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Washington and Lee University

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Photography and the City of Paris

ARTS 223
4 credits
3 weeks in Paris, 1 week on campus
Pre-requisite: ARTS 120 Photography 1
Professor Christa Bowden

Paris is one of the birthplaces of photography with Daguerre in 1839, and has been the muse of such great photographers as Atget, Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Brassai, and Kertesz. In this 4-week spring term course, students will explore the photographic history of Paris, the contemporary art scene, and will create their own portfolio of images of one aspect of the city. We will spend the first three weeks of the course in Paris, and the last week back on campus at W&L, printing our photographic projects.

Students will be challenged to reach beyond travel photography in this course. Their portfolios must be anything but a collection of postcard images of major tourist attractions. Students will be encouraged to really explore the city photographically, and to select one distinct visual aspect on which to build their images. For example, they might explore the markets of Paris, or shop windows, or metro entryways. They might photograph one particular neighborhood, or only along the Seine. The photographs will be displayed in an exhibition at W&L in the fall of 2010.

The course will consist of daily morning meetings during the week. Afternoons and weekends will be set aside for students to photograph their projects. Several mornings per week will be utilized for individual and group critique of projects, as well as lecture sessions on the great photographers of Paris. The remaining class days will include field trips to galleries, museums, and other important photography sites. Special field trips will include a visit to the Magnum print room, a visit to a Parisian photographer's studio and walking tours of several important neighborhoods around the city.

Students will be housed in shared apartments with kitchenettes, laundry facilities, 24-hour staffed front desk, and high-speed internet access.  The apartments, as well as the IES Paris center, are located in the Montparnasse neighborhood.  Students must provide their own laptop computers for the course, but DSLR cameras will be available for check-out, if needed.

This course meets FDR-HA and GE4a requirements.

PROGRAM FEE: (Paid to W&L) $3,800 includes accommodations in Paris, breakfast, all field trips, use of IES center facilities (classroom, library, internet access), Metro (subway) pass valid for the duration of the trip, a welcome dinner and Seine river cruise, and 24/7 emergency support from IES abroad and supplementary health and emergency evacuation insurance.

Additional costs:  All other meals and incidentals (est. $500), international airfare (est. $850),  Adobe Lightroom software (approximately $100), airport transfers (est. $200); rental or purchase of required cell phone (est. $30-$150) not including usage fees.

Please contact Professor Bowden if you need more information.