About this Course
4.7
1,859 ratings
467 reviews
Although taking, sharing, and viewing photographs has become second nature for many of us, our regular engagement with images does not necessarily make us visually literate. This course aims to address the gap between seeing and truly understanding photographs by introducing a diversity of ideas, approaches, and technologies that inform their making. In this course you will look closely at photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art and hear a variety of perspectives on what a photograph is and the ways that photography has been used throughout its nearly 180 year history: as a means of artistic expression, as a tool for science and exploration; as an instrument of documentation; to tell stories and record histories; and as a mode of communication and critique in our ever increasingly visual culture. Learning Objectives • Develop skills to better examine and understand the differences between photographs and photographic images. • Discover how context influences the production, circulation, and reception of photographic images. • Learn about different modes of artistic and technological experimentation and innovation in photography. • Investigate photography’s role in our increasingly visual culture....
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Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Suggested: 6 weeks of study, 1-2 hours/week

Approx. 16 hours to complete
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English

Subtitles: English, Serbian, Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Russian, Spanish

Skills you will gain

PhotographyHistoryArtArt History
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Suggested: 6 weeks of study, 1-2 hours/week

Approx. 16 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Serbian, Chinese (Simplified), Italian, Russian, Spanish

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Introduction to Seeing Through Photographs

“Photography is a foreign language everyone thinks he speaks.” -- Philip-Lorca di Corcia...
Reading
2 videos (Total 5 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video2 videos
1.3 Interview with Marvin Heiferman3m
Reading2 readings
1.1 Introduction10m
1.4 Required Readings & Additional Resources10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Introduction20m

2

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

One Subject, Many Perspectives

Discover photography's roots in both art and science by observing the diverse ways the medium has been used across time to capture a single subject familiar to us all. ...
Reading
7 videos (Total 22 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
2.3 Vernacular & Fine Art Photographs of the Moon3m
2.4 Early Photographs of the Moon: Surface, Scale & Technology2m
2.5 New Perspectives: Man on the Moon2m
2.7 Ansel Adams. Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. 19413m
2.8 Eugène Atget. Pendant l'Eclipse. 19123m
2.9 U.S.G.S. & NASA, Surveyor III. Surface of the Moon, Day 319, W-F. 19671m
Reading3 readings
2.1 Introduction10m
2.6 Slideshow [mobile-friendly version]10m
2.10 Required Readings & Additional Resources10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
One Subject, Many Perspectives20m

3

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Documentary Photography

Explore a variety of approaches to documentary photography, from those that aim to produce objective records to those that critique the reliability of photographs as evidence....
Reading
4 videos (Total 15 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
3.4 Dorothea Lange. Migrant Mother. 19361m
3.5 Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel. Evidence. 19774m
3.6 Susan Meiselas. Carnival Strippers. 1973-755m
Reading3 readings
3.1 Introduction10m
3.3 Slideshow [mobile-friendly version]10m
3.7 Required Readings & Additional Resources10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Documentary Photography20m

4

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Pictures of People

Examine pictures of people—as individuals or as representatives of a type, posed or captured unaware—and discover how the choices made by both photographer and subject inform our assumptions about those depicted....
Reading
6 videos (Total 19 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
4.3 Interview with Katy Grannan3m
4.5 Akram Zaatari. After They Got the Right to Arms. Fourteen young men posing with guns. Early 1970s/20066m
4.6 Frances Benjamin Johnston. The Hampton Album. 1899-19001m
4.7 Tina Barney. Sunday New York Times. 19821m
4.8 Nicholas Nixon. The Brown Sisters. 1975-Present1m
Reading3 readings
4.1 Introduction10m
4.4 Slideshow [mobile-friendly version]10m
4.9 Required Readings & Additional Resources10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Pictures of People20m
4.7
Direction Signs

40%

started a new career after completing these courses
Briefcase

83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top Reviews

By AQMar 9th 2016

Seeing Through Photographs has given me a whole new way of looking at my own and other peoples' work. So many aspects, details and points of view, the world of photography now seems even more amazing.

By VCAug 22nd 2016

I did enjoy these 6 weeks. I found the course very informative.\n\nThere are a lot of rich content , text, images, video that make the class the more interesting.\n\nI really recommend this course.

Instructor

Sarah Meister

Curator
Department of Photography

About The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is a place that fuels creativity, ignites minds, and provides inspiration. With extraordinary exhibitions and the world's finest collection of modern and contemporary art, MoMA is dedicated to the conversation between the past and the present, the established and the experimental. Our mission is helping you understand, enjoy, and use the art of our time....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.