photo google-fu
March 22, 2011 9:29 PM   Subscribe

I am teaching an undergraduate photography class. What are the most amazing, resource intensive websites that the students should be exposed to?

It can be material that is only peripherally related to photography, if it is crucial to an contemporary understanding of the medium. These students will need as much exposure to the canon of art history, and its relationship to contemporary and 'antique' photographic practice as possible.

(Surprisingly, 18-23 year-olds are not as deft at utilizing internet resources as one would expect! While I was prepared for them to run circles around my google-fu, they seem bored with the web in general.)

What sites should a group of young, fine-arts majors be aware of? I want them (to at least begin) to grok the powerful implications of this strange, modern-period invention that changed everything.
posted by archivist to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Does your institution subscribe to ArtStor? That would be the place to have them build/explore collections of classic photos.

Outside of fine arts photography, maybe Camerapedia to learn about camera types and models, Flickr to explore popular photography (particularly groups focused around popular contemporary styles, like the Holgagraphy or Cross Processing groups), and Creative Commons vs. iStockPhoto to consider contemporary implications of fine arts work like Sherrie Levine's.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:15 PM on March 22, 2011

Best answer:
posted by jade east at 12:18 AM on March 23, 2011

Do you need technical resources or purely visual/historical information? That is, are you teaching actual photography or is this a lecture class exploring photography in a historical context?
posted by smartypantz at 2:19 AM on March 23, 2011

Best answer: The Daguerreotype in America
posted by starman at 5:08 AM on March 23, 2011

Best answer: flickr: photos
PN: photos (higher standard than flickr), some discussion
redbubble: portfolios
APUG: largely technical analogue
dyxum: technical and artistic, mostly digital and somewhat brand-specific
KEH: shiny toys
posted by polyglot at 5:14 AM on March 23, 2011

(PS it sounds like you have an art history class not a photography class there. Are they expected to make photos or just look at them?)
posted by polyglot at 5:15 AM on March 23, 2011

While not quite what you may be looking for, is a database of teaching materials posted for all subjects by academics from around the world.

You may find worthwhile teaching materials for your philosophy class that you never thought of on that site. There doesn't appear to be a particular philosophy section, but there may be some related materials in other sections of the site, or you can search by a particular keyword, too.

Again, it's more of a teaching resource site than a subject-specific site, but it's an incredible resource the faculty I work with have just been introduced to.
posted by zizzle at 7:59 AM on March 23, 2011 that as philosophy, not photograpy. :)

It may still be useful for the history angle of your class. :)
posted by zizzle at 8:00 AM on March 23, 2011

Best answer: "reverse image search", useful for finding who took what photo decent portfolios of the big names out there, but not particularly contemporary

These are blogs that are wonderful to subscribe to but also great resources to search through for info about particular topics excellent running commentary on photojournalism one of the best blogs on the business/publishing end of photography the best contemporary photo blog out there, bar none Aperture's blog, especially useful for finding events in NYC essays on the art world from the perspective of an art dealer
posted by ztdavis at 8:02 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Metafilter is a pretty good photography resource sometimes.
posted by yeolcoatl at 8:17 AM on March 23, 2011
posted by xammerboy at 8:47 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: polyglot - they will be making images, but I am sure you are aware of how crucial contextual/historical framework is, especially at the beginning. I want the students to have as many tools as possible when developing their projects. I can talk technical SLR language all day, but that is only half of the training.
posted by archivist at 8:56 AM on March 23, 2011

Best answer: I found learning about traditional processes fascinating and helpful. Making Cyanotypes is fun and easy-ish. Is your class shooting film or is it all digital now? I think shooting film and having to develop everything yourself and learning how to do it right (ie exposures etc) is fundamental to learning about photography in a historical context. These days photography is all about shooting and post processing, but "back in the day" you had to know a lot more technical information and had to plan your shooting accordingly. When you only have 24 or 36 shots and you have to process it all yourself later to find out how things went, you shoot in a much different way than if you can always have that immediate feedback of the lcd screen.

So, the most important things I learned in photography school (I have extensive schooling in film based Photography) were: use a tripod, use a light meter and look through the viewfinder with your non dominant eye to see how your framing looks. These tips slow you down when shooting and make you more aware of how to make a good photograph. Then you know how to get the shot right away instead of banging off a couple hundred just to make sure you got what you think you wanted as I think happens to much these days. So imagine, even not that long ago when photography was still all film based, I was learning techniques to slow me down even further! Learning Ansel Adams' Zone System was also very important and informative.

So as far as teaching your students the context of historical photography I think you need to emphasize the processes involved and why they were used. is a great resource for all things photography related, especially practical information. has a lot of information and resources about historical processes and they have a great set of links to other sites. has an extensive set of links about processes and history.

Also check out here and here.
posted by smartypantz at 11:38 AM on March 23, 2011

Best answer: Google Art Project

posted by melissasaurus at 11:45 AM on March 23, 2011

Digital Photography School
posted by no bueno at 6:14 PM on May 16, 2011

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