Course details

The History and Context of Photography 1

DKFI-Z FaVU DKFI-Z Acad. year 2023/2024 Winter semester 3 credits

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.


Language of instruction




Time span

  • 13 hrs lectures
  • 13 hrs seminar



Learning objectives

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).

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.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

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

Study literature

  • Anděl, Jaroslav: Česká fotografie 1840–1950: příběh moderního média. Praha: Kant, 2004.
  • Baatz, Willfried: Fotografie. Praha: Computer Press, 2004.
  • Berger, John: O pohledu, Agite/Fra, Praha, 2009.
  • Birgus, Vladimír; Mlčoch, Jan: Česká fotografie 20. století: průvodce. Praha, KANT, 2005.
  • Cartwright, Lisa; Sturken Marita: Studia vizuální kultury, Portál, 2010.
  • Hájek, Václav: Jak rozpoznat odpadkový koš, Labyrint, 2012.
  • Kuneš, Aleš, Pospěch, Tomáš. (ed.). Čítanka z teorie fotografie. Opava: Slezská univerzita, 2003.
  • Pospěch, Tomáš: Myslet fotografii. PositiF, 2014.
  • Pospěch, Tomáš, Fišerová; Lucia L.: Role fotografie. Rozhovory o různé fotografii. PositiF, 2019.
  • Warnen Marien, Mary: Photography. A Cultural History. Laurence King, 2010.

Fundamental literature

  • Barthes, Roland: Světlá komora. Agite/Fra, Praha, 2005.
  • Císař Karel: Co je to fotografie? Herrmann & synové, Praha, 2004.
  • Grygar, Štěpán: Konceptuální umění a fotografie. AMU, Praha, 2004.
  • Láb, Filip, Lábová, Alena: Soumrak fotožurnalismu. Manipulace fotografií v digitální éře. Karolinum, Praha, 2009.
  • Láb, Filip: Postdigitální fotografie, Karolinum, Praha, 2021.
  • Scheufler, Pavel: Teze k dějinám fotografie do roku 1918. AVU, Praha, 2000.
  • Silverio, Robert: Postmoderní fotografie. AMU, Praha, 2007.
  • Sontag Susan: O fotografii. Praha, 2002.

Syllabus of lectures

1. The Language of Photography

2. Medusa's View

3. Me is Someone Else

4. Portrait of the 19th Century

5. Statesmanlike Portrait

6. Landscape Concept

7. Idyll and Elegy

8. Where my Home is

9. The Life of Things

10. Images of the Banal

11. Contemporary Still Life

12. Melancholy in Photography

13. Analytical Seminar


Progress assessment

The following conditions are set for the award of the examination:

- active participation in the class (75 % participation) or replacing it by writing an essay

- written test (min. 50 % success rate).


Teaching takes place in the classrooms of the FFA BUT in the hours determined by the schedule. Attendance is compulsory (3 unexcused absences allowed). Higher number of absences can be compensated by submitting an alternative assignment after agreement with the teacher.


Mon lecture lectures U2/330 12:0013:5050 1BIA 1BIB 2BIA 2BIB 3BIT xx Fišerová
Fri exam 2024-02-02 U2/330 09:0010:00 OPRAVNÝ TERMÍN

Course inclusion in study plans

  • Programme BIT, 1st year of study, Elective
  • Programme BIT (in English), 1st year of study, Elective
  • Programme IT-BC-3, field BIT, 1st year of study, Elective
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