AR/US 355 - Understanding Tokyo Through Photography

This course will study a variety of urban phenomena in Tokyo through the lens of the digital camera as an analytical device. Starting with a preliminary study of theoretical approaches to photographic and visual representations of the city and cultures, the course will alternate between photo-shooting sessions, student presentations, classroom discussions of weekly readings, and written assignments. The goal of this class is not to produce “beautiful” photographs; rather, the students will be asked to complete projects that fully reflect an intelligent criticism of the assigned readings and class discussions. The semester will culminate in a booklet showcasing student works. All assignments and projects must be uploaded in a digital format to the class website by each weekly deadline.

Everyone is welcome to this class. No art or photography background is necessary as long as you have a digital camera and are passionate about studying Tokyo from a new angle. For people with a photography background, this class would be a good opportunity to learn representation skills in an interdisciplinary context and build your portfolio. Since everyone comes with different backgrounds, the grading will be based largely on your effort, progress, and the ability to think through a project. In other words, fancy Photoshopping or $3,000 cameras alone won't get you very far in this class.

We will focus our energy and attention on weekly themes that are carefully chosen to analyze a particular urban phenomenon in Tokyo through producing an intelligent set of digital photographs. A successful completion of these exercises is contingent upon a thorough reflection on the weekly readings, participation in class discussions, and building on previous feedback.

Course Information


Urban Studies

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