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Focus: Sensing Place

Photography as Inquiry

Discovering Stories of Place

Places speak. They declare their origins. They assert their identity and proclaim values. They allude to art, literature, and politics. They embody stories.

Kate Dineen, Craigville Village, 2009.

Click image above to view slideshow.

Discovering and portraying the stories of place is the subject of “Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry,” a class that I teach at MIT. During the course of the semester, each student chooses a site and keeps a journal of writings and images. Through a series of assignments on light, significant detail, poetics, and landscape narrative, each photographer explores the chosen site, seeking to discover what makes it particular, what stories it holds, and how those stories can be told.

The selected photographs displayed here are the work of students in the class. These images provide a glimpse of larger stories of place, which are told by each photographer in an online essay of pictures and words. Click on each credit below to link to the student's essay. The syllabus, assignment descriptions, and all student work from 2000-2011 can be seen on the course website:

Kate Dineen, Craigville Village, 2009.
Gordon Hansen, Lincoln, 2008
Salomé Francpourmoi, Neighbors of the Salvation Army (Central Square), 2009
Marium Gul, The New England Holocaust Memorial, 2009
Charlie Byrd Hagen-Cazes, Z Garden (MIT), 2008.
Sawako Kajima, Harvard Bridge, 2003.
Nancy Kim, Green Grey (Boston Ice Storage Company), 2010.
Ethan Lacy, The Charles River, 2009.
Alexa Mills, Newbury Street, 2009.
James Moore, The Borderland: Between Southie and the Seaport, 2009.
Morgan Pinney, 20 Marney Street, 2008.
Mishayla Greist Schmidt, Pika 69 (Fort Washington Park), 2009.
Susanna Saylor, Alewife, 2008.
Buck Sleeper, Flip (Fort Point), 2009.
Laurie Tamis. East Boston, 2008.
Julia Watson, South Boston, 2007.