Typo-Photo: Experimenting with Photography in Graphic Design

This is an abstract for a class I will be teaching this summer at VCU. This is a topic I have been deeply interested in, and I think others will be too. Photography and “typo-photo” has been a part of my work for quite a while, and this class will be a great way for a bunch of us to come together and experiment with these ideas.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy coined the term “typo-photo” in 1925 to mean “the synthesis between typography and photography.” This experimental workshop will explore ways to integrate the camera and photographic image-making into your design process to create engaging and unique objects of graphic design. We will look at examples of historical and contemporary uses of typo-photo, staged photography and expressive typography. We will learn techniques for working with your images and integrating them into your design work. We will spend the majority of the semester using the camera to experiment with new design processes and discover alternative ways of working with type and image. Lectures about relevant topics and demonstrations of technical processes will occur throughout the semester. Prerequisites: A basic knowledge of photography. A computer (or access to a computer) with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. Access to at least one good quality digital camera (D-SLR), although you may choose to experiment with low-quality digital and film cameras such as webcams, cell-phone cams, Holga, Lomo and pinhole cameras, and tangential equipment like scanners and projectors.

I have set up a microsite for the class here.