Not content with banning selfie sticks, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is bringing visual literacy to the masses via its first foray into the world of MOOCs (aka “massive open online courses”).
Curator Sarah Meister will be drawing on MoMA’s expansive photography collection for the free 6-session, self-paced Seeing Through Photographs class on Coursera.
You won’t learn how to make duck lips in a mirror, but by the course's end, you should be able to cast a critical eye, with a new appreciation for the “diverse ideas, approaches, and technologies" that inform a photograph's making.
The first week’s assignments include a video interview with Marvin Heiferman, author of Photography Changes Everything, below. Yes, there will be a quiz.
Expect assigned readings from John Szarkowski’s Introduction to The Photographer’s Eye, and MoMA’s Chief Curator of Photography, Quentin Bajac.
There’s a lot of ground to cover, obviously. Meister has lined up quite a hit parade: Ansel Adams, NASA’s moon photography, Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother,” Susan Meiselas’ “Carnival Strippers” project, Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills,” and Nicholas Nixon’s 40-year documentation of the Brown sisters.
Prove your knowledge at the end of the six weeks with a final 30-minute project in which you’ll select an image that would be a good addition to one of the course’s themes, below:
Seeing Through Photographs
One Subject, Many Perspectives
Pictures of People
Constructing Narratives and Challenging Histories
Ocean of Images: Photography and Contemporary Culture
Enroll in this fascinating free course here.
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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday