Self Portrait, Paris, France 2004

Self Portrait, Paris, France 2004



"I am a facilitator of learning. My goal as an educator is to empower, stimulate and make passionate students who can decipher contemporary culture, accurately research information and find support for their own quandaries. I help them locate their interests and hone their voice. I believe in an equality of media, philosophy and access."

-Denise Froehlich

Sample Syllabus                                                                                                                               (See student work below)

AH 323 History of Photography Syllabus 

Maine College of Art 
Monday 6-8:50 in room 303
Professor Denise Froehlich
Office hours 5-6:00 on Monday or by appointment

The word photography was coined in 1839 by Sir John Herschel in a lecture given to the Royal Society of London on March 14th of that year. It is taken from the Greek words meaning light and written. The process is both optical and chemical and its evolution is still incomplete. We will research and discover the history of this medium, it's devotees and innovations. 

Course Description: 
In it's brief history, photography has surpassed all other visual media in the impact it has had on humankind. This course covers the history of photography from its origins in the 15th century until 1980. The social, cultural and artistic forces that shaped photography and the forces that photography itself helped shape form the core of the course. Lectures and discussions based on readings address topics and issues surrounding the making of photographs of the past and present. 

Course Requirements: 
Attendance (to class/exhibits) and class participation 25%
Weekly responses/research/quizzes 25%
Paper (6-8 pages) 25%
Final 25%

Required Textbooks: 
Hirsch, Robert. Seizing the Light: A History of Photography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000

You must be in class.(period!) Absences significantly lower your final grade for the course- as does being late. Two tardies count as an absence. Come on time with something to contribute and you'll do fine. 

* Along with class lectures there will be self guided field trips and individualized research. 

There will be weekly reading that must be done to keep up with the content of the class, pass the quizzes and ultimately write the paper and take the final. In addition, there will be information from films, research in books/on line and field trips that will also be graded. 

This is a working syllabus and we will depart from various assignments and dates as interests and evolutions take place. You will be assigned work at the end of every class with deadlines.

January 28 Introduction, syllabus, The Quest for the illusive image: Camera Obscura and early attempts to capture the image
Homework Read chapter 1: Advancing towards Photography: The Birth of Modernity and chapter 2: The Daguerreotype: Image and Object

February 4 Invention of Photography: Fox Talbot and Calotype and 
Other techniques and processes
Homework Read chapter 3: Calotype Rising: The arrival of Photography and Chapter 4: Pictures on Glass: The Wet-Plate Process

February 11 Quiz
Early Uses of Photography and Photography as communication
Homework Read chapter 5: Prevailing Events? Picturing Calamity and 
Chapter 6: A New Medium of Communication: Art or 

February 18 Presidents Day - no class

February 25 Action Photography
Hand out midterm paper outlines: Form and Content 
Homework Read chapter 7: Standardizing the Practice: A Transparent Truth and chapter 8: New Ways of Visualizing Time and Space

March 3 Quiz and Rough Drafts Due
American and European Pictorialism
Homework Read chapter 9: Suggesting the Subject: The Evolution of Pictorialism and chapter 10: Modernism: Industrial Beauty

March 10 Spring Break! No class

March 17 Photo Secessionists and Everyday Life
Pass back rough drafts
Homework Work on papers and Read chapter 11: The New Culture of Light and chapter 12 Social Documents

March 24 Hand in Papers 

March 31 f/64 group and a New Vision
Homework Read chapter 13: Nabbing Time: Anticipating the Moment 
and chapter 14: Photography and the Halftone

April 7 Quiz and outline for finals Dada, Surrealism and other Distortions
Homework Read chapter 15: The Atomic Age and Chapter 16: New 
Frontiers: Expanding Boundaries, Print media, Fashion, The Decisive Moment,

April 14 Documentary, Color, Photojournalism, Camera as Observer, Unique visions, Portraiture and Philosophy
Homework Read chapter 17: Changing Realities and Chapter 18: Thinking about Photography

April 21 Last Class.... Hand back Rough Drafts, In class writing workshop.
Homework Reread any missed chapters, review outline, study class notes, Rewrite papers, make sure to site sources, get papers initialed by proofreaders, and include images and facts

May 2 Final Exam - Hand in take home finals TBA%

Studio Course Offering Abstracts

Visual Journal (taught at UNE)

Artist's sketchbooks and journals have a long democratic history. This is a mixed media studio course that experiments with using the journal as an impetus for making and collecting ones own art. Artist’s journals are typically a collection of ideas and often has an autobiographical slant to them. We will build upon this notion and do some writing, reading and historical research that supports our personal making goals. We will employ a variety of media and explore how the journal can be a resource/vehicle for larger ideas and a medium in and of itself. 

Multiples in Photography; Creating Context (taught at COA)

This studio course will experiment with different approaches to using multiple imagery to communicate content. We will take a historical look at how other artists employ this technique and create our own triptychs, diptychs, grids, series, sequences, books and films. Emphasis will be on form and content and learning a new process/ way of working. A portfolio of multiple imagery is the goal. 

Ego, Authorship and Capitalism in Contemporary Art; What kind of art can we make and see? (Taught at COA)

This course would decipher the link between funding/patronage and the status of the artist from Renaissance Rome to Contemporary Art. An emphasis on art and art making since the invention of photography, post 9/11 American culture, and internet influences and dissemination such as: Flicker, You tube, Netflix, Red Box and the contemporary monograph will be examined. Research into for profit/nonprofit groups in support and opposition since the Roosevelt Era will also be covered. 

Technology Creates An Aesthetic; New forms of western art from the Impressionist period to today. (Taught at COA)

This course will start with a brief overview of Art History and scientific inventions beginning with the impressionist period and ending with contemporary art. What influences can shape a movement and create new media? We will take a closer look at the hierarchy of Western Art as seen through geographic regions, mass migration, current funding sources, modernism, new technology and the green movement. An emphasis on the avant-garde, tribal and counter culture and public response and conjecture as to which new mediums will be lasting.