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Photography Research

Research

This guide is intended to help Photography students find resources and boost their research skillz. Here are some other guides you might find useful!

Art & Design Research Guide: For in-depth research help, including tips and tools
Visual Media Guide: For resources to help with finding, citing, and legally using visual media
Professional Resources Guide: For professional resources, like help finding jobs and writing an artist's statement


When doing research, try starting with @LL Search, it searches everything @ Lesley Library, including journal databases, book catalogs, eBook libraries, encyclopedia entries, newspaper articles, and streaming media!

@LLSearch

Image of a book for page aesthetics Are you looking to place a hold on a book from another Boston-area library? Are you only looking for books, and you want to limit your search to one Lesley library? You can still do that in our FLO catalog!

Library Subscriptions

As an alternative to searching with keywords, you could start with a fun photo magazine and browse around. If you struggle with word choice and keywords when searching, this more visual alternative to discovery could be just what you need!  You can browse based on what draws your eye, but keep an eye out for the language that artists use to describe their work. The more blurbs you read, the better you'll get at searching with keywords!

Cite/Annotate

OWL Purdue Citation Manual
Scroll through the different types of resources to make sure you're citing the specific kind of book, article, etc. that you're using

Lesley's MLA Citation Guide
Links to helpful resources for formatting an MLA paper, formatting citations, and creating an annotated bibliography

Lesley's Guide to Citing and Captioning Images
You cite the artwork itself, and then cite where you found it (book, online, magazine, etc.)

Critical/Analytical Annotation:

Under the citation, include 1-3 sentences covering the basics:

  • Describe the resource (book, photobook, exhibition catalog, journal article? images or just text? general info or specific?)
  • Summarize the content as it relates to your research/how you'll use it (is it evidence to support your claim, just background info for context? is it more technical/practical info you need?)
  • Critique the research or work (how do you know you can trust the author, are the artists established? what perspective are they coming from- a critic or a maker?)

See below for an example, or click here for more.

DeGuzmán, María. Buenas Noches, American Culture : Latina/o Aesthetics of Night. Indiana University Press, 2012. EBSCOhost, search-ebscohost-com.ezproxyles.flo.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip&db=cat05473a&AN=les.1401697&site=eds-live&scope=site.

This is a critical text analyzing Latina/o aesthetics across disciplines and is meant to be part of scholarly discourse on the topic of “night” imagery across art and literature in the Caribbean, Colombia, Central and South America, and the US.  There is a broad introduction with the author’s overall analysis on the topic, as well as chapters covering specific subtopics. As my research investigates night imagery in photography, this text will serve to support my claims that such imagery can be strongly tied to culture and therefore used differently by photographers around the world.  There is a chapter entirely about the perspective of queer Latinx poets and artists, which is one I hadn’t considered.  The author is Director of Latina/o Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is writing from the perspective of a literary/art critic.

Personal Annotation:

An annotation should include 1-2 sentences about each of the following:  

  • Summarize the resource
  • Speak to how it connects back to your work
  • Evaluate it (is it reliable? What are the author’s qualifications? Is it introductory writing or written for experts? For amateur photographers or professional?). 

Tatsitsa, Jacob. “Black-and-White Photography in Batcham: From a Golden Age to Decline (1970–1990).” History & Anthropology, vol. 26, no. 4, Oct. 2015, pp. 458–479. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/02757206.2015.1074899.  

This article contains biographical information and information about the works of contemporary black and white photographers from Batcham, West Cameroon. It contains quotes from the artists and examples of their work.  I chose it because I wanted a reference for work outside of the United States, and because the author discusses the article as an archive and I’m interested in exploring archival photography. The article was published in a scholarly journal and the author is a professor at a university in Cameroon. The author includes a lot of citations to support their ideas. 

Annotating an Image:

  • Put the citation first
  • Then write a short paragraph
    • short description of the work and the artist,
    • explanation of how this work is similar/dissimilar to your own,
    • focus on how you might use this work (as comparison to your own, as inspiration for a future direction you might take, to support a certain argument you're making in a paper, etc.)