Ceci n’est pas une photo: Using Surrealism’s Toolbox in Your Photography
© Stefan Frank

Ceci n’est pas une photo: Using Surrealism’s Toolbox in Your Photography

Dates: Wednesdays, Nov 8–Dec 20, 2023
Time: 1–3pm (ET)
Sessions: 6 (No class on Nov 22)
Limited enrollment: 8 students
Fee: $405
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This class is sold out — but email us to join the wait list and we’ll let you know of any openings.

Our understanding of surrealism has become watered down into a set of mainstream clichés: the once-revolutionary images of melting clocks, burning giraffes, and floating rocks of Dali and Magritte are so common that we see them more as design elements on shower curtains and mouse pads than as art. In a series of weekly assignments, we’ll rummage through the surrealist’s toolbox and use key concepts and techniques like chance, juxtaposition, collage, automatism, and l’informe (formlessness) to expand our photographic vocabulary and rekindle the revolutionary spirit of this movement. Taking Rosalind Krauss’s excellent study of surrealism — The Optical Unconscious — as our roadmap, we’ll examine classical examples by Jacques-André Boiffard, Hans Bellmer, Paul Nougé, and others and follow their traces into the works of contemporary artists like John Baldessari, Duane Michals, Lucas Blalock, Cindy Sherman, and others.


Loved Stefan’s class! I really appreciate the mix of hands-on work — a.k.a. making photos — and his more conceptual lectures. For me that is the ideal combination.
—Cristina (Chicago)
This class was really exceptional — Stefan was extremely well-prepared, very thorough and taught with great enthusiasm and care on a university level; great assignments and class critique plus post-class emails. This was on a new level of online learning.
—Lisa (New York City)

Stefan Frank
Stefan Frank

Stefan Frank is a photographer and writer, working from Heidelberg, Germany. Way before he came to photography, he studied mathematics and philosophy at Ruhr Universität Bochum and worked as an IT specialist. He studied at Atelier Smedsby with JH Engström and Margot Wallard in Paris in 2017, before he eventually began studying photography at Ostkreuzschule, Berlin, with Peter Bialobrzeski. He graduated in 2023 with the work Irgendwo (“Anywhere”), a project dealing with politically motivated crime and the terror-spree of the far right in Germany. He has been teaching with StrudelmediaLive since 2020, giving courses on surrealism, poetics of space, gestalt theory for photographers, and more. His work has been exhibited in Heidelberg, Frankfurt, and Berlin.

Stefan teaches the poetics of space, nighttime photography, and much more — including presenting The Photobook Show — for StrudelmediaLive.