Ambiguity and the New Subjectivity

How do photographers and artists investigate subjectivity in image-making in the post-internet landscape?


What does it now mean to commit to an image making practice with vulnerability, honesty, and integrity? What is the potential role of analogue processes in a digitised world?

By questioning and engaging with the limitations of photography, this course invites students to engage in a critical awareness of their own practice within and beyond the medium. Students will be invited to complete a short project or even a single image.

The course will be co-taught by the photographers Dorje de Burgh and Ronan McCall and will alternate between critique and technique.

Each lecture will be available for 48 hours after the live presentation, to accommodate people who sign up but live in different time zones, or cannot attend in person.

Weeks One and Two: Dorje will introduce students to his own practice and interrogations. Each student will discuss a beginning point of a theoretical framework for their own work and practice. From these conversations, each student will develop a strategy for completing a small body of work.

Weeks Three and Four: Ronan will help students develop visual and presentation strategies and technical skills for implementing their vision.

Week Five: Presentation and seminar critique with Dorje and Ronan. We will feature exceptional projects on our website and Instagram.

Table of contents:
The photograph in the contemporary world
Research strategies / theoretical frameworks
Analogue vs digital
Identifying your practice / situating your work
Editing / sequencing

Why use analogue technique
Choosing the right camera to achieve the look you want
Correct use of filters
Introduction to zone system
Using light meters correctly
Negative development for BW
An introduction to hand printing
Correct print analysis
Lighting for analogue (flash vs continuous)

What’s in it for you?

You will gain an in-depth introduction to building your own individual creative photographic practice, including research strategies, theoretical framework, technical guidance and where to best situate your work in the contemporary landscape.

Open to All

This course is open to anyone interested in learning about photographs in a critical or fine art context. An interest or aspiration to work with analogue processes is preferable but not a requirement.

Especially intriguing… a rich, novelistic -or filmic – texture.

Hugh Linehan, The Irish Times

A work of mourning, loss and memory… a sort of imaginative, open-ended and unresolved link between the past and the present.

Justin Carville, Visual Artists Ireland


Dream the End
Dorje de Burgh
Mermaid Arts Center

Length of Course

5 Weeks, 3 Hours per week

Date and Times

Dates: W: Nov 18th, 2020 – Dec 16th, 2020
Time: 6.30 to 9.00pm GMT (1.30 to 4.00pm EST)


No prior experience necessary but interest in anlogue practices encouraged.


Dorje de Burgh and Ronan McCall


Dorje de Burgh
Ronan McCall

Dorje de Burgh holds a BA (Hons) degree in Photography from DLIADT and an MA (Hons) in Art in the Contemporary World from NCAD. His work has been exhibited extensively in Ireland and abroad, and he is currently a nominated member of the FUTURES European mentorship program, artist-in-residence at The Darkroom, Dublin, a recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award 2020, and a recent nominee for Creative Ireland and Dublin City Council Artists’ Diversity Commission.

Ronan McCall is an Irish photographer from Dublin, based on the Aran Islands. He is currently working remotely on two publications of his personal work, the first being a long term documentary project focusing on circus & carnivals across Europe, and the second a re-imagination of non-fiction imagery through a science fiction lens. In 2010 he opened a non-profit project space in Dublin called Severed Head, working with internationally acclaimed photographers, and he has also served as a juror on the PhotoIreland festival main exhibition panel. In 2013 he moved to the US, pursuing a successful career in fashion and advertising, working between New York, London and Europe. His own photographic practice is rooted in analogue technique & philosophy. He has his own colour & black & white darkroom, processing & printing all his own work.

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.

— Joan Miro

Why Take This Class

Students will benefit in the following ways


Research Strategies
Theoretical Framework
Technical Guidance
Analog Instruction
Online Convenience
Live Classes


Aspiring Artists
People Interested in Analog Photo
Seeking Direction