Nothing gets people more excited than things that are free. People also generally like to do things online rather than in-person if the option is available. And judging by the popularity of Instagram, Snapchat and other colossal photo-based social media apps, people love taking and looking at pictures. To that end, New York’s Museum of Modern Art has decided to meld all of these popular ideas together by offering a free, online photography class.
Titled “Seeing Through Photographs,” the six-session course is an educational exercise designed to help students look beyond the surface of a photograph and to really open their eyes to the content of a picture to understand what was captured and what a photo can truly convey. After all, not every selfie is simply just a selfie (allegedly). Available on Coursera, the course is open to the general public and hopes to help people engage with photos on a deeper level and make them “visually literate,” according the course’s description.
The course will also be a study on the themes, technology, equipment, conception and approach of photographers when taking different photos, all of which are important pieces that very much govern and inform the meaning of a given photo. Beyond the six class sessions, the course will include 16 audio slideshows, six short films, four video conversations and visits to actual artists’ studios, encompassing more than 180 years of photography from the archives of MoMA’s collection, all led by Sarah Meister, curator of MoMA’s department of photography.
As a self-paced, online course, students can go through the sessions at their own leisure. But lest you think you’ll only be looking at photos, think again. At the end of each session will be a quiz on what you’ve just learned, and the course itself culminates with a final project. Yep, it’s just like college, except without the thousands of dollars of student loan debt. It’s definitely something to do to broaden your view of photography and to become more cultured, especially if you’ve already exhausted everything in your Netflix queue. Sit back, log on and get schooled for free.