October 23, 2020
A reasonably new course at William & Mary, Photomania nonetheless has loads of room to vary and develop.
That’s good as a result of this fall’s pandemic circumstances have introduced new challenges in addition to discoveries for the students collaborating within the COLL 100 images class, which Lecturer of Art Eliot Dudik teaches.
“Certainly, COVID-19 has forced the course to evolve and stretch in some new ways, too,” Dudik stated. “The course title is in reference to the mania that unfold from Paris and London to New York and throughout the globe when the invention of images was introduced and the primary daguerreotypes had been placed on show. The course goals to think about what led to the invention of images and the way it modified the world.
“We also look at major shifts in technology, practice, theoretical and cultural thinking, and the impacts they’ve had on the world since the invention of photography. On a basic level, it introduces first-year students at William & Mary to new concepts that impact the way they think about the power of photography every time they pull their cell phones out.”
The class this semester is working with the theme of time, particularly because it pertains to one’s perspective or understanding of the world, in line with Dudik. The materials is a mixture of lectures concerning the historical past of images and hands-on initiatives that tie into these lectures, with one thing new this semester.
Dudik is collaborating with Professor of Art History Charles Palermo and the Muscarelle Museum of Art to work with the Photomania students on setting up their very own digital museum exhibition. The class is break up into 4 teams, and every group is creating a special half, or digital room, of the present that explores a special facet of photographic time.
The semester to date has been break up between digital work on this present and hands-on initiatives just like the latest cyanotype murals that students made in someday utilizing an outside photographic course of.
Typically, the category makes one large mural that each one 16 students work on. This 12 months they made 4 smaller murals with 4 students every working collectively to assist preserve everybody bodily distanced.
Each group labored through a special theme for his or her mural.
“This project is always one of the students’ favorites as it gets them outside, allows them to collaborate, develop ideas and problem solve with their classmates,” Dudik stated. “Ultimately, they select or make objects whose shadows will communicate that idea when laid out as a particular design.”
Marissa Ho ’23 stated the hands-on initiatives have been her favourite a part of the category.
“During days when we aren’t in person, we learn about the history of photography or old photographic techniques, and during our in-person sessions, we’re able to actually apply these old techniques or modernized versions of those old techniques with our projects, which I think is really different and unique,” Ho stated.
“With other subjects, I can learn about the history of something and be done with it. But with this class, I’ve been able to actually see the historic processes we learn about in action and actually be able to do it by myself.”
The challenge with Palermo and the Muscarelle Museum has been “a really fantastic way to discover new artists and get a closer look at what the behind-the-scenes of museum exhibits are like,” in line with Ho.
“Photomania has also been a really nice break from my other classes, which are all very rigorous STEM classes that have become even more rigorous with the accelerated semester,” Ho stated. “Photomania has definitely also become a creative outlet as well as a fun class, which is something I wasn’t expecting, but am definitely enjoying.”
Joshua Miner ’24 described Photomania as taking students outdoors the realm of the strictly digital and images in its many varieties and sides.
“This has included hands-on experience in the special collections library, curating exhibits for the Muscarelle Museum and a plethora of traditional print photographs,” Miner stated. “Especially given the times, this chance to spend hours creating something meaningful with your friends makes Photomania distinctly unique.”
He described the cyanotype murals, now displayed in Andrews Hall, as an amazing instance.
“They allowed each group of students to come together to create a single 5-by-6-foot photo made not with fancy equipment, but of sweatshirts, blankets and paper cutouts,” Miner stated. “This theme of creative problem solving is standard amongst our projects, as the class emphasizes the significance of storytelling and artistic technique over equipment and technical expertise. In this way, the class seeks to build the framework for its students to go on to create meaningful art, both inside and outside of a photo.”
Dudik stated that throughout the pandemic, students, school, employees and directors have had no alternative however to be artistic and versatile, which has been largely constructive in his expertise.
“Being flexible in the art-making process, like most things in life, is vital to revealing potential new paths one might not have imagined otherwise,” Dudik stated. “Our trials and failures are what lead us to discovery and success. My courses have shifted to virtually all experimental photographic work, outdoors and utilizing the solar to create a picture.
“We’re creating our own photographic, and sometimes plant-based, emulsions, building our own cameras and lenses, and creating handmade prints in collaboration with nature. These methods require patience, flexibility, a curious mind and a willingness to piece together and build upon mistakes.”
This time final 12 months, everyone took what they’d — labs, instructing strategies, studying aims — without any consideration, he added.
“This year, we are finding new ways to teach, learn, communicate and be present, creative and compassionate citizens,” Dudik stated. “Although I can’t wait to get students back into the darkroom, I hope much of the ingenuity that has taken place over the past many months continues forward well beyond the pandemic.”