Posts Tagged ‘didacticism’

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Your conversation begins with the photograph to the left and the article by Tom Junod that grapples with it.  Read both the image and the text carefully.  Then refer to this summation of the Sontag excerpt you read; consider it not a step-by-step commenting guide, but a holistic way to approach your responsive writing.

Now pull out selections and sections of “The Falling Man” and identify them in your comments.  Offer your measured responses and insights.  Ask questions of your peers; react to the way Junod frames the discussion; use the four ideas gleaned from Sontag to explore the issues this photograph and essay raise; and so on.  As always, return here frequently to see your peers’ thoughts and offer replies.


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To read a photography, we need a philosophy; without one, we are passive consumers of visual data, reflecting little and evaluating only in the most basic terms (the “that’s cool” and “that sucks” school).  In this course, we use Susan Sontag’s On Photography, focusing on an excerpt that covers (among many splendid ideas) four key concepts: the grammar of seeing, the ethics of seeing, the role of the photographer, and the inherent didacticism of photography.

After having collaborated in class on an annotation (of sorts) of the excerpt, you are all capable of reading a photograph in a mature, thoughtful way.  The list here is a guideline, not a requirement; while you can separate each section, effective analysis will meld them together in the obvious ways.

Reading a Photograph

  1. The Grammar of Seeing
  2. The Ethics of Seeing
  3. The Role of the Photographer
  4. The Photo’s Message


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