Documentary Photography & Social Practice Course

  • DeBorah Ahmed leads an orientation session for students at Better Family Life. Photo by Stan Strembicki.
    DeBorah Ahmed leads an orientation session for students at Better Family Life. Photo by Stan Strembicki.
  • Project with Better Family Life. Photo by Zoe Kline.
    Project with Better Family Life. Photo by Zoe Kline.
  • Final project. Photo by Seth Lewis.
    Final project. Photo by Seth Lewis.
  • Project with Better Family Life. Photo by Dante Migone-Ojeda.
    Project with Better Family Life. Photo by Dante Migone-Ojeda.
  • Project with Better Family Life. Photo by Alex DeRosa.
    Project with Better Family Life. Photo by Alex DeRosa.
  • Project in Old North St. Louis. Photo by Anna Deming.
    Project in Old North St. Louis. Photo by Anna Deming.

This spring 2015 Art Practice course, taught by professor Stan Strembicki, focused on objectivity of the photographic document, and the various philosophical, aesthetic, and technical approaches to photographing our contemporary, human-altered landscape and communities. Through lectures, field trips, in-depth critiques, and supervised lab work, students increased their awareness of how their personal responses related to those of other documentary photographers dealing with similar issues.

The semester began with a project with Better Family Life, a community development corporation that offers an array of social, cultural, artistic, youth, economic, housing, and educational programs aimed at promoting positive and innovative changes within the metropolitan St. Louis area. Students photographed BFL programs of their choosing, creating visual narratives that respond to the value the organization creates with its communities.

For a subsequent assignment, students documented the unique neighborhood of Old North St. Louis and its surrounding environment. Their work explored “The Trestle,” a 1.5-mile abandoned railroad alignment that is owned by Great Rivers Greenway, as well as the history, buildings, and individuals who make up the Old North neighborhood.

Students concluded the course with a documentary project of their choice. Subjects included concepts of home and the experiences of local drag queens.

Participating students: Ashley Brown, Cris Chandy, Anna Deming, Alex DeRosa, Ria Han, Sarah Hull, Jessica Hyman, Sophia Keskey, Zoe Kline, Seth Lewis, and Dante Migone-Ojeda.

To view photos of students' work from throughout the semester, visit our Facebook page>>

Partners

Better Family Life
Great Rivers Greenway