Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Grammar of Photography: A New Course at Pratt

Garry Winogrand

Photographs tell stories. As a writer might use cadence, sentence structure or even the sounds of the words used to help advance the story, photographers use light, shape, and color. But beyond employing general visual principles, photographers have a specific set of problems to solve in order to communicate effectively. This Fall, I will be teaching a course dedicated to providing an analysis of those problems and their potential solutions. 

Based on ideas suggested in two seminal writings on photography, John Szarkowski’s The Photographer’s Eye and Stephen Shore’s The Nature of Photographs, the class will be an investigation of how photographs say what they say. Through regular shooting assignments dealing with the principles of photographic vision and composition, students will have a better sense of how to formulate and strengthen an idea and be better able to translate that idea into the visual form of a photograph.

For some background on the conceptual foundation of the class, please see my post The Grammar of Photography: Learning to See.  We will also spend considerable time with the elements of composition as they pertain to photography.  Photographic Vision: Learning to Compose is a good introduction to thinking about visual structure and the frame.

The Grammar of Photography will be offered at the Manhattan campus of Pratt Continuing and Professional Studies and runs Wednesday evenings for 10 weeks beginning October 2, 2013. To enroll online, go to the Pratt Continuing and Professional Studies main page and click on the link in the left column for CCPS Instant Enrollment. The course name and number are: The Grammar of Photography, PMPH-472-01.


  1. Hi Chris,

    Would it be possible to attend this course if you haven't taken the prerequisites at Pratt? I completed DP2 at ICP in a course you instructed and was interested in the one you have posted.


    1. Hi Mike,

      Yes, Photo 2 at any school will be sufficient.