elearners PhotojournalismHistoryOnlineCourse


Photojournalism History Online Course

Image from the collection of the Royal Photographic Society


   Photojournalism History Online Course Description

Professor Robert Gluckson, M.A.

Phone (808) 278-2151



ęCopyright Robert Gluckson 


Expose yourself to photographic masterpieces so powerful they changed history while learning photojournalism history, business, and career opportunities. Discover how technology and business influence which images are published, from the black and white pictures shot through box cameras to the digital images of today. Develop critical skills to analyze images present your ideas. Debate the ethical challenges image-makers face. Discover the working conditions and career opportunities for professional journalists.

Explore all these ways of looking at photographs:

1     Art History and Visual Literacy: See some of the most beautiful, horrible, exciting images of all time, while you expand your historic knowledge. Use the methods of an art historian to absorb the experiences of the master photographers. .

2     Cultural Studies: See how pictures reflect the dreams of another era. See how formula photos developed in response to popular demand.

3     Professional Photography -- Learn what makes a publishable, commercial photograph; how to freelance pictures; and career opportunities.

Photojournalism History Online is for communications students who want to know the history of their crafts, and for photographers, journalists, web designers, graphic designers, and advertisers, who will develop professional skills. The course has been offered as an upper division elective, JMC 490, through the Humboldt State University (Arcata, California) Department of Journalism and Mass communications. It is available now as an online course; credit may be arranged through your school. Invite your online colleges to offer the course or contact your school's advisor to integrate with your degree program. Contact Robert Gluckson for the latest information.

Syllabus Contents:
Contact Information
Course Description
Topics, Learning Objectives, Measuring Student Learning
Resources (see http://vizcom.info)
Available to enrolled students only:
Week-by-Week Schedule
Assignments In-Depth: 
Grading and Evaluation Standard
Photojournalism History Online is a class designed for journalists, web designers, graphic designers, and mass media students.

This class is available for adoption. The complete syllabus, with all assignments,
links to online resources, and a week-by-week course of study, is available from the instructor. 

Email Instructor Robert Gluckson for information about current course offerings.

Course Description

Photojournalism History explores the masterpieces of documentary photography, from black and white pictures shot through box cameras to the digital images of today.

Explore all these ways of looking at photographs:
Visual Literacy: See images so powerful they changed history; expand your historic knowledge while you have fun looking at great pictures. 

* Popular Culture: Take a look at the popular dreams of another era -- see the "underside" of our 
photographic heritage, the equivalent of "People" magazine and soap commercials for the 19th century. 

* Photographic Careers -- Learn what makes a great photograph; find out about career opportunities in photojournalism.

We'll see how master photographers - and their workaday colleagues -- shaped these images amidst the ever-changing technical and business challenges of news reporting.

Students will analyze images and debate the ethical challenges that image-makers face. 

We'll explore the working conditions and career opportunities for professional journalists. 

The History of Photography. Newhall, Beaumont. Little, Brown, & Co, for the Museum of Modern Art. 1982.   ISBN 0870703811.
This Fabulous Century. Time Life Books. 1870 - 1900, and volumes by decade through 1970. 
This series is available in every library.
Moments. The Newspaper Photographer's Association. A collection of all the Pulitzer Prize
photographs from 1946 (the beginning) to 1999.
Online Resources (See Resources hotlink and the Week-by-Week Assignments)

Topics, Learning Objectives, Measuring Student Learning

Photojournalism History, Business, Technology, Theory, Esthetics, Ethics and Career Opportunities

This interdisciplinary course exposes us to photographic masterworks; on the way, we'll  explore photojournalism history, technology, business, esthetics, and ethics. Like good journalists, we'll extend our knowledge of the "What, Who, Where, and Whens" of Photojournalism History,  to ask the critical questions of "Why" and "How." We'll look at photographers' careers to understand help us answer the question "How do we make sense of images?" Esthetic analysis requires an answer to "What makes a great photograph?" Ethical dilemmas require that we think critically about the impact of these images. Finally, to understand Photojournalism today, we need to see it as a profession with business and journalism traditions.

History -- What is our photographic heritage? What was the historic context for these images? 
This will provide the basis for a photographic "literacy," as we see how photographers built on earlier traditions and techniques.
Business -- How does the profit motive leads what images the public sees
Technology -- how new developments transformed our knowledge of the world and the media that inform us
Critical Analysis -- How can we talk about images? What do we look for? How do imagemakers
communicate? How do they manipulate us?
Esthetics -- What makes a great photograph? What are photojournalism standards?
Ethics -- Can photographers go too far? How can we balance personal versus societal needs? 

Photographs began as 19th century scientific curiosities; within two lifetimes, they've been transformed = to the jpeg's of our digital age. Photographs are material culture artifacts that reflect the thoughts and  dreams of the people who made them and the audiences who bought them. So we make historic observations by analyzing pictures.

History Learning Objectives:
Class members will develop visual literacy by viewing masterpieces of documentary photography.

The great photographers, photographic movements, and Pulitzer Prize photographs will be explored.

History Evaluation:
Familiarity with the classic photographs and great photographers will be evaluated in your exams and a your Photo Critiques in your portfolio.

Business and Technology:
Pictures don't just appear by themselves (at least not to anyone but the developer). 
Business institutions like newspapers and publishing houses present the photographs to what  they hope is a receptive public with cash in hand.

Technological change is a critical part of photojournalism history. New technologies
can transform businesses: their content, their mode of delivery, even their type -- some newspaper folks think the internet may do away with the printed paper, just as the music industry today is afraid that CD stores will go the way of record stores.

Learning Objectives: 
Students will become familiar with the major technological and business developments that shaped how photographs are taken and where they are published.

Tests, Exam Terms and Essays, Photo Critiques.

Taking good photographs isn't just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. 
Photojournalists utilize standards of composition as well as principles of newsworthiness.

Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to name, identify, and describe the elements of a good news photograph.

Classroom discussion, mid-term Exam Essay, and Photo Critiques

Critical Thinking:
We'll apply multi-disciplinary approaches to image analysis. We'll incorporate observations based on:  the sociology of cultural productions; feminist critiques of the Male Gaze; propaganda analysis and strategies of advertising; and the standards of professional photojournalists.

Learning objectives:
Class members will demonstrate their abilities to look at images in several ways. 

Online classroom discussion, Mid-Term and Final Exam Essay, Photo Critiques, Group Report, Portfolio

Photographers and publishers have a lot of influence in what we see, but we are not powerless to influence images in the public eye. But before we make our will known, we must develop our * The Public's right to know versus the individuals right to privacy (examples: Paparazzi and Princess Diana; the Pulitzer Prize photograph of a young mother realizing her child has been swept out to sea)

* Media monopolies. Most media businesses are owned by corporations and by fabulously wealthy individuals. How do their interests affect news balance?
* Sexism and the Male Gaze
* Propaganda and Persuasive Appeals in Politics and Advertising
* Digital manipulation of news photographs

Learning Objectives:
Class members will:
Develop the ability to see the "slant" or editorial or moral statements made by the photographer.
Be familiar with ethical issues that face photojournalists.
Be able to develop critical arguments based on historic knowledge, journalism standards, and critical interpretation.
Be able to present your own views, supported by evidence.

Classroom discussion and Photo Critiques

Career Opportunities
Career opportunities are changing, with the introduction of digital technologies, a transformation  of media businesses, and new opportunities on the Internet.
We'll survey photojournalism and documentary photography as careers. We'll hear from  working professionals and explore professional websites.

Learning Objectives:
To understand the technical demands of the modern market
To be familiar with professional standards
To understand the contemporary media marketplace

Techniques and professional standards -- illustrated in Photo Critiques
Careers -- individual self-assessment.


Participate. Your online contributions are critical to your success. Read, study, and 
share your contributions at the same time as everyone else, so we can all grow together. 

Go to the library often. Some Readings and Resources are available only in the library. 

Read the Annotated Bibliography at the end of the syllabus. Expand your visual literacy by looking at the great photographs. Skim the appropriate volume(s) of "This Fabulous Century" every week.

Robert Frank "The Americans" 1957

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