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Perceptions of Truth in Photography

A Selected History

An image of Louis Daguerre Boulevard du Temple (1838)

This six-week online evening course will provide you with an introduction to the history of photography, focusing on the idea of ‘truth’.

Developed by Catlin Langford - Curatorial Fellow in Photography at the V&A, in association with Barbican, the course will focus on early manipulation techniques, staged scenes and faked imagery, from fairies to phantoms. Learn through illustrated lectures featuring works by a range of artists, including Roger Fenton, Dorothy Wilding, Carrie Mae Weems, Henry Peach Robinson, Brook Andrew, Jo Spence, Iñaki Bonillas, Hans Eijkelboom, Dorothea Lange, among many others

The course will take place on Wednesday evenings on 28 April, 5, 12, 19, 26 May and 2 June 2021

6.30pm-8pm BST (UTC+1)

Event information

Who is the course for?
•    Anyone aged 18 and over with an interest in photography who wants to learn more about its history, or to improve existing knowledge of the medium 
•    No previous knowledge is required

What can I expect?
The course aims to encourage a greater critical engagement with the photographic image. Each session will consist of a lecture followed by informal discussion. You can expect to:
•    Learn about the early manipulation techniques employed by photographers in the nineteenth and twentieth century. 
•    Engage with the historical and contemporary use of photography to present, create, and adapt a self-image. 
•    Discover the use of staging in documentary and consciously artistic photographs. 
•    Understand the use of photography for propaganda purposes, ranging from colonial ideologies to Cold War politics. 
•    Consider the importance of accessible photographic technologies as a means of historical record. 
•    Reflect on the importance of framing and interpretation in shaping understandings of the photographic image. 
•    Develop a greater understanding of different mediums, from the daguerreotype to the gelatin silver ‘snapshot’
•    The last session will encourage you to share your understanding of the course through devising a hypothetical display on the theme of ‘Photography and Truth’.

At the end of the course, you can expect to have developed a deeper understanding of the history of photography and should feel confident to critically engage with historical and contemporary photographic images. 

•    For everyone aged 18+.
•    No prior experience required.
•    Participants must have sufficient English language skills to cope with course demands.

About the Course Tutor
This course has been developed and is led by Catlin Langford.

Catlin is the inaugural Curatorial Fellow in Photography, supported by the Bern Schwartz Family Foundation at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She was previously Assistant Curator at the Royal Collection Trust, where she specialised in nineteenth-century photography. She completed her Masters at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2016, focusing on the curation of vernacular photographs.

Online Short Courses Requirements
All sessions will take place online using Zoom. A Zoom link will be sent to you in advance of the course start date with further instructions.
To participate in online classes you will need the following:
•    An email address
•    A reliable internet connection
•    A laptop/tablet/desktop computer with a microphone and camera (most have these included)
•    Speakers/headphones (the speakers in your laptop/tablet/computer should be sufficient)
•    A fully updated web browser able to use the most up to date version of Zoom, or a fully updated Zoom client
If you have any questions regarding joining one of our online courses please contact the Guildhall