This spring course approaches photography as a disciplined way of seeing, investigating, and interpreting the urban landscape. It is intended for those interested in photography, landscape, architecture, the built environment, and art history in the context of the city.
Each student selects a site for the focus of his or her work in the course. The place may be anywhere in the Los Angeles region — urban, suburban, or rural. It may be a work of architecture, a garden, an urban space, a neighborhood, the urban edge, or the like. Work will be submitted in digital format. Images are projected for class discussion and posted in an online gallery. This work will proceed in stages, examining the site from varying perspectives, including light, detail, documentary, and poetic interpretation, and ending as a portfolio of photographs that express the qualities of a particular place, sequenced as a story or stories.
Each class is divided between presentation and discussion of student work and a lecture providing context and critical understanding for this work The lectures provide an historical and critical understanding of the evolution of photography of the natural and built environments. The lectures provide an historical and critical framework for informing one’s photographic efforts and, through the many examples, educate the eye to the variety of ways of seeing and interpreting the urban landscape.. Thus students are expected to evolve their abilities to see and interpret the urban environment by understanding how others throughout the history of photography have done so, by experimenting with their own photographic project, and by discussing how other students have approached their work..
The course is led by Richard Langendorf. He is uniquely prepared to teach this course as he has degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning from MIT, has experience in both fields abroad and in the United States, and has more than 50 years of experience photographing the urban landscape. UCLA Extension recognized his teaching excellence by giving him the Distinguished Instructor Award in 2013.