Lesson 10: International Photojournalism

**This class will be taught by guest lecturer Alan Chin**

Photography has always been used as a primary medium to explore, document, and exploit cultures and places other than the photographer’s own. It is no accident that this French and English invention of the 1830s occurred at precisely the same historical moment that France and England were the two great powers then nearing the height of their imperial dominance over the majority of the world. Over these last 180+ years, empires have come and gone. Technology and publication platforms have continued to evolve. The medium has gone from novelty to museum and archival collections, but the way that photographers themselves work has, in some ways, remained remarkably the same: Who gets to make an image? Who is the subject in it? Who gets to see the finished product, and in what contexts? 

This class will give a brief overview of the history of photojournalism, with a focus on “international coverage,” that is: the “foreign;” the “other;” the “unknown.” We will also review how contemporary photographers continue to approach these situations from practical as well as ethical perspectives, and how current practices continue to change rapidly.


Discussion assignments:

Written assignment:

  • Choose an historic image (5 years or older) and write about it — why you chose it, what it means to you, and why you think it’s important.


  • Choose an image dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic and write about it — why you chose it, what it means to you, and why you think it’s important.
Review of Previous Lesson
  • Ask students what their main takeaways were from the previous lesson
Student Presentations of Selected Images

Students present the photographs they’ve selected, explaining to the class why they chose it, what it means to them, and why they think it’s important.

Guest Lecture