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Photography: Analysis & Theory


Admission requirements

There are no additional requirements.

This course has replaced the course Cinema & Photography: Methodology (2022-2023).
IMPORTANT NOTE: This course is part of the additional requirements regarding components that have to be completed for the first (positive) binding study advice. This means that the student should have passed this course in order to be able to continue in the programme. See the programme-specific part of the Course and Examination Regulations.


This course provides an overview of classic and contemporary theories of photography. It begins by unpacking several influential concepts that shaped the early days of photography, such as: indexicality, iconicity, and transparency theory. Having revisited these historical notions, it then turns to more contemporary debates, such as: materiality and agency, memory, and the genres landscape and snapshot. To work with these theories, the course makes use of two methodologies; those are: visual and discourse analysis. By using these methods, it inquires: to what extend can an attentive reading of visual materials tell us about their content? In which ways does the content of a photo or a photo series change when read through a specific social/political/historical discourse? Therefore, by exploring both classic and contemporary debates surrounding photography, this course creates a theoretical overview of ideas that have been shedding light onto this medium over the past centuries.

Course objectives

  • Students acquire in-depth knowledge of visual/discourse analysis in relation to photography.

  • Students learn about the uses and differences between theory and methodology in relation to photography.

  • Students learn how to choose and apply a suitable theory for analyzing a photo or a photo series.

  • Students gain an overview of the seminal theories in relation to photography.

  • Student will be acquainted to classic/contemporary influential photographers.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Assessment method


  • Group presentation

  • Final Exam: Photo essay


  • Group presentation (30%)

  • Final Exam: Photo essay (70%)

The final grade is established by the weighted average of all grades; additional requirement: all grades ought to be sufficient (= 6). You can resit the component(s) that you have failed.


A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. As far as applicable all resit/ rewrite examinations 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 have to be organized.

Reading list

Literature will be announced on Brightspace prior to the start of the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal