Hurst Class Catalog: History of Photography

Bella Lee, Staff writer

Are you a photography minor or someone interested in photo and want to learn about the history of photography? Then watch out for ART 224, History of Photography, which is available every spring.

Gary Cardot, Assistant Professor of Art and instructor of the course, is more than qualified to teach this class. “I studied under a famous photographer and theoretician, Alan Sekula, who was widely published and exhibited world-wide,” said Cardot. “He was a Marxist but taught and studied all branches of modern art philosophy and criticism and I learned a lot from him as a graduate student.” Mostly sophomores and up can take the class, but Cardot has had freshmen photography minors who also enjoy the material.

Anyone can enroll in the course, but Cardot recommends that you have a basis in history prior to taking it. In the course, Cardot and his students are able to experience a lot of different media surrounding photography. “The course has a number of film classics that I screen including ‘Ordinary Miracles,’ which I was fortunate to be at the premier of in Manhattan in 2012,” said Cardot. “I make sure I visit New York as much as possible to see the latest films and I research the latest documentaries online and in print. Photography has been the medium of documentation for two centuries, so the students learn a great deal about the development of this country in particular. I also have a master’s degree in History as well as Photography, so I push the study of history in all my classes, even the studio courses.”While events such as museum visits were not able to occur this time around due to the pandemic, Cardot hopes he can resume these trips the next time the course is offered. “Because of COVID, we haven’t been able to visit museums this term, but I hope to resume that component of the course next Spring, 2022, when I teach photo history again,” said Cardot.

This is a course that Cardot and the students equally enjoy. “I think students enjoy this course because it allows them to study so many important photographers and their images, and it really highlights how our society keeps changing and using images in so many different ways,” said Cardot. “I hope Mercyhurst will always include art history in the curriculum because it opens up so many worlds to students and there are so many different job opportunities in museum work, publishing and government for students who know art history. I’m so grateful that the art department can offer this course.”

Whether you are genuinely interested in learning the history of photography or just need to fulfill the art requirement for REACH, be on the lookout for History of Photography next spring!