Photos at Zoom

  • Henry Wessel Jr, Santa Barbara California, from "The New California Views" portfolio, 1977
  • Harry Callahan, Eleanor, 1947
  • Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled #2451, 1990
  • Sandy Skoglund, Ferns, 1980
  • Dawoud Bey, The Birmingham Project: Don Sledge and Moses Austin, 2012
  • Barbara Kasten, Architectural Site #17, The High Museum, 1988

While our recurring series Photos at Noon has been put on hold until the museum reopens, we are thrilled to introduce our new online photography course: Photos at Zoom! Every week, Photos at Zoom will explore different topics relating to photography. Read on for more resources, recordings of past sessions, pdf guides to images discussed, and more.

 Week 1: Fundamentals of Photography

Let’s start with the basics! In this discussion, we will analyze artworks that demonstrate a range of techniques including use of vantage point, framing, lighting, and depth of field. This selection will also introduce viewers to a variety of traditions, including portraiture and street photography. Join us online as we dig into some of the fundamental principles artists employ to create their images with works by Harry Callahan, Roy DeCarava, Clarissa Bonet, and Berenice Abbott, among others.

Additional resources: 

Week 2: Photographing the Domestic

For this week, we will discuss works artists have made inside their homes  and intimate spaces as well as of family members and friends. We will build on topics discussed in Week 1 to introduce documentary and conceptual approaches in personal storytelling. Select artists featured include LaToya Ruby Frazier, Kelli Connell, Carrie Mae Weems, Cecil McDonald, and Melissa Pinney.

Event details
Watch video recording

Week 3: Landscape and Place

Now bring your camera outside! This print viewing addresses various approaches to the genre of landscape photography from the late-19th Century to the present. We will discuss the numerous ways photographers have imaged the land, its use, and its place within the popular imagination. Select artists featured include William Henry Jackson, Marilyn Bridges, Henry Wessel, Jr., and Barbara Diener.

Event details 
Watch video recording (link to come)
Additional resources (links to come)

Week 4: Color Theory

How does the use of color change the way people see your photographs? This session will focus on the fundamentals of color theory and how factors such as time of day, light source, and composition impacts the viewer's perception of color in images. Artists discussed include William Eggleston, Barbara Kasten, William Christenberry, Stephen Shore, Hyers + Mebane, and more.

Event details 
Watch video recording (link to come)
Additional resources (links to come)

Week 5: Constructed and Staged Images

What can you build within your home to photograph? The sky is the limit. This session introduces artists who create narratives by carefully composing their settings, altering photographs, or going to more elaborate ends to construct images based in imagination rather than a record of “real” events.  Techniques vary, including handmade montage, collage, and stitching together multiple images in the darkroom or digitally.  Artists discussed include Jennifer Greenberg, Cindy Sherman, Sandy Skoglund, Mary Sibande, Cortis + Sonderegger, and more.

Event details 
Watch video recording (link to come)
Additional resources (links to come)

Week 6: Portraiture and the Human Subject

This session introduces works by historical and contemporary photographers who depict the human subject and where visual information such as setting, clothing, body language, and facial expression speak to the identity of their subjects. Artists discussed include Edward Steichen, Dawoud Bey, Julia Margaret Cameron, Myra Greene, Natalie Krick, Shizuka Yokomizo, and more.

Event details 
Watch video recording (link to come)
Additional resources (links to come)


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Museum of Contemporary Photography

at Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 663-5554

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  • Monday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thursday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Saturday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sunday: 12:00-5:00 pm

The MoCP is CLOSED when Columbia College Chicago is closed, including all major holidays. The MoCP is also closed between exhibitions for installation. Be sure to check our homepage before your visit.

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