This course explores photography as a disciplined way of seeing, as a research method, a medium of inquiry and of expressing ideas. Readings, observations, and photographs form the basis of discussions on landscape, light, significant detail, place, narrative, and how photography can inform research, design, and planning, among other issues. The class is highly recommended for students who want to employ visual methods in their thesis or dissertation.

Students keep a journal of writings and images throughout the semester and develop a portfolio of photographs that investigate the qualities of a particular place, the processes that shape it, and the systems that sustain it, sequenced as a narrative of images and words. Each student selects a site for the focus of their work in the course. The place may be urban, suburban, or rural; it may be a studio site or place studied in another class. Work is in digital format. Images are projected for class discussion and posted in an online gallery designed and maintained by each student. The final project will be a photo book that conveys the discoveries made in research over the course of the semester as revealed through fieldwork, photographs (single, pairs, and sequences), and writing (journals).

Students must have access to a camera (a cell phone camera is fine). Although this is not a lab class, the course includes an introduction to digital printing and the potential for adjusting contrast, hue, saturation, and other qualities. Prior experience with Adobe Photoshop and web authoring is recommended, but not required.

Class meets on Wednesdays from 2:00-6:00, including occasional discussion and lab sessions from 5:00-6:00. Reviews last for the full class period from 2:00-6:00; students are required to attend the entire review and to participate in the discussion of other students' work.

Enrollment is limited to 12 students. Preference is given to those who attend the first class.

Student work will be evaluated in five ways: class attendance and contribution to discussions, (20% of final grade); a journal, turned in weekly 25%); three shooting assignments (30%); final photo essay, posted in online gallery (25%).

Please refer to MIT's policy on academic integrity. Students with documented disabilities or any other problem that may affect ability to perform in class should see me early in the semester so arrangements may be made for accommodation. For more information on academic accommodation, see MIT's Division of Student Life.