The teaching of photography in universities has grown exponentially in the thirty years since the first photography degree was established at the Polytechnic of Central London in the late 1970s. The tension in those original courses between the teaching of 'theory' and practical skills has now dissipated. Today, there are many more students and they have different expectations of, and concerns about, their time at university, including what debts they will be left with and their subsequent employability.
Tom Allbeson has spoken to lecturers and students to find out how they perceive the current state of photography education. Anthony Haughey puts the case for the further growth of photography education in Ireland. And Jane Fletcher and Greg Lucas say that the way photography is taught in universities still owes too much to the principles of the 'independent' photographers of the 1970s. They believe the time is ripe for a less 'self expressive' approach to teaching photography.
Victor Burgin is well known as an influential teacher on the course at Polytechnic of Central London during the 1970s and 80s. In this issue we foreground his work as an artist and feature an interview with him by David Campany. They begin by discussing the similar challenges that face photographic education and arts practices and go on to talk about Burgin's recent work A Place to Read, about the fate of a Turkish café.
Writing about Ciaran Og Arnold's new work, Carlo Gébler prizes what he sees as its bracing pessimism. The photographs picture an Irish Midlands town (see earlier work in Source 54), where, as Gébler summarises, 'they drink; they gamble... and they're sexual.'
Photographs made by Patrick Hogan, of apparently unconnected subject matter, have in common what Chris Clarke calls a particular kind of 'alienated instant', be it an isolated car in the forest or the artist's girlfriend sitting in a chair. The stillness of these photographs, Clarke says, can also show us any number of other qualities, movement, frivolity and lightness.
Patrick Hogan's work is currently on show at the Gallery of Photography in Dublin and Arnold's work will feature in the forthcoming Showcase Exhibition.