Mary Ellen Mark’s “Ward 81”

Posted by on Jun 15, 2013 in Essays | No Comments

Mary Ellen Mark’s Ward 81:  Art at the Expense of Social Documentary (Master’s Thesis, May 2013) In February of 1976, the photographer Mary Ellen Mark (American, b. 1940) and her friend, social scientist and writer Dr. Karen Folger Jacobs (American, b. 1940?) entered Oregon State Hospital’s secure ward for mentally ill women as temporary residents.  Unlike […]

Farm Security Administration’s documentary photographs

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Essays | No Comments

ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE: The aestheticization and commodification of the Farm Security Administration’s documentary photographs  (May 2013) Beauty is one of the greatest dangers to documentary.[1] The photographs produced for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) are recognized as a one of the pinnacle productions of “documentary” photography in the United States. The impetus for […]

Illustrated Conflict Reportage since the advent of Photography

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Essays | No Comments

The Theater of War: A brief overview of illustrated conflict reportage since the advent of photography  (April 2013) Mom, I wouldn’t wish war on my worst enemy. —John, U.S. Marine, twice deployed to Iraq [1] The invention of the printing press in 1448 revolutionized the way information could be reproduced and, subsequently, circulated.[2]   The techniques […]

Richard Avedon

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Essays | No Comments

IT’S PERSONAL: Richard Avedon’s photographs from the East Louisiana State Mental Hospital  (March 2013) Asylums and mental health institutions are a relatively modern construct in Western society.  Prior to the 19th century, the mentally ill were generally incarcerated, treated like animals and/or put out to sea. (Yes, the Ship of Fools is based on fact, […]

Photography’s role in 19th century Psychiatry

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Essays | No Comments

From Fool to Mad Femme: Photography’s role in validating gender-biased mental illnesses in the 19th century  (Spring 2012) Photography played a significant role in defining the visual character of madness in the 19th century. With close ties to phrenology and physiology, the camera became an integral tool for psychiatrists and neurologists in their studies of […]

Karl Blössfeldt

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Essays | No Comments

Karl Blössfeldt: Indisputably Modern  (Fall 2011) The German photographer and teacher Karl Blossfeldt (1865 – 1932) is remembered in art history as a solitary figure who intuited the modernist aesthetic—his photographs of plants have all the hallmarks of the ‘new photography’ of the 1920’s and 1930’s via his choice of neutral backgrounds, use of magnification, […]

André Kertész

Posted by on Oct 4, 2011 in Essays | No Comments

Written by Jennifer Stoots André Kertész was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1894, the same year of Jacques-Henri Lartigue’s birth in France.[1] By the time he was 18, he had a camera and was capturing pastoral moments of daily life in Budapest and the Hungarian countryside.  Recruited to arms in the First World War, Kertész was […]