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The first courses of Introduction to Photography happen in 1973 and are taught by the teams João d’Almeida/Manuel Silveira Ramos, Alice Gentil Martins/Maria do Carmo Galvão Teles and Luiz Vilaça/Reinaldo Viegas. In 1976, Photography is already an autonomous department, directed by Manuel Silveira Ramos, who will maintain these functions until 2007. The department consolidates itself in the 1980’s: there is an intense programming of events to complement training, with conferences, international traineeships and exhibitions showing both the work of students, guest photographers and historical authors. Ar.Co’s program becomes the leading Photography course in Portugal, responsible for the training of the majority of artist-photographers in the country. It also trains a large quantity of professionals that stand out in publicity and fashion photography, photojournalism (the journals “O Independente” in the 1980’s, “Expresso” and “Público”), conservation work and photographic post-production, not to mention in teaching, namely in high education. In the early 1980’s the program is extended into 2 years of training, considered by the school to be the minimum duration for a generic and basic training course in photography. So as to correspond to the ever more necessary and demanding areas of technical specialization in this domain, the department opens in 1989/90 a complementary one-year course called Applied Photography. Three tears later (1992/1993) the curriculum is reformulated and Applied Photography is replaced by the Advanced Course in Photography. The change of designation also signifies a conscious and explicit inflexion towards a training that becomes more centred in the creative and artistic possibilities of photography. The Advanced Course in Photography also becomes a 2 year duration unit in 1995/96. In 1997 there are further reforms and a new year-long course is created – Applied Photography and Projects (Level 4 in the full program) – conceived as a complement to the 2 years of basic training and a preparation step for the Advanced Course in Photography. Having hosted almost half of the student body in Ar.Co, the department of photography registers, by itself, around 350 students in the 1990’s. Its pedagogical philosophy is based, since the beginning, on an open and comprehensive view of photography, taking into account, in a positive way, the diversity of genres and attitudes within the culture of photography. Refusing any kind of rigid structure in its curriculum and pedagogy, the department invests in dynamic and case by case procedures of teaching and learning. The result is a constant questioning and redesigning of contents and pedagogical methods, accompanying the social contexts as well as the interests and needs of students. The development of the programs is based in three key ideas: Learning by making, favouring practical experience along with its aesthetic and ontological reflectiveness; favouring the context of the project, promoting in this way the individual qualities and circumstances of the students; valuing a demanding control of processes, concepts and tools of photography, envisaging technical proficiency, independently of the genres and socio-professional areas that are eventually preferred by the students. In terms of the pedagogical team, Sérgio Mah becomes responsible for the department in the school year 2007/2008 and José Soudo remains (since the 1980’s) “resident-teacher”, responsible for the management of technical, logistical and organisational issues. Various areas of expertise are represented in the pedagogical teams by recognised professionals: Manuel Silveira Ramos and Gonçalo Salema (photographic techniques and lighting), João Paulo Serafim, António Júlio Duarte, José Luís Neto, Pedro Tropa and Daniel Malhão (art photography), Cláudio Melo (digital post-production), Sérgio Mah, Delfim Sardo, Nuno Faria, Bruno Marchand and Emília Tavares (curatorship). Also relevant, throughout the history of the department, is the role of guest teachers, among which we find names such as Gérard Castello Lopes, Michael Langford, Augusto Alves da Silva, Paulo Nozolino, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Lynne Cohen, Patrick Faigenbaum, Jorge Molder, Margarida Medeiros, João Tabarra, Daniel Blaufuks and Paulo Catrica. Since the early 1990’s the department has benefited from the strategic interchange program promoted by the school, either through the sending of Ar.Co’s students and ex-students to international schools (Art Institute of Chicago; School of Visual Arts, New York; Royal College of Art, London;  Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam) or through the hosting of foreign students to integrate, usually for one semester, the Advanced Course in Photography. It is also important to highlight the partnerships established with other entities: the Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias da UNL -Universidade Nova de Lisboa (School of Sciences and Technologies of UNL, where Ar.Co was responsible for a curricular unit within the Degree of Restauration and Conservation), the School of Architecture from the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa and the Ordem dos Arquitectos. The successive stages of the development of the programs would not have been possible without the sustained support (and specifically to the department) of entities such as Kodak (through the donation of equipment and consumables and the financing of scholarships during the 1980’s and 1990’s) and BES (who has invested in the department’s digital technologies). In March 2017 Sérgio Mah ceases functions as head of department and is substituted, in April of the same year, by Pedro Tropa. 

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    Exhibition "Oficina de Fotografia Batalha 83". Batalha Monastery, 1983.

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    Poster announcing the exhibition and launching of book "New York Rhapsody" by Guta de Carvalho. Ar.Co, 1983.

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    Metting with Gérard Castello Lopes, Ar.Co, Lisbon, 1995.

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    Announcement sheet for exhibition of work produced in workshop with Luís Pavão. Ar.Co, Lisbon, 2009.

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    Conference by Michael Langford (head of Photography at the Royal College of Art), Ar.Co, Lisbon, 1992.

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    Autumn Show/Open Studio 2014, Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada. Photographs by Nuno Venâncio.

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    Polaroid Photography Workshop with Jorge Guerra, Ar.Co, Lisbon, 1997.

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    Exhibition "Flash Back - 25 years of Photography at Ar.Co". Arquivo Fotográfico Municipal de Lisboa and Galeria Municipal da Mitra, Lisbon, 1998. View of Galeria Municipal da Mitra.

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    Ar.Co's stand at the Student Forum, Lisbon, 1996 - Photographing President Jorge Sampaio.

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    Advanced Course in Photography class with Manuel Silveira Ramos, Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada. 2006

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    Workshop "Ambrotypes" with Luís Pavão, 2010.

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    Workshop with Francisco Tropa "Positive is the negative - sequences for an image" for the Advanced Course in Photography. Ar.Co Almada, 2015. Work by Vanessa Paulo.

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    Workshop with Francisco Tropa "Positive is the negative - sequences for an image" for the Advanced Course in Photography. Ar.Co Almada, 2015. Image: Pedro