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Photography and the City of Paris

ARTS 223
Paris, France
Prof. Christa Bowden

The city of Paris plays a critical role in the history of photography, from the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839, to the documentation of a city in transition by Atget and Marville, to the Surrealists and avant-garde photographers, to the “decisive moments” of Cartier-Bresson and other mid-century observational photographers, to the contemporary art scene of today. With this historical and cultural context in mind, students will explore the city with their cameras, and create images based on their own visual research. Collaborative, interdisciplinary, and digital projects comprise the majority of work in this course, and gallery and museum visits play an integral part.

Read more posts from students in both the Spring Term photography and history courses in Paris at

Our Blogger: Laura Wiseman

“Art and Paris go hand in hand, so when I discovered the opportunity to study Photography in Paris for Spring Term, I (forgive the pun) sprang upon it. Growing up in the United Kingdom, I had been able to visit France, and specifically Paris, a number of times, but all within the confines of the tourist identity. So, with my mediocre French revised, and my list of sights to visit, I decided that there was no time like the present to live in Paris for a month while studying my passion: photography. There are few opportunities in life to delve into your passions while living in new, beautiful, and exciting places, and to me there was nothing more inviting than Paris in the springtime in the company of Atget, Cartier-Bresson, and all of the iconic Parisian photographers.”

  • Class Year: 2016
  • Major: Studio Art
  • Hometown: East Lansing, MI
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