ART548 MFA Graduate Seminar in Photography: Professional Practicum II, Jacopo Santini, Spring 2020 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ART548 MFA Graduate Seminar in Photography: Professional Practicum II, Jacopo Santini, Spring 2020

These seminars serve as an introduction to and in-depth exploration of the professional world of photography. Special emphasis is placed on contemporary photography networks and careers ranging from photo-journalist to fine art photographer to photography instructor. In order to gain a fuller sense of what working in the field of photography means today, students meet with professional photographers, printers, editors, gallery owners, and photography instructors. Emphasis is placed on reading and analyzing texts by photographers and photo-historians and discussing the artistic, documentary, scientific, and commercial potentialities of photography within relevant social, cultural, and political contexts.

Class time will involve lectures and visits to exhibitions, galleries and photographic/art festivals, such as Paris Photo, the Photography Festival of Rome, the Photolux in Lucca, Venice Biennale (every other year), the European Festival in Reggio Emilia, Palazzo della Ragione in Milan, MADRE in Naples, Centro Pecci in Prato and many others.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course students will gain a deep and comprehensive knowledge of photography in its historical development up to the current “digital era,” of how it has been affected by and has affected other media and sciences, society and social behaviors and, more generally, the way we see ourselves.

A fundamental goal of the course is an in-depth analysis of photography’s raison d’etre today and the many different issues that stem from such a question. Thanks to the digital revolution the medium is even more available and affordable to the masses than before. Billions of photographs are taken every day, edited, posted, attached, downloaded and uploaded. And the more images are used (and abused) the less people seem to be able to think about the reasons why they continue, sometimes compulsively, to photograph, to “write with light.” Therefore the unavoidable question is: why do we photograph? Why should we continue to do it? To what purpose? And, finally, will photography survive and, if so, in what form? Studying the past and learning how to be conscious of the present will doubtless help us toward an answer.

Students are required to keep two journals. One in which you will write class notes and keep all handouts. The second will be your creative journal where you will write your personal impressions and analysis about the topics discussed during the seminar. Be as creative and involved as possible.

Field Trips

1. Prato, Centro Pecci, Luca Vitone, Romanistan. Link:

2. Firenze, Palazzo Strozzi, Tomás Saraceno.

3. Rome to visit the exhibitions of: Ara Güler at Museo di Roma in Trastevere: and Gabriele Basilico at Palazzo delle Esposizioni:

4. “In the Folds of Italy”: Abruzzo and Valle Peligna


Attendance: This includes participation/full participation.
Attendance and promptness are mandatory. Two absences will result in one grade less. Two late arrivals are equivalent to one absence. Eight minutes tardiness is equal to one lateness.

Critiques and tests cannot be missed. Check the final exam date on your schedule. No final exam absences will be excused; therefore no flights can be scheduled before or on this date. Missing the final critique will greatly affect your grade, resulting in a high risk of failure. Only the co-directors and the Dean can make any exceptions to this rule. Please talk to us in advance if you anticipate anything in these regards.


Students can achieve a passing grade by completing all of the requirements, having optimum attendance, participating in the MFA Seminar during critiques, during outside projects and by showing professionalism with guest visitors.

A = Work that far exceeds the minimum requirements in craftsmanship, presentation, and visual/intellectual order. Your concepts, ideas, and insightful participation in class and in critiques have to be of high level to obtain this grade.
B = above average work that far exceeds the minimum requirements. Skillful handling of the materials with good concepts, showing initiative in critiques and in class.
C = Average work completion with only adequate control of the materials. Minimum class and critique participation.
D = Failure to complete assignments resulting from a minimum amount of effort, poor execution, and sloppy craftsmanship in the handling of the materials with little or no class participation.
F = Little or no effort with consideration to the assignments. No participation in class or critiques.


Midterm Review - A review will be conducted with the Co-directors, invited faculty of SACI or individuals that have collaborated with your progress. (Completion of assignments, projects, portfolio’s, punctuality/attendance, and your journals will be discussed).

Final Review - A review will be conducted with the Co-directors, selected SACI faculty and whoever has collaborated at great length with your progress. Completion of assignments, projects, portfolios, final presentation and project, punctuality/attendance, and the viewing of the work produced during this term will be discussed.

A short faculty review without the student will be conducted with a maximum of three professors.


In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act Textbook Provision, SACI provides, when possible, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price of required and recommended reading. Note: Many required and recommended texts are available for loan or can be consulted in the SACI Worthington Library.

Ritchin, Fred Ritchin, After Photography, W.W. Norton & Company, 2009.
ISBN: 9780393050240 (Retail price: $29.95)

Ritchin, Fred, Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen, Aperture, 2013.
ISBN: 9781597111201 (Retail price: $19.95)

Rotzer, Florian, Hubertus Von Amelunxen, and Stefan Iglhaut, eds., Photography after Photography: Memory and Representation in the Digital Age , G+B Arts International, 1996.
ISBN: 9789057011016 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Fontcuberta Joan, Pandora’s Camera, Mack, 2014.
ISBN: 9781910164037 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Curti, Denis, and Sara Dolfi Agostini, Collezionare Fotografia, Contrasto DUE.
ISBN: 9788869655081 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Parr, Martin, and Gary Badger, The Photobook: A History Vol. I, Phaidon, 2005.
ISBN: 9780714842851 (Retail price: $90)

Parr, Martin, and Gary Badger, The Photobook: A History Vol. II, Phaidon, 2006.
ISBN: 9780714844336 (Retail price: $90)

Parr, Martin, and Gary Badger, The Photobook: A History Vol. III, Phaidon, 2014.
ISBN: 9780714866772 (Retail price: $100)

Warburg, Aby, Mnemosyne Atlas, Editions Atelier de l’écarquillé, 2012.
ISBN: 9782954013435 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

O’Doherty, Brian, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of The Gallery Space, University of California Press, 1999.
ISBN: 9780520220409 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Casares, Adolfo Bioy, The Invention of Morel, New York Review Books, 2003.
ISBN: 9781590170571 (Retail price: $12.95)

Pagnucco Salvemini, Lorella, United Colors: The Benetton Campaigns, Scriptum Editions, 2002.
ISBN: 9781902686226 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Zanfi, Claudia, Bill Owens: The American Way. Fotografia e sociologia, Credito Artigiano, 2003.
ISBN: To Be Determined (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Webb, Alex, and Rebecca Norris, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb on Street Photography and the Poetic Image , Aperture, 2014.
ISBN: 9781597112574 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Bolton, Richard, The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography, The MIT Press, 1993.
ISBN: 9780262521697 (Retail price: $58)

Marra, Claudio, Le Idee della Fotografia. La Riflessione Teorica dagli anni Sessanta a oggi, Mondadori Bruno, 2005.
ISBN: 9788842492979 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Dyer, Geoff, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews, Graywolf Press, 2011.
ISBN: 9781555975791 (Retail price: $18)

Cheroux, Clement, L’Errore Fotografico. Una Breve Storia, Einaudi.
ISBN: 9788806200725 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Cheroux, Clement, Diplopia. L’immagine Fotografica nell’Era dei Media Globalizzati. Saggio sull’11 settembre 2001, Einaudi.
ISBN: 9788806205294 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Serota, Nicholas, Richter Gerhard, Panorama, D.A.P./TATE, 2016.
ISBN: 9781938922923 (Retail price: $65)

DVD: The Genius of Photography, BBC, 2009

DVD: CONTACTS 2 - based on an idea by William Klein

DVD: CONTACTS 3 - based on an idea by William Klein


Week 1 - Thursday, January 16
Intro to the semester.
Lecture about contemporary photography.

Week 2 - Thursday, January 23
Lecture by Tommaso Tanini (winner of the Prix du Livre 2015 at Rencontres d’Arles) on Selfpublishing. to be confirmed

Week 3 - Thursday, January 30
Lecture: Contemporary Photography.

Saturday, February 1
Field Trip to Prato, Centro Pecci, Luca Vitone, Romanistan. Link:

Week 4 - Thursday, February 6
Lecture: Martino Margheri (Education Department manager at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze): Photography, museums, galleries and cultural institutions in present time. to be confirmed

Week 5 - Thursday, February 13
Lecture: Michele Borzoni of Terraproject. How a collective works – relations with agencies, magazines and clients. to be confirmed

Week 6 - Thursday, February 20
On site visit: the Fosco Maraini archive – Lecture – work time

Week 7 - Thursday, February 27
Midterm review

Week 8
(February 29 - March 8)

Week 9 - Thursday, March 12
Visit to Palazzo Strozzi for the exhibition of Tomas Saraceno. Link:

Friday, March 13
Field Trip to Rome to visit the exhibitions of:
Ara Güler at Museo di Roma in Trastevere:
Gabriele Basilico at Palazzo delle Esposizioni:

Week 10 - Thursday, March 19
Lecture: George Tatge: print pricing and sales in analogue and digital – organizing a personal archive – Relations with cultural institutions, galleries and clients. to be confirmed

Week 11 - Thursday, March 26
Lecture: Anna Maria Iuzzolini, magazine editor for Pagina 99: the Profession of Photo Editor – to be confirmed.
Work day on journal – analysis of students’ work.

Week 12 - Thursday, April 2
Work day on journal – analysis of students’ work.

Friday, April 3 – Sunday, April 5
In The Folds of Italy: Field Trip to Abruzzo, Valle Peligna

Week 13 - Thursday, April 9
Work day on journal – analysis of students’ work.

Week 14 - Thursday, April 16
Work day on journal - analysis of students’ work.

Week 15 - Thursday, April 23
Final exam – Presentation of the final journal – Final Review.


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