ART 394: Learn about representation and identity in photography

February 24, 2022 · 3 min read · By ASU Online
In ASU Online’s Representation and Identity in Photography course, learn about how culture and society are influenced by images. You’ll gain an understanding of your responsibility and power in capturing the experiences of different communities.

Recognize the impact that images you take have on society through ASU Online’s Identity and Representation in Photography course, offered through the Bachelor of Fine Arts in art with a concentration in digital photography degree program.

In the course, you’ll be exposed to the way contemporary and historical artists drive representation in their work, as well as how representation spaces are reclaimed and reframed to show a variety of experiences. Additionally, you’ll gain hands-on experience by exploring your own interests related to the course content.

Through exploration in this course, you’ll learn the importance of accountability, critical analysis and empathy in their photographic art.

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What does this course teach you about representation?

This photography course helps learners understand that the images they take can shape the narrative about their subjects. Course professor Granville Carroll explained, “It's important for us to understand the power that photography has to positively or negatively impact the way that we see and interact with different people, cultural identities and social identities.”

The course curriculum includes an exploration of a number of themes including the following:

  • Photographic vision.
    • Abstraction versus representation.
  • Reclaiming representation.
    • Afro-futurism and Blackness.
    • Origin stories.
    • Personal and family cosmologies.
    • Portraiture.
    • Self-portraiture.
    • The African diaspora.
  • Landscape and identity.

Carroll explained that it’s important for students to put what they learn through course readings and lectures into photographic practice. Learners explore a new theme weekly, keep a journal to document their experiences and finish the course with a culminating project to demonstrate learnings and concepts through their own self-expression. Final project topics are chosen by learners, and can include research on a particular movement, theme or artist of interest related to the course.


Meet the professor

ASU professor Granville Carroll poses for a picture on campus.

Professor Granville Carroll, once a photography student at ASU, now contributes his talents as a faculty associate with the university, in addition to growing his personal body of work. Designing this course was deeply meaningful to him. His personal experiences with being misrepresented led him to design a curriculum aimed at creating positive representations of other cultures through photography.

In his work as an artist, Carroll explores the concepts of how Blackness has been traditionally portrayed, and he aims to transform how the BIPOC community is represented. A major theme in his artistry is showing Blackness through the lens of beauty, complexity and a catalyst for healing. A visual artist and Afrofuturist, Carroll uses digital technology, poetry and other tools to explore how storytelling can influence perception of culture.

Carroll also looks forward to expanding his own research and knowledge about identity and representation through the student perspective.


Empowering students through photography

As you move beyond the academic setting, you’ll have an understanding of how your photographic vision can influence how communities are viewed by others. Further, you’ll be able to articulate the concepts and research that drive your work.

When asked what he hopes learners take away from the course, Carroll stated simply, “Photography is intrinsically connected to power.” He hopes students come away from the course with an understanding that with this power, they have the ability to transform the narratives around culture and cultural identity in positive ways.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in art with a concentration in digital photography

This online degree program emphasizes contemporary, creative and expressive forms of digital photography.  You’ll learn how to improve your technique while growing your understanding of aesthetics and conceptual thinking.


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