ARTS 3790 Phone It In: Mobile Imaging and the Connected World

Still looking for an Art class for fall semester? We asked Associate Professor Paul Shambroom to tell us about a relatively new class he's teaching called, "Phone It In: Mobile Imaging and the Connected World." The course, which has no pre-requisites, will be taught in a semi-synchronous online format on Mondays and Wednesdays 9:05AM - 11:35AM starting Wednesday, September 8, 2021. As he has said, "This is not your grandparents' photo class (although it is open to all generations.)" 

What about "Phone It In" speaks to the times we're living in?

It could hardly be more relevant. Photography today IS largely cell phone photography--85% of all photos are taken with these devices (as of 2017- probably higher today.) And this tech is at the heart of social justice and political movements, our social lives, everything really. The murder of George Floyd reverberated around the world because a brave 17-year old (Darnella Frazier) recorded it with her phone. Insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th live-streamed their actions, and are now being tracked down through facial recognition of social media images.

 magnified image with glitter of an old photograph of 2 young people in a forest

What do students enjoy the most about the class?

The guest speakers, readings and discussions on topics like race, ethics, and selfies are really engaging. This is also very much a “making” class--students rise to the challenge of taking mobile imaging seriously as an art and communication form.

Woman with dark brown hair wearing red lipstick in a bathtub submerged in red water covering half her face.

Who are some of your favorite people working in this medium?

There are so many--mobile imaging is generating a lot of heat right now because it crosses boundaries between art, activitism, journalism, and utility. Activist Patience Zalanga and photojournalist Brandon Bell were class visitors (last year) and had a great discussion contrasting their approaches to photographing the uprising in Minneapolis last summer. In the art realm, established photographers such as Stephen Shore, Cindy Sherman and Catherine Opie have embraced mobile photography. Penelope Umbrico and Erik Kessels are doing provocative work repurposing found images from social media.

Class starts September 8, 2021. Guest students welcome! (Visit for guest student registration policies & info.)

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