Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Ryan Patton

Second Advisor

Jonathan Becker

Third Advisor

Sasha Waters Freyer

Fourth Advisor

Olga Ivashkevich

Fifth Advisor

Jesse Senechal


Cameras are a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives, especially in schools, found in students’ smartphones and state-of-the-art surveillance systems. This research project emerged from an iterative redesign process of a Photography for Art Education course, structured around the camera’s dual nature as a tool for creative expression and social control. While cameras have long been used to address social issues through documentary techniques; this critical eye can be turned onto the apparatus itself. This study drew heavily upon the historical work of Allan Sekula (1986), who observed how easier access to cameras resulted in both democratization (for the People) and institutionalization (by the State) of photographic images. This tension between the desire to be seen and the fear of being watched, shaped the heart of the curriculum.

As a pedagogical autoethnography, this study examined how the author’s approach to camera instruction changed over time, through critical reflection. Data sources included course materials, personal artifacts, student perspectives, and historical research on camera-based instruction in the arts and other disciplines. A reflexive thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2021) was used to identify themes in the students’ data, which drove the narrative analysis (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) of the overall class. Organized through three main units of the course — Body, Truth, and Power — each section provided an overview of the themes in students’ projects and reflections on their teaching practice. The study demonstrates how the camera in arts curriculum offers critical pedagogical possibilities beyond learning how to capture, edit, and interpret images.


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Date of Submission


Available for download on Saturday, May 10, 2025