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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Seeing Through Photographs by The Museum of Modern Art

3,623 ratings
985 reviews

About the Course

Taking, sharing, and viewing photographs has become second nature for many of us. Given our near-constant engagement with images this course will help you dig into the meaning of pictures and reconsider photography’s role in our visual culture. 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 100 photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, going behind the scenes of the Museum and into artist studios through original films and audio interviews. You will hear a variety of perspectives on the ways photography has been used throughout its 180-year history: as a means of artistic expression, a tool for science and exploration, an instrument of documentation, a way to tell stories and record histories, and a mode of communication and critique. Short texts and readings from MoMA publications provide enhanced context for the works in the course. By enrolling in this course, you’ll join a community of international learners in discussion forums, receive invitations to live and virtual events from our lead instructor Sarah Meister, and gain exclusive access to MoMA resources. UPDATE: We’ve been listening to your feedback! In September 2020, we launched new content in Seeing Through Photographs, including audio interviews with additional contemporary artists from around the world, videos of Sarah introducing key ideas, and almost doubling the number of photographs from the collection. We’ve also added opportunities for you to share and receive feedback on your photographs in the discussion forums....

Top reviews

Mar 8, 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.

Dec 25, 2019

This is a really great way to get a beginners academic insight into photography, really interesting video and written content. I learned a lot and enjoyed studying again, thank you MoMA and Coursera!

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51 - 75 of 972 Reviews for Seeing Through Photographs

By Marie-Alice

Aug 20, 2019

This course is an absolutely fascinating introduction to the great questions raised by the medium of photography, how it's perceived and used in our current society. It's wholesome, well-built and grants you access to a great number of thoughtful contents of quality. I'll definitely be coming back to this course to get in touch with the complex ideas that are presented there. It's an invaluable resource for everyone who wants to become more literate in the language of photography.

By Mark B

Aug 5, 2020

Seeing Through Photographs has been a real exploration into the history of photography. The resource material is vast and the accompanying videos full of insight and valuable information to help you along the way. Being able to save notes from the videos to refer back to was a plus. The reading material was well documented and there is a plethora of additional reading and resources available which I would highly recommend. Thank you MoMA for such an enjoyable and rewarding course.

By lucas d

Jan 1, 2020

The insights from professional artists and curators really makes this course a unique experience. I learned a lot about the history of photography and what to pay attention to to decipher photographers' intentions.

I'm learning photography as a hobby and with a secret hope to produce interesting enough narratives to be worth sharing. There is plenty of material covering the technical aspects. This course fills the striking gap about the cultural and societal role of photography.

By Louise D

Feb 6, 2017

The reading material provided on this course for download or to read online is phenomenal. I really appreciated the articles and chapters from books made available. The selection was excellent and was obviously chosen by one of the great experts in the field of photography. The videos made by MOMA are first rate. The photographers selected for study are wide-ranging and well chosen. This is a brilliant course which I am recommending to my camera club here in the UK.

By Rekha J

Jun 13, 2020

Seeing through photography- one of the best courses offered by MOMA. Throughout the course I gathered information on various aspects involved in making of a photograph. Documentary photography and photo journalism was the best part of this course, we get to learn the history of photography which shook the world. I extend my thanks for choosing this course which indepth widened my understandings on the photographer s who dedicated their life and art for social cause.

By Bernadine J

Jun 22, 2020

I really enjoyed the way the curator moved us through aspects of history and concentrated understanding of particular subject matter, it allowed you to learn about influences in that area and consolidate with a bit of reflection/discussion and quizzes which helped when looking back about the writing of a course.

In the future, I would have more confidence to join discussions about this because of the way the course has given me some confidence about my new knowledge.

By Sebastian S

May 21, 2020

Great to get an historical snapshot of photography which then provides context to how photographers have developed their skills and turned, what otherwise would have remained a scientific tool, into an interesting and artistic art form. The course has also provided guidance as to how to explore the many varied ways in which one can compose and curate a series of photos and also give differing context to the original captured image when displayed in differing ways.

By Vinicius d C

Apr 17, 2020

Albeit not an original statement, this course REALLY changed the way I see photographs. There are so many meanings a photograph can assume, from the photographer view and from the observer point of view, that learning to identify all of them brings another level of understanding and the opportunity to choose the lenses you want to apply for viewing pleasure, giving you the freedom to choose the lenses that you see better fit for your own objectives and enjoyment.

By Marguerite V

Jun 21, 2020

I did not know what to expect from Seeing Through Photographs and what I learned was so much more than I had anticipated. I now view photographs with a different set of eyes. What is the narrative of the photograph, its narrative, the artist's point-of-view? I truly enjoyed the learning process. It was a journey of learning about the history of how photography has evolved and what an impact it has on society. It records many different facets of life.

By Marie A

Jul 28, 2020

I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in photography. Its varied learning styles are excellent and are reinforced by a little quiz at the end of each section. The webinars were really interesting and allowed students direct contact with the course organisers. Sarah was amazing and with her team have created something that all major galleries should look at and attempt to duplicate. A big thank you


By Lina

Jun 3, 2020

An amazing course, thank you MoMA and Coursera! Made me look and appreciate photography on a whole new level. When we're being bombarded with so many images on daily basis, taking the time to look back at the history critically, and at the ideas and approaches that have informed photography was really refreshing. Special thanks to Sarah for all of the interactive content and showing us a little snippet of the incredible collection.

By Vikas S

Oct 8, 2020

You cannot get a better course than this on Photography. Do not join if you are looking for help on taking a photograph. Join if you are interested in learning how to appreciate a photograph. There is no other online course equivalent to this course. The course material has been carefully curated and you will have lots of fun through out the course. I had great fun and learnt a lot about history and masters of this fine art

By Federica R

Mar 18, 2020

Una fantastica esperienza. Il corso é strutturato con lezioni modulari, i contributi video e interviste sono molto interessanti. Sono contenta di aver avuto la possibilità di frequentare questo corso online, era quello che ricercavo e mi ha semplicemente entusiasmato. Ascoltare le esperienze dei fotografi proposti dal MOMA arricchisce la mia conoscenza e stimolerá sicuramente la mia creatività. Grazie MOMA! Federica Repetto

By Norman B

Aug 3, 2020

It was one of the best courses I have ever taken! The contents, the structure, the selected material, everything so exciting! The only little (too little) disappointment is that the Final Project is corrected by peers, so I wonder how big the effort for a quality project hast to be, one only some standard parameters are taken in consideration.

But honestly, I did not want it to end. It would be great a Part 2!


By Maya K

May 20, 2020

I really enjoyed following this course and I learned a lot about understanding photography. The videos and the written content are all very interesting and bring out different perspectives.

Also Sarah Meister is a great curator that keeps in touch with the community via mail to inform about new events or resources to read from the MoMa besides the ones available in the course which is really appreciable.

By Ev O

Jun 1, 2020

Incredibly informative with very helpful videos. Caters to multiple methods of learning and inspires those who take the course. Well fleshed out, the readings are amazing and in depth. They incorporate them into the quizes well and broaden your understanding. The accompanying zoom meetings and artists talks were an even nicer way to get a broader understanding and learn that beyond the course teachings.

By Dee B

Jul 27, 2020

I really enjoyed this course. The content was engaging and the videos and interviews really brought it to life and put faces to famous names in contemporary photography. I found the course both accessible and challenging. It was also wonderful to get exposure to work by some photographers I hadn't encountered before and to learn about photography's evolution as an art from from an American perspective.

By Bradley B

Jun 29, 2020

This course was extremely challenging. Not only has it opened my eyes "pun intended" to seeing photography in a whole new way, but it has also given me the insight and the knowledge base to critically examine my work and also that of others with the view to developing my analytical eye when it comes to photography. I no longer just see photography but now I see the story and intent behind the mage.

By Teresa I J M

Jun 22, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I have no background in the study of art history or of photography, but found the course engaging and easy to follow. The short videos and interviews were fascinating, and the course brought me into contact with the work of a range of photographers with diverse and inspiring visions of the world. It will certainly change the way I look at photography in the future.

By William K V

Sep 22, 2020

The content Sarah Meister and the MoMA staff put in to this course is amazing. So many resourses, I am sure I will refer back to some of the links, readings, and my notes for some time to come. The course took me back to the energy I felt while studying photography at Arizona State University back in the 80's. Thankful I found the course, well worth the time, a great return on the investment.

By Iris D

Jun 9, 2020

I took this course while in lockdown from COVID-19. I expected something superficial, lightly entertaining, a survey of modern photographs that would barely skim the edges. What I found was the polar opposite: an thoroughly engaging, detailed and engrossing analysis of modern photography. I already knew a little about photography but this course added so much to my knowledge. Highly recommended.

By flavio o

May 25, 2020

Another way to look at photographs, to better understand their techniques, to reflect on the context in which they are represented and again to understand the role of the single photograph when it is part of a collection. An interesting journey from the origins, from the birth of this art to the present day, explained in a simple and captivating way and with lots of ideas and in-depth material.

By Andrea L

May 22, 2020

It was a really interesting course for the way and the type of topics exposed. I found the vision proposed by many photographers in American history really exciting. The most iconic of all in my opinion was Dorothea Lange with her memorable and immortal work Migrant Mother. I hope that in the future the moms can offer other photography courses.Thank you for the opportunity FondlyAndrea Liguori

By Anthony T

May 28, 2020

A highly informative course that took me through the history of photography and what the in-depth meanings behind images. It offered me a wide-ranging view of where photography has been and has left me excited to see where it is going. With this newfound appreciation and education in my field, I feel much more confident in what I'm shooting and enlightened by what I'm capable of seeing.

By Francesca S

Dec 8, 2017

Thanks to a great institution like Moma, everyone in the world can have access at a wide range of material and contents about photography. This is a real museum for me: an institution that gives the possibility to everybody to have access to culture, using the most innovative ways to reach the biggest number of people which is possible and to create high quality contents.