The goal of this dialectic class will be to investigate the fundamental nature of existence. Through lecture material and in-depth, open discussion, we will explore the ideas that a photograph evokes the tangible presence of reality yet functions as a mere substitute of the subject itself, offers a visual commentary on culture, and stands to confirm our sense of existence. We will reference the philosophical concepts of existentialism and phenomenology offered by Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Edmund Husserl. We will study the work of contemporary lens-media artists that address our perception and understanding of the world. Finally, we will critique personal photography work, from the fresh point of view elicited by our discussions, so as to develop and nurture one’s personal belief system and artistic vision.