Campus: The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Instructors: Michele Forman, Director, Media Studies Program; Jared Ragland, Adjunct Professor, Department of Art & Art History

Course Description:

“Incidentally, part of a photographer’s gift should be with people. You can do some wonderful work if you know how to make people understand what you’re doing and feel all right about it, and you can do terrible work if you put them on the defense, which they all are at the beginning. You’ve got to take them off their defensive attitude and make them participate.” – Walker Evans

“Privilege, if you’re very strict, is an immoral and unjust thing to have, but if you’ve got it you didn’t choose to get it and you might as well use it. You’re privileged to be at Yale, but you know you’re under an obligation to repay what’s been put into you.” – Walker Evans

STORIES FROM THE LINE: DOCUMENTING POVERTY is committed to scholarly engagement, creative collaboration, and compassionate conversation through documentary practices and interdisciplinary study and connects students with learning opportunities inside the classroom and across the greater Birmingham community. This course focuses on the taking, making, presenting, criticizing, and understanding the visual story, particularly photographic images and documentary films focused on poverty and poverty-related issues. Students will refine their camera and editing skills and be challenged to develop and articulate their personal voice and vision through the making of photographs, documentary films and multimedia presentations and investigation of historical antecedents, contemporary practices, and strategies of critical interpretation. Specifically, students will be introduced to photographic projects and documentary films made in response to issues of poverty and be assigned long-term projects in which they will learn to make, edit, sequence, and present professional-quality works. Short-term assignments will also be given. Course progress will be documented via a class website. Final projects will be presented for a one-night only exhibition at UAB’s Project Space at the end of the semester.

Full Syllabus