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From its experimental origins to the rise of digital technologies, photography has acquired a central role within the art world. This has resulted in an ever-increasing number of dedicated festivals, exhibitions, collections and prizes. The medium also commands a strong position with the art market, appearing in specialist art fairs and auctions and major contemporary art sales. Consequently, debates on photography cover a wide variety of topics, from the emergence of the modernist tradition to the forms of visual communication produced by platforms such as Instagram.

This course will examine photography’s changing status as an art form from the early twentieth century to the present day; tracing its movement to the centre of the art world and the global art market. It will explore the major artists, exhibitions and movements which secured photography’s current position and assess the medium’s future. The course also includes sessions on various aspects of the market, including prints and editioning, valuing photographs and the legal issues that surround art photography.

Students will learn from the expertise of our in-house specialists and a diverse programme of guest speakers, including leading market experts, artists and curators. The course adopts a wide variety of teaching formats, from lectures and group discussions to class visits to public, private and commercial collections and exhibitions. On completion of Photography, History and the Market, students will be able to analyse and discuss art photography and its position within the art world.

Sample Topics

  • The formation of canons of art photography
  • Early collections: archives and museums
  • The history of the art market for photography
  • The contemporary art market and the future
  • Processes and preservation
  • Photography at Sotheby’s
  • American and European Modernism
  • Photography and conceptual art
  • Postmodernism and appropriation
  • The Dusseldorf School
  • Landscape photography
  • Portraiture and identity
  • Fashion photography
  • Curating the photograph
  • Photography and globalization
  • Photography and digital culture
  • Mobile photography workshop
  • The Photobook


PhD, MA and BA, University of Leeds Simon Constantine is a Consultant Lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a Teaching Fellow at University College London. His work addresses recent documentary photography, with a particular focus on large-scale projects and photobooks which seek to map, cr...
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