University of Technology Sydney

88014 The Photo Book

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks


Photography’s longstanding relationship with books is marked from the beginning of photography’s invention. The birth of photography signalled the publication of Henry Fox Talbot's "The Pencil of Nature", an important photographic document which has since offered a foundation for considering photography’s interaction with the book form. Images as books and in books offer photographic practice a mode of experimentation and communication which rivals other modes of photographic communication such as exhibition and screen. The photobook stands in its own right, informing the history of photography, design and creative practice more broadly.

In this subject, students are introduced to the photobook’s history as well as to its contemporary importance. Students develop their own photobook while considering new ways of understanding how meaning is shaped by an image's interaction with text and the tactile engagement with the page.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Continually develop your photobook between classes
2. Contributibute to class discussion on yours and others photobooks as they develop
3. Develop an appropriate book design in relationship to your photographs
4. Produce and refine your photographs between classes
5. Use appropriate photographic techniques in the production of your work
6. Research and articulate how the work of other photographers resonantes with your own work
7. Synthesise a range of photographic references and practical approaches in the making of your work
8. Refine your photobook through a process of self-critique and critical thinking

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Work cooperatively and professionally as part of a team, initiate partnerships with others, take a leadership role when required, and constructively contribute to peer learning. (C.1)
  • Create designs that respond to their context in formally or conceptually innovative ways. (I.1)
  • Advance ideas through an exploratory and iterative design process. (I.2)
  • Independent development of high level technical and craft skills for the production, presentation and documentation of work. (I.3)
  • Ability to innovatively and critically use a variety of digital technologies. (I.4)
  • Independently engage in self-directed learning and select and apply appropriate methodologies specific to the project. (P.4)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of design history and theory and to place creative practice within a historical and theoretical framework. (R.4)
  • Reflect and engage in self-critique and critical thinking. (R.5)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The subject allows students to develop a body of knowledge relating to historical and contemporary photography and its relationship to the Photobook. The subject allows students to develop the conceptual and aesthetic skills that are required to produce a body of work and to position their practice in a contemporary visual design/art context. Tutors guide students as they plan, investigate and resolve this body of work within the given timeframe. This subject contributes to the course educational aims to produce graduates who can incorporate high level skills in the following areas into their work and their approach to learning:

  • Communication and group work skills
  • Attitudes and values
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Research and critique
  • Innovation and creativity.

Teaching and learning strategies

Semester long subject, delivered through weekly interactive tutorials and studio based reflective learning. Learning activities involve theoretical and visual research that is both tutor directed and student-initiated; creative problem solving; critical reflection; progressive refinement of visual and written work; oral and written contextualisation of work in progress and finished work.

Content (topics)

The subject comprises the following:

  1. Interactive tutorials and briefings on contemporary and historical photographic approaches to the photobook;
  2. Studio critique - guidance on individual project development and support for technical, aesthetic and conceptual development;
  3. Research – consulting appropriate websites, blogs and online library resources; visiting UTS and other libraries and research collections where appropriate; conducting site and field visits.

See weekly timetable for classes that may involve whole group activity, site and field visits and screenings.


Assessment task 1: The Photobook Work-in-Progress


The Photobook Work-in-Progress requires students to produce a series of at least ten photographic images and to make an initial edit of these images towards sequencing their final photobook.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, I.2, I.3, P.4 and R.4

Type: Portfolio
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Willingness to contribute to discussion on own and others work 20 2 C.1
Demonstrated ability to work independently in the generation and execution of ideas 20 4 P.4
Appropriate application of technical skill in the making of photographs 20 5 I.3
Consistent development of ideas and photographs in response to advice given 20 7 I.2
Demonstrative knowledge of contemporary photographic practitioners and their work 20 6 R.4
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: The Photobook Final Book


The Photobook Final Book requires students to produce a finished photobook that contains at least twenty photographic images. The final production of the individual images, the book edit, and the book production should be a culmination of consistent development over the course of the subject.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3, 5 and 8

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, I.1, I.4, P.4 and R.5

Type: Portfolio
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Willingness to contribute to discussion on own and others work 20 2 C.1
Able to take autonomous responsibility for actions and decisions 20 1 P.4
Effectively apply relevant digital and/or analogue techniques and technologies to image-based practice 20 5 I.4
Willingness to reflect and engage in self-critique and critical thinking 20 8 R.5
Effective application of innovative approaches 20 3 I.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.

The listed assessment tasks should be submitted on the due date/time. The combined project grades should equal a pass grade or above. It is expected that you will spend 10 hours per week on this subject (this includes attendance at scheduled lectures and tutorials).

Assessment is criterion referenced where a student’s level of performance is judged in terms of how well the objectives of the subject have been achieved as evidenced in submitted work. Assessment criteria relate to the learning objectives listed in this document. See briefs for specific details of assessment criteria for each project.

Required texts

See weekly schedule

Recommended texts

Gerry Badger and Martin Parr – The Photobook, Volumes I, II & III, Phaidon London, 2004, 2006, 2014

Martin Parr and WassinkLundgren – The Chinese Photobook, Aperture New York, 2015

Bruno Ceschel and David Senior – Self Publish Be Happy, Aperture New York, 2015

Darius Himes and Mary Swanson – Publish Your Photobook, Princeton Architectural Press, 2014

Mikhail Karasik and Manfred Heiting – The Soviet Photobook 1920 - 1941, Steidl, 2015

Patrizia Di Bello, Colette Wilson and Shamoon Zamir – The Photobook: From Talbot to Ruscha and Beyond, Routledge, 2012