My summary of the course material is:

Part 1 – Portraits were once luxuries but are now commonplace. Opinions differ on what (if anything) portraits reveal of the subject. Photographers tend to work within (sometimes multiple) typographies. The study and plundering of archives is sometimes interesting.

Part 2 – A single portrait can only deliver a partial version of the subject and no portrait can see beyond the surface.

Part 3 – Szarkowski’s Mirror/Window dichotomy — look at me vs. look at how I see the world. Two uses of gaze — descriptive and polemic.

Part 4 – The addition of text may seek to direct or to liberate the viewers’ interpretations. Projects can use other people’s narratives, written or verbal. Serial imagery can derive from coherent, fictional mental or textual constructs.

Part 5 – People in a photograph can be a distraction. We examine photographs (mostly) without bodies from large scale architecture, through details, to still lifes.

My personal reaction is that I found photographing people far more rewarding than I expected and my projects my successful than I expected. That said, I am unlikely to photograph many portraits in the future (although I would be happy to if invited) as my lifestyle and mobility (or lack of it) are better suited to the inanimate.