Tag: Coursera

This is where we meet

This is where we meet

One day, while I was riding on the tram, I noticed the graffiti on the walls of buildings and bridges. I had seen it before but never paid much attention to it. Since I had just moved to Zurich/ Switzerland a couple of months ago I was still mainly focused on the picturesque cityscape and the beautiful nature that surrounds the city. But once I started noticing Street Art and Graffiti, I discovered it all over town. That’s why I decided to use graffiti for my final  Capstone Project for the Coursera Course Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR that I finished last month.

It made me think about the early beginnings of Street Art and how it was a way for the Youth to criticise and provoke society. I did some research and was especially in

spired by Martha Cooper, a photographer who started photographing graffiti in the 80’s. She followed the sprayers on their outings to document what they were doing and to put it in a social and historical context. Street Art  has definitely changed from being an underground subculture into being an established Art Form. For my project I wanted to explore the role of Street Art and Graffiti today by putting it in context with people and the surrounding area. I was especially interested in places with unusual lighting situations and interesting surroundings. 

While exploring different places I noticed that the people I found at the scene were usually unaffected by the Street Art around them. They were going about their business, just passing by or sitting there eating their lunch. Graffiti has become an expected part of cityscapes.

For me this appears almost surreal, as if two different worlds are existing side by side, one of them unaware of the other and the other one screaming to be noticed. But every once in a while a connection is formed and both worlds come together. 

For more photos click here.


Seeing through photographs – Review

Seeing through photographs – Review

I am a big fan of learning new things, so every once in a while I take some classes to broaden my horizon. This time I enrolled in a class called “Seeing through photographs” that I found on the online platform Coursera

“Seeing through photographs” was created by The Museum of Modern Art, better known as MoMA and taught by curator Sarah Meister. Being a photographer myself I was interested in getting some historic background about photography and changing role of it over time. I decided to go for the certificate to get access to the complete learning material. It takes six weeks to finish all the modules in the class. Each module focusses on a different aspect with the goal to make the learner a more critically viewer of photographs. This is achieved by looking at different time periods to see how photography was used and why. The learning material is provided in form of videos (each just a few minutes long) with interviews with curators and photographers that provide inside into their work.  In addition there is a reading list each week with articles and extracts of books as well as references to websites related to the subject. Sometimes it is a lot to read, but you only have to read the marked material to succeed in the  graded quiz at the end of each week. But it does not hurt to look at the other stuff, too. You are allowed to retake the quiz three times every eight hours. If you have done your reading and video watching, you will be fine.

In the end the learner has to write a peer-graded essay to reflect on the course content and to describe how his/ her understanding of photography has changed. He/ she also has to grade the essay of other learners.

Summary: The learning material is diverse, the videos are professionally done and very informative, the reading list is extensive. I have understood the content well enough for my purposes. I even look at my own photographs more critically now to see if I am transporting the content I want to. I enjoyed this class but I would not take the certificate class again. I think the free material would have provided me with the same insights.

More on Coursera: Coursera provides all kinds of classes of various topics including Arts, Personal development, Science, Management, Languages and more. If you are not keen on receiving a certificate in the end you get limited access to the learning material for free. This way you can try it out and see if the subject is something you would be interested in and you will learn something new even without the certificate.