Research Output
Why throw the negs out with the bath water?
  Today’s digital age holds so much promise it is easy to dismiss the previous technologies and processes that provided yesterday’s creative opportunities. Photography has been revolutionised by digital capture and transmission in the last decade. This dissertation argues that there is a digital orthodoxy in education, which has democratised and engaged increasing numbers of students, and has had a particular influence in A Level Photography.
Over the last decade many traditional darkrooms have been replaced for computer suites. My concern is that if secondary schools and colleges with the facilities to teach film are forced to convert to a singular digital mode, we may be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Drawing on qualitative and quantative research I have undertaken at The Henley College students make their own defence for a multiplicity of learning opportunities and media that is not limited by any orthodoxy, digital or otherwise. Using the theories of Raymond Williams and Walter Benjamin this research is seen in the historical context of previous changes in cultural modes of reproduction and exposes the paradox of digital communications furthering the growing interest in the older analogue media of film photography.
Schools and colleges need to allow and facilitate an artistic curiosity that does not exclude students who are experiential learners, and those that eschew the digital age who are content with the organic variety of analogue learning that film offers. Nor should it limit the opportunity for hybrid activity that embraces both media.

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  • Date:

    30 June 2012

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  • Library of Congress:

    LB2300 Higher Education

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    778 Fields & kinds of photography


Macdonald, I. (2012). Why throw the negs out with the bath water?. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 31, 191-214.



photography; orthodoxy; digital; analogue; pedagogy;

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