Film and photography. The photographic image in the digital age (Master in Film and Screen Studies)

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Program details
Subject: Film and photography. The photographic image in the digital age
Course: Second
Semester: 1
Modality: Optional
Professor: Diego Cepeda


The main objective of the subject is to propose a view that, from the perspective of image studies, approaches photography from a twofold approach: from a theoretical point of view, which investigates its nature and how it has changed over time, and from considering it in different moments and historical and social contexts. Thus, the aim is not to propose a history of photography in a traditional sense, that is, from its invention to the 21st century, but to propose a series of ways or lines of approach that allow us to consider the nature of the photographic image, intermodality, the connection between photography and the notion of the archive in contemporary art, photographic experimentation and alternative techniques, its use in both hegemonic and subversive discourses, its role in the creation of imaginaries, the photo-essay and post-photography.


  • Reflect on the nature of images in general and photographic images in particular.
  • To know how to interpret photographic images
  • To know the theory of photography
  • To know the different experimental techniques and their use at certain times.
  • Have a complete vision of the history of photography and the main movements and trends.
  • Acquire a critical awareness of the photographic image.
  • To delve into the propagandistic uses of photography.
  • To learn to work with documentary and theoretical sources.
  • To develop a critical and contextualised vision of the current photographic panorama.


Classes will be mainly theoretical and historical in nature, and will be structured according to the programme of contents included in this teaching plan. Student participation is important and, to this end, complementary readings will be proposed to the content taught in class in order to carry out debates in the classroom.


Unit 1. The nature of photography and cinema

Unit 2. Intermodality: the image in the face of time

Unit 3. The World as an Archive: From Image to Catalogue

Unit 4. Experimental Discourses: From Bauhaus to Solarigraphy

Unit 5. From photo(cinema)graphic studies to do it yourself

Unit 6. Uses and Discourses: Image and Ideology

Unit 7. Photography, Imagination and Imaginaries

Unit 8. The Decisive Instant: Humanist and Contemporary Photography

Unit 9. The Concept of Genre in Contemporary Photography

Unit 10. The concept of genre in contemporary photography Theme 10.

Unit 11. The 21st century: post-photography and post-cinema

Unit 12. From a drone’s eye view: new paradigms of visuality


It consists of three activities: a text review (15%), an essay (20%) and a proposal for a photographic project (theoretical research or practical proposal) (65%).


Barthes: Camera lucida. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.

Batchen, Geoffrey: Negative/Positive: A History of Photography. London: Routledge, 2020.

Benjamin, Walter: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin, 2008.

Berger, John: Understanding a Photograph. London: Penguin, 2013.

Berger, John: Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin, 2008.

Dubois, Philip: El acto fotográfico: de la representación a la recepción. Barcelona: Paidós, 1986.

Durden, Mark; Tormey, Jane (Eds.): The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory. London: Routledge, 2019.

Elkins, James: «Camera Dolorosa» in History of Photography, vol. 31, no. 1 (Spring 2007), pp. 22–30.

Elkins, James: Photography Theory. London: Routledge, 2013.

Emerling, Jae: Photography: History and Theory. London: Routledge, 2013.

Fontcuberta, Joan: La furia de las imágenes. Notas sobre la postfotografía. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg, 2020.

Freund, Gisele: La fotografía como document social. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1983.

Gelder, Hilde Van; Westgeest, Helen: Photography Theory in Historical Perspective. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Gunthert, André: El arte de la fotografía: de los orígenes a la actualidad. Barcelona: Lunwerg, 2009.

Jurgenson, Nathan: The Social Photo: On Photography and Social Media. London: Verso Books, 2019.

Higgins, Jackie: Why It Does Not Have To Be in Focus: Modern Photography Explained. London: Thames and Hudson, 2013.

Miller, Sally: Contemporary Photography and Theory: Concepts and Debates. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020.

Modrak, Rebekah; Anthes; Bill: Reframing Photography: Theory and Practice. London: Routlege, 2010.

Newhall, Beaumont: The History of Photography: From 1839 to the Present. New York: The Museum of Modern art, 1984.

Schaeffer, Jean-Marie: La imagen precaria del dispositivo fotográfico. Madrid: Cátedra, 1987.

Scharf, Aaron: Arte y fotografía. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1994.

Sontag, Susan: Against Interpretation: And Other Essays. Picador, 2001.

Sontag, Susan: On Photography. Penguin, 2008.