● Frizot, Michael: New History of Photography. Kolín nad Rýnem: Konemann, 1998. (EN)
● Grygar, Štěpán: Konceptuální umění a fotografie. AMU, Praha, 2004. (CS)
● Hájek, Václav: Jak rozpoznat odpadkový koš, Labyrint, 2012. (CS)
● Kuneš, A., Pospěch, T. (ed.). Čítanka z teorie fotografie. Opava: Slezská univerzita, 2003. (CS)
● Pospěch, Tomáš: Myslet fotografii, PositiF 2014. (CS)
● Scheufler, Pavel: Teze k dějinám fotografie do roku 1918. Praha: AVU, 2000. (CS)
● Silverio, Robert: Postmoderní fotografie. AMU, Praha, 2007. (CS)
● Sontag Susan: O fotografii. Praha, 2002. (CS)
● Warnen Marien, Mary: Photography. A Cultural History, Laurence King 2010. (EN)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Lectures - introductions to theoretical and historical aspects of the topics; audiovisual demonstrations, formal and content analysis of the images, discussion.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Exam (written test)

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. A language of photography.
2. Photography and history.
3. Sight of Medusa.
4. Me is someone else.
5. Portrait of statesman.
6. Hero in a landscape.
7. Where is my homeland?
8. Life of things.
9. Pictures of banalities.
10. Family of mankind.
11. The Americans.
12. Document after the documentary.
13. Between document and storytelling.


The aim of this course is to reflect on the actual position of photography in a context of its historical developments. Introduction of new media and social thematics into photography will be of particular interest, as well as a crossing of borders of traditional genre of photography. Photography will be introduced not only as artistic medium but more broadly defined tool for visual communication as well (as in family, science, commercial etc. photography).

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Controlled attendance (up to 3 absences are tolerated).

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme Bachelor's

    branch AFO , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, optional

  • Programme IT-BC-3 Bachelor's

    branch BIT , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, optional

  • Programme Bachelor's

    branch () , 1. year of study, winter semester, 3 credits, optional

Type of course unit



13 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer