Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion

A black woman standing behind a simple hospital bed. Her arms are outstretched, her eyes are close, and her mouth is open, as if she is screaming.

A young woman in labor with her first child in the maternity unit of St. Terese Hospital, Hinche, Haiti. Hinche is located on Haiti's Central Plateau, the poorest region of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates, and mortality rate in children under five. (Courtesy of B. D. Colen. Used with permission.)


MIT Course Number

21W.749 / CMS.935

As Taught In

Spring 2016



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

In this course, you will be exposed to the work of many great documentary photographers and photojournalists, as well as to writing about the documentary tradition. Further, throughout the term, you will hone your photographic skills and 'eye,' and you will work on a photo documentary project of your own, attempting to reduce a tiny area of the moving world to a set of still images that convey what the viewer needs to know about what you saw—without hearing the sounds, smelling the odors, experiencing what was happening outside the viewfinder, and without seeing the motion.

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Related Content

B. Colen. 21W.749 Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion. Spring 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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