11.309J | Fall 2012 | Graduate

Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry


Course Meeting Times

Sessions: 1 session / week, 4 hours / session

Labs: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session

Course Overview

This course explores photography as a disciplined way of seeing, exploring landscapes, and expressing ideas. Readings, observations, and photographs will form the basis of discussions on landscape, light, significant detail, place, poetics, narrative, and how photography can inform design and planning, among other issues.

Students keep a journal of writings and images throughout the semester and develop a portfolio of photographs that explore the qualities of a particular place, sequenced as a web of narratives. Each student selects a site for the focus of their work in the course. The place may be anywhere in the Boston region—urban, suburban, or rural; it may be a studio site or place studied in another course. Work is in color slide film or digital format. Images are projected for class discussion and posted in an online gallery designed and maintained by each student. Late projects will receive a reduction in grade, and there will be no extensions without prior written consent.

Students must have a rudimentary understanding of photography and have access to a camera. Although this is not a lab course, the course includes an introduction to digital printing and its potential for adjusting contrast, hue, saturation, and other qualities. Prior experience with Adobe® Photoshop® and web authoring is recommended, but not required.

Class sessions are held regularly with occasional lab sessions. Reviews of assignments last for the full class period, and students are required to attend the entire review and to participate in the discussion of other students’ work.


Class Attendance and Discussions 20%
Weekly Journal (submitted via email) 20%
Three Shooting Assignments (due in class) 30%
Final Photo Essay (posted online) 30%

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2012
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Written Assignments with Examples