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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Documentary Photography
Module Code CM5997
School Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Dragana Jurisic
Semester 2: Dragana Jurisic
Autumn: Dragana Jurisic
Module TeacherNo Teacher Assigned
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the history, theory and contemporary documentary photography practices, which will enable them to critically reflect on their own practice as documentary storytellers. The module is predominantly practice based and provides an opportunity for students to develop their photographic skills and explore documentary aesthetics. Over the course of semester, students will learn about narrative photography, and they will be supported in their documentary photography project, from conception, through to development and execution.

Learning Outcomes

1. Employ technical and conceptual skills required for realising and producing documentary portfolio.
2. Demonstrate problem solving and creativity through independent research and practice, through the completion of a resolved self-generated, negotiated brief.
3. Employ key skills in the use of Photoshop, Camera Raw, Lightroom and related software for image editing.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the evolving genres of documentary aesthetics and language of documentary contemporary photographic practice.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture33No Description
Independent Study217No Description
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

The History of Documentary Photography & Critical Theory
History. Critical Theory. Seminal works. Notable Practitioners. Ethical issues.

Contemporary Documentary Photography
Contemporary Practices. Aesthetic Trends. Genres of Documentary Photography. Current debates.

Image Capture Techniques
Digital SLR Camera. Aperture & Shutter Speed techniques. Shooting RAW vs. Shooting jpeg. Image Card Readers. Image Storage Options. File size and resolution. Image Capture Techniques. Basics of Lighting and Composition. Introduction to Studio lighting. Scanning techniques.

Image Editing Techniques and Software
Photoshop. Lightroom. Image RAW.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Practical/skills evaluationTechnical skills: exposure, composition and light and post processing software (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.)50%n/a
PortfolioDocumentary Photography Project: proposal and project statement writing, editing and sequencing images, portfolio.50%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Susan Sontag: 2001, On Photography, Picador,
  • John Berger: 2008, Ways of Seeing, Penguin, London,
  • John Tagg: 2021, The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories,, University of Minnesota Press,
  • Mark Sealy: 2019, Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time., Lawrence & Wishart,
  • Liz Wells: 2004, Photography: A Critical Introduction, Routledge, London:,
  • Susan Sontag: 2004, Regarding the Pain of Others, Penguin,
  • Fred Ritchin: 2008, After Photography,, Norton & Company,
  • John Berger: 2013, Understanding a Photograph., Penguin Modern Classics,
  • Liz Wells: 2002, The Photography Reader, Routledge, London,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MADPMasters in Documentary Practice

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