Short Title:Documentary Photography
Full Title:Documentary Photography
Module Code:FOTO H3006
Credits: 5
NFQ Level:7
Field of Study:Audio-visual techniques and media production
Module Delivered in no programmes
Module Author:TOM JENNER
Module Description:Photography has a wide-ranging tradition of documentary realism and the purpose of this module is to deliver a working understanding of documentary photographic practices, to enable the photographing of subjects which may be unfamiliar to the student and which may require preparatory research, investigation and assessment; this will be complemented by a study of contextual, theoretical, critical, cultural and historical aspects of the medium, with reference to documentary practices.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
LO1 Demonstrate competence in the techniques and working methods applied in documentary photography, working autonomously ‘in the field’ as a documentary photographer.
LO2 Produce a resolved body of documentary photographs, consisting of a series of at least twelve finely printed and presented photographs.
LO3 Assess the development of different areas of documentary photography and carry out detailed studies and critical analysis on the work of documentary photographers.
Pre-requisite learning
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed

Module Content & Assessment

Content (The percentage workload breakdown is inidcative and subject to change) %
Documentary Photography
This module complements the preceding photography module: the emphasis of this module is on practice-based individual field work; whereas the emphasis of the preceding module (Studio Photography) is on building a team approach within the controlled environment of a studio. Through an in-depth study of different areas of documentary realism in photography and in the production of project work relating to this, students will be empowered to realise a sophisticated resolution of projected aims, in which a high level of debate will be encouraged and to which all students will be expected to contribute. Various areas of documentary realism will be researched, including its applications in social investigation and classification, travel and exploration, reportage, photojournalism, street photography, typology and areas of contemporary art practices. The documentary photographer Robert Capa said “If your pictures aren’t good, you aren’t close enough"; the team building of the previous semester is intended as a precursor to the more regular and intensive group critiques that will now form a core feedback mechanism for this semester’s external production work. These critiques serve the purpose of providing critical feedback in a forum for the discussion of techniques, approaches and problems encountered, so that students may engage with each others’ style of working and reflect on individual working practices, so as to evolve the capacity for critical self-reflection. Prints will be output by students to a photo-quality inkjet printer.
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work100.00%
Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Project The project this semester will comprise of production-based photographic documentary work; printed and presented to a high standard. Students will be required to keep a project workbook throughout the semester, which will form an intrinsic part of all project work completed. The purpose of the workbook is to give each student the opportunity to present, to a high standard, an in-depth study including all background material and supporting work involved in production (see module Content). Students will write up their own notes throughout the semester, which will then be presented in the workbook, detailing their contextual research, progression and development of ideas, technical notes, exhibitions and seminars attended, etc. Appropriate academic referencing and bibliographic conventions should be applied throughout. All project work will be assessed holistically under the following criteria: Concept (e.g. contextual research and understanding, development of ideas); Production (e.g. technical proficiency, working competence, creativity); Presentation (e.g. attention to detail, print quality, final presentation). 1,2,3 100.00 Sem 1 End
No End of Module Formal Examination
Reassessment Requirement
Repeat the module
The assessment of this module is inextricably linked to the delivery. The student must reattend the module in its entirety in order to be reassessed.

IT Tallaght reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecturer/Lab Students will attend lectures and participate in practical workshops, lecturer-supervised learning, tutorials, seminars and critiques. 4.00 Every Week 4.00
Independent Learning Students will undertake independent research and related practical work outside of scheduled class times. 4.00 Every Week 4.00
Total Weekly Learner Workload 8.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 4.00
This module has no Part Time workload.

Module Resources

Recommended Book Resources
  • Farrell, David; Haughey, Anthony; Nickerson, Jackie; Mosse, Richard; Seawright, Paul; Wylie, Donovan 2011, The Long View, Gallery of Photography Dublin
  • Nordstrom, Alison; Salvesen, Britt, 2009, New Topographics, (first published 1975), Steidl
  • Gronert, Stefan; Schirmer, Lothar, 2009, The Dusseldorf School of Photography, Thames and Hudson
  • Greenough, Sarah, 2009, Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, Hardback Expanded Ed., Steidl
  • Frank, Robert, 2008, The Americans, (first published 1958), Steidl
  • Sontag, Susan, 2004, Regarding the Pain of Others, Penguin
  • Wells, Liz (ed.), 2002, The Photography Reader, Routledge
  • Eggleston, William, 2002, William Eggleston's Guide, (first published 1976), 3rd Ed., Museum of Modern Art New York
  • Roberts, John, 1998, The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday, Manchester University Press
  • McCullin, Don, 1992, Unreasonable Behaviour: An Autobiography, Vintage
  • Roberts, Russell (ed.); Iles Chrissie (ed.), 1997, In Visible Light: Photography and Classification in Art, Science and the Everyday, Museum of Modern Art Oxford
  • Tagg, John, 1993, The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photography and Histories, University of Minnesota Press
Recommended Article/Paper Resources
  • Aperture, quarterly journal
  • British Journal of Photography, quarterly journal
  • Source – Ireland’s Photographic Review, quarterly journal
Other Resources