Seeing Through Photographs



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.

Summary of the syllabus

Introduction to Seeing Through Photographs, One Subject; Many Perspectives, Documents & the Documentary, One and another, Constructing narratives; challenging histories, Pictures of people, Ocean of images.

Skills you will gain

Photography, Art, History, Museums, Art History.

Meet the instructor

  • Sarah Meister-  Curator, Department of Photography

Where the course will be

The course is offered by MoMA through Coursera and is available on the Coursera website. Click the enroll button below for more information.

Seeing Through Photographs The Witty Poet