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Seminar BA2: Photography and Film: from Snapshot to Photo Film


Admission requirements

The following courses need to be passed:

  • Freshman's Class

  • Academic Skills II


A photograph is often characterized as a snapshot, a mechanical representation of what happened to the camera for a fraction of a second. But photography appears to contain many more interesting reflections on time. While a photograph can capture the stillness of the photographed subject, manifesting the immutability of time in the photo, it can also create the illusion of motion when it deals with a moving subject, or when it creates a dynamic narrative in a photo series. Focusing on the concept of time in photography, this course asks: what are the temporal aspects of photography and how do they deal with the memoirs of the past? For instance, what happens to the experience of time of the spectator when looking at photo series, slide shows, and moving photos ('photofilm')? And how do these experiences differ from each other?

Moreover, since photographs are also important as original objects that carry histories, in this course we also make use of the famous photo collection of our university.

Course objectives

  • Students learn about different manifestations of time in photography

  • Students learn how to contextualize and summarize a current photographic debate in academic discourse

  • Students will identify the divergences and convergences of photography with other media

  • Students learn how to critically make use of academic skills material provided for second-year BA students

  • Students learn to prepare and present a visually supported presentation and learn to respond effectively to questions and comments from the lecturer and fellow students.

  • Students learn to write an associated, clearly formulated piece of work of approximately 3000 words, excluding notes and literature.

  • Students become familiar with the photography collection of Leiden University.


For further details see the timetable of Arts Media and Society

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours:

  • 24 hours: Attend lectures (12 x 2 hours)

  • 16 hours: Preparation of classes

  • 40 hours: Reading literature

  • 50 hours: Making assignments

  • 10 hours: Preparing presentations


Assessment method

  • Participating in discussions and preparing classes (compulsory part).

  • Oral presentation (10%): a 5-minute presentation (incl. PowerPoint-presentation) about own research plans.

  • Research proposal as midterm-exam (20%)

  • Paper (70%) of circa 3000 words excl. notes and list of literature (= ca. 12 pages).

Feedback: Each paper will be discussed individually within a few weeks after the due date of the submission of the papers.

Compensation: The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). Grades lower than 5.0 for assignments are not allowed.

Resit: A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. As far as applicable all resits/ rewrites take place at the same time, after the final (constituent) examination.

Inspection and feedback: How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized. Students will receive feedback on their research proposals and oral presentations a week after the delivery. To receive feedback on research papers, students need to contact the instructor via Email.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • announcements, schedule, assignments, PowerPoints of lectures, discussion board, required reading

Reading list

  • The booktitles and / or syllabi to be used in the course, where it can be purchased and how this literature should be studied beforehand.

  • Required readings will be uploaded in Blackboard or can be found on a marked shelf in the Photography library in the Special Collections Department of the university library.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. S.A. Shobeiri