Capturing the Human Experience in Place
Architectural and landscape photography in Greece
University of Tennessee Knoxville mini-term course abroad
8 - 28 May, 2019
Athens, Santorini, Crete, Peloponnese
Instructors: Mark DeKay - architect, professor; Pygmalion Karatzas - architect, photographer; Susanne Bennett - editor, coach
In May of 2019, 3 staff and 10 students trekked 2600 km of Greece by foot, bus, ferry and plane to study architecture and landscapes from the ancient classical sites to contemporary works, using photography to document, represent and express. Developed and conducted by prof. of architecture Mark DeKay, editor and coach Susanne Bennett, and architect and photographer Pygmalion Karatzas, we shot only in RAW format and fully manual mode, post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop. The course takes as a theme the human experience of buildings and landscape, particularly, the experience of nature and natural forces—in urban and village settings. Building on the instructors’ collaboration and scholarship of architectural photography, students engaged its expressive, editorial and documentary types, in the technology of digital production and the presentation of work. Each photographer developed a personal creative intention to guide the artistic vision. It was a time of breakthroughs, transformations and communions with people and place.
The course was designed to include landmark buildings and areas of the Greek capital, the mainland country-side and the islands within the three-week period of the mini-term. It was also structured to have classroom presentations, on situ workshops with the instructors, assignments to explore places photographically on their own, and guest talks / guided tours with local professionals in related fields. The fast-paced rhythm of dealing with new information, people and places required for our exterior professional advancement was counterbalanced with the contemplative and reflective mindset needed for our interior personal and interpersonal development.
Syllabus of UTK Mini-term in Greece, May 2019
Arch 491, Foreign Study
Research and design projects conducted in various locations abroad.
Summer - Mini Term 2019
08 May, 2019 to 29 May, 2019
Out-of-country , Other non-conventional media instructional method
Travel to Greece to study architecture and landscapes from the ancient classical sites to contemporary works, using photography to document, analyze and express. The course takes as a theme the human experience of buildings and landscape, particularly, the experience of nature and natural forces—in urban and village settings. Building on the instructors’ ongoing collaboration and scholarship of architectural photography, we will engage students in its expressive, editorial and documentary aspects, in the technology of digital production and the presentation of work. You will learn to use your camera like a pro and expand your technical knowledge and your artistic vision.
Mastering your camera places new tools in your hands for the study of the built environment. Becoming aware of the perspectives you take when using your camera empowers you to see the world in ways that you consciously choose. Engaging a new culture and place brings your own point of view to the forefront. The experiences, skills and knowledge your develop in this course will given you an edge.
- Understand examples of the relationship of buildings to sites, from topographic, symbolic and other perspectives.
- Learn to use and fully control a digital camera in manual mode .
- To become proficient with post-production techniques for architectural photo .
- To experience working with RAW format to recreate the scene .
- To become familiar with the viewpoints of different types of architectural photography: The Documentary, Editorial and Expressive Viewpoints .
- To experiment with long exposure technique and post-processing long exposure shots.
- To create photographic series and narratives using multiple images in a series or sequence to convey a larger idea or story .
- To curate an online gallery .
- Exercise of one’s artistic eye in expressing a scene and its engendered feeling .
Requirements and assessment:
Course work includes attendance, full participation in classes and field workshops, completion of a series of shooting and post-processing assignments, and the production of an online gallery. Full attendance at all class events is expected. Daily assignments will be posted electronically, handed out in print or given verbally. Assessment is as follows:
- 70% Full participation and assignment completion .
- 30% Final online gallery of work.
We will be creating a shared learning community of practice in which we are all responsible for self-initiative teaching and learning. A learning community for us is a group of people committed to excellence in some domain of design knowledge. The community is made up of members who learn in a high-energy mode by collectively acting together with shared practices, strategies, and methods. To work effectively, these shared practices must be repeatedly performed and applied.
We would like to thank the following people who accepted our invitation to present their work to our students or assist in the program:
- Christina Papadimitriou, director Hellenic Institute of Architecture,
- Yiorgis Yerolymbos, photographer,
- Prof. Despoina Dimelli, University of Chania Architecture School,
- Maria Koundouraki, architect Rethymno,
- George and Maria Kalikakis, owners of house in Heraklion,
- Tilemachos Andrianopoulos, TENSE Architecture Network,
- Theo Sarantoglou Lalis and Jonathan Cheng, LASSA architects,
- Kostas Zouvelos, architect, owner, Tainaron Blue Retreat,
- Euphoria Retreat stuff,
- Sergey Fedotov, architect and owner TRIF House,
- Konstantinos Grigoriadis, architect, project manager Villa White & Amanzoe,
- Valia Foufa, architect Nafplio,
- Ria Vogiatzi, Elastic Architects,
- Vassilios Bartzokas, Design Ambassador, Archisearch
- Els Siakos Hanappe, Greek Program Coordinator Fulbright Greece,
- Cornelia Hack, program manager CEPA Abroad,
- Michael Saenz, programs abroad coordinator UTK.
Sample presentation of course material - Aspects of architectural photography.
Sample images from the exhibition.
A video montage with impressions from the course by Delaney Phillips.
Sample presentation of course material - UTK Greece 2019.
Sample works from students - UTK Greece 2019.
Video montage with behind the scenes from the course.
"The picturesqueness of Greece allowed an opportunity to capture the essence of experience through photography. The transition from automatic to manual was the most challenging technique that improved over the course. Overall, the time in Greece was memorable because of the professors and other students who embraced the culture in all aspects." - Juliana Rogers
"Over the course of three weeks spent in Greece, I had the opportunity to learn how to capture some of the most monumental moments in architectural history. I learned how to manually operate a camera, take long exposure shots, and edit photographs in Lightroom. Thanks to Pygmalion, Mark, and Susanne, I was able to have the experience of a lifetime Greece, while also learning many new things about photography. I was also immersed into the Greek culture, and I loved every minute of it; from the traditional Greek street food to the gorgeous beaches and kind people, I learned a lot about the Greek culture and got a glimpse into life in Greece. I’m very thankful for the opportunity I had to further my studies and life experiences on this trip, and I would do it again in an instant." - Samantha Richwine
"This adventure was one I will never forget. I had never traveled out of the United States before the trip began and because of that I was able to experience a lot of “firsts” with an amazing group of people and professors. I knew the trip would be enjoyable, but I had no idea how much it would challenge my ideas of culture and creativity. We were encouraged daily to reach outside our own views and bias to be able to fully experience the next encounter. The aspect of photography only added to the understanding of perspective in terms of personal and framed views. Our shooting and post processing skills grew each day as we built on from the previous day’s travel and continued to grow from one site to the next. I am unbelievably grateful for the opportunity as it shaped the way I view culture and travel in an amazing way." - Allie Bierman