Studio of Documentary Photography 4

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
307ESDO4 exam 4 24 exercise hours (45 min) of instruction per semester, 82 to 102 hours of self-study English summer

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Name of lecturer(s)


Documentary photography encompasses a wide range of interpretations and approaches. Starting with the attempt to capture reality, the emphasis on realism, or the subordination of intention to a certain concept or ideology. Documentary photography has undergone enormous development, especially in the last century, and in the Czech tradition it can also be based on truly significant milestones. It is essential to include this tradition among the sources, rarely among the actual starting points. Allan Sekula pointed out 40 years ago, in relation to photographic documentary or social photography, the failure of the aesthetics of realism, which paradoxically puts the depicted individuals in the role of passive victims, something to which we have been quite successfully resistant for many decades as viewers and receivers of these visual messages due to the influence of the media. This viewpoint needs to be reopened, revised and new ways of

The main themes

1-2/ Definition of the main semester theme based on the seminar (may be supplemented by discussion with an invited guest

3/ definition of individual tasks or specification of part of the tasks and role in the team if it is a joint project

4-6/ regular studio meetings, papers, joint consultations on the process of researching the topic, individual consultations

7-8/ joint visits to festivals, lectures, exhibitions, lectures and seminars by invited guests

9 - 10/ choice of final medium and project development

11/ individual and joint consultation of projects before completion

12/ solving adjustments, technical problems, consultation of explications, final installation

Learning outcomes

First year students work under the guidance of a studio manager with frequent consultations with assistants. They learn to define their intention and to find the most appropriate audiovisual means for its presentation, and in the explication they put emphasis on the reflection of their creative process.

Second-year students develop their themes and chosen media, with an emphasis on working in the context of contemporary visual arts and social sciences. The project is classified in terms of historical development as well as contemporary tendencies in the explication of the project.

Year 3 students work on collaborative and individual projects within the studio, exploring ways of possible presentation or engagement with wider platforms, familiarising themselves with gallery operations and contemporary presentation platforms. In the winter semester, they can take part in an Erasmus internship. In the summer semester they work on their qualifying thesis, which they present in the process at the final exam. They expand their adjustment techniques and other ways of sharing their results.

Prerequisites and other requirements




AZOULAY, Ariella: The Civil Contract of Photography, Zone Books, 2008

COTTON Charlotte: The Photography as Contemporary Art, London, Thames Hudson, 2004

SEKULA, Allan: Photography Against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works, 1973–1983, London, Mack Books, 2016


AZOULAY, Ariella: Civil Imagination. A Political Ontology of Photography, New York, Verso Books, 2012

ALBERRO, Alexander, BUCHMANN, Sabeth: Art After ConceptualArt, MIT Press, Cambridge and London, 2006

FRIED Michael: Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before, Yale University, Press, New Haven 2008

FOSTER, Hal (ed): Postmodern Culture, London: Pluto Press, 1990

LATOUR, Bruno, WEIBEL, Peter (ed): Critical Zones: The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth, Cambridge, MIT Press, 2020

WELLS , Liz. The Photography Reader, Routledge, London, 2003

STALLABRAS, Julian (ed.): Documentary (Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art), Cambridge, MIT Press, 2013

Evaluation methods and criteria

The course is concluded with a classified examination. The prerequisite for graduation is regular participation in consultations and other studio activities, independent creative activity, preparation and presentation of required thematic presentations and papers.



Further information

No schedule has been prepared for this course

The subject is a part of the following study plans