One thing that still amazes me in photography, is that such a seemingly straightforward tool as a camera can bring about so many different forms of expression, can be a research tool to answer or pose so many questions and can result in endless combinations between motives, techniques and visual results.
When, for some reason, you have forgotten about this endless variety of possibilities in photography, let me remind you by pointing you to some photography tv series. Head over to the following websites, crawl under a blanket and fill those last wintery nights (and binge-watching Sundays) with hours of great photography content, so you can start the spring with lots of new inspiration
The Genius of Photography
What: TV series that highlights the history and present of photography in six episodes (each one focusing on a different theme). The TV series aired on BBC Four in 2007.
Official description: “In the course of our 170 year relationship, photography has delighted us, served us, moved us, outraged us and occasionally disappointed us. But mainly, it has intrigued us by showing the secret strangeness that lies beneath the world of appearances. And that is photography’s true genius. Follow the story of photography in BBC Four’s six-part series ‘The Genius of Photography’. See some of the most famous photographs ever taken and find out more about what made them so very special.”
What: When I first started taking photography courses, we’d occasionally watch one of these contact videos in class. It was a great way to introduce us to some important names in photography, as well as learn about their ways of thinking, seeing, photographing. Every episode highlights photographs of one photographer, while the photographer him/herself narrates about his/her way of working. Very intriguing to get this kind of behind-the-photograph information from these well-known photographers!
Official description: “The Contacts collection is an invitation to discover the artistic approach of the greatest contemporary photographers from an original angle. Through a series of images (contact sheets, proofs, prints and slides), with a commentary by the photographer, the viewer enters the secret world of their creation and is guided into the heart of the photographic creative process.”
Seeing through photographs (MoMA online course)
What: Technically not a TV series, but instead a series of online classes, organized by the Museum of Modern Art on the coursera (online courses) platform. This course includes online material for 6 weeks of study (1-2 hours/week). There are videos, interviews, slideshows, additional readings and short quizzes. You can work through it at your own tempo. Best of all, it’s free (you only pay if you’d like to receive the official certificate).
Official description: “Although taking, sharing, and viewing photographs has become second nature for many of us, our regular engagement with images does not necessarily make us visually literate. This course aims to address the gap between seeing and truly understanding photographs by introducing a diversity of ideas, approaches, and technologies that inform their making. In this course you will look closely at photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art and hear a variety of perspectives on what a photograph is and the ways that photography has been used throughout its nearly 180 year history: as a means of artistic expression, as a tool for science and exploration; as an instrument of documentation; to tell stories and record histories; and as a mode of communication and critique in our ever increasingly visual culture.”
Enjoy! Other recommendations for online photography documentaries or series are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org