On Photography

Art History

Course Description



Our sensorial world is constantly bombarded by photographic images of all kinds. Why do we feel compelled to exhibit our photos when they will capture viewers’ attention for a few seconds at most? What is the appeal of photography? What makes a “good” photo? Its content, i.e. who or what is shown? The expressive quality of its visual structure, for example, composition, line, combination of colours and tones? Why do “old” photographs have such appeal? What do they say about the past and especially about the present? How do they transform and perhaps distort our memory?

How has photography, originally treated as a tool for painters and drawers, become and remained a major force in contemporary visual art? Has it really contributed to a democratization of art? What kinds of photographic images enter into the conversation proposed by contemporary art in our culture? For example, why did the recent Diane Arbus show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art attract so many visitors?

Participants will be invited to present photographs that are particularly meaningful to them and that reflect the themes that will be explored in this course. The textbook for this course will be On Photography by Susan Sontag. Winner of the National Book Critics’ Award for Criticism, this volume is described by its author as “a progress of essays about the meaning and career of photographs.”

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

  • On Photography by Susan Sontag


Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 16 students and that TMI does not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Tuesday, January 30th, 2024

Course Length: 8 weeks, Tuesdays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Discussion Team: Martin Baenninger, Brian McDonough

Degree Credit: 1.5 credits

Course Fee: 

$135.00 (standard tuition)
$95.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$160.00 (standard tuition)
$120.00 (promotion for new students)

Course fees are refundable in full before the first session. After the first session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the second session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
or email us at info@thomasmore.qc.ca