• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Art History
  • Areas of interest Art History, Digital Arts, Visual Arts, Creative Arts, Arts
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

This course will focus on the histories, theories and practices of photography from its beginnings to the present day. Its aim is to examine photography in relation to other visual art forms, to consider the challenges photography poses to histories of art, and to contextualise the medium in broader socio-political terms. Topics to be covered will include: the origins of photography and its impact, art photography movements, Australian photography, documentary photography, curating and exhibiting photography, digital and computational photography, and contemporary photography in a global context. There is a strong focus throughout on object-based analysis and where possible several classes will be held at national cultural institutions in Canberra.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. describe in detail the major developments in art photography from the nineteenth century up to the present;
  2. provide in-depth knowledge of different socio-political contexts for the developments in photography;
  3. demonstrate an advanced understanding of histories and theories of photography and its qualities as a particular artistic medium;
  4. research and access information on photography and organise your research into compelling and intelligent arguments; and
  5. confidently participate in and lead critical discussions about histories, theories, and practices of photography.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Critical Review Task (2000 words) (30) [LO 2,3,4]
  2. Research-based Analysis Task (2500 words) (35) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Take-home Test (1500 words) (20) [LO 2,3,4]
  4. Reflective Task (500 words) (5) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  5. Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: lectures, seminars, tutorials and/or peer-to-peer learning sessions; and

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing. Contact hours may include visits to major art institutions in Canberra.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ARTH2050.

Prescribed Texts

All required readings will be available through Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

Suggested readings:

Batchen, Geoffrey. Burning with desire: the conception of photography, 1997

Ennis, Helen. Photography and Australia, 2007

Warner, Mary Marien. Photography: A cultural history, 4th ed., 2014


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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