Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type



Art & Art History


The prominence of photography has grown to its popular inescapable presence in modern society due to the exponential developments in technology and evolution of the culture in which it exists. However, through all the changes the medium has undertaken, several surrounding concepts have prevailed the test of time, if not expanded with age, and still remain relevant today posing questions about the juxtaposing ideas within photography. Contradictory ideas affiliated with the understanding of accompanying text, division of conformity versus individuality, transitions between the public and private realms, contrasts between original image intent and contemporary interpretation, and the troubling characteristics associated with memory have plagued photography from its origins and grown with its advancement. Despite their exceedingly influential impact on viewers’ evaluation of images, these topics typically linger stealthily in the general audiences’ subconscious and frequently pass unnoticed. Nevertheless, through the careful analysis of the University of Colorado’s Ira Wolff Collection, the remarkable significance of the contradictory concepts within photography is evident by their presence in every photograph and, therefore, should always be considered in the interpretation of every image.