Online Photography History Course course at Sessions College

Online Photography History Course

1.5 credits

PHO 104: History of Photography

Explore the evolution of photography in your work

When photography was "invented" in 1839, the scientific breakthrough brought forth a new way of seeing. In this online photography history course, we'll trace the development of photography from its pioneering days in the 19th century to the experimental movements of today. We'll discuss major innovations and photographers in each period, and really put into practice what we're learning. Each exercise will require you to take photos that emulate historical styles, genres, or techniques.

Smile! And get ready to explore the history of photography.

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 1.5 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Felicia Kieselhorst

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. The Origins of Photography

      How did photography come about, and how did the evolution of the camera affect the kinds of images that were taken? We'll kick off our course with an investigation of the origins of photography, examining the techniques used to create the first photographs and discussing some important movements in early photography.

    2. The Consumer Age of Photography

      In this lesson, we'll discuss the coming of age of photography in the 20th century. As we'll see, the invention of roll film and later color processes by a little company called Kodak turned photography on its head, accelerating the growing popularity of the medium. We'll also explore some new genres of photography that became more important in the 20th century ranging from scientific experiments, war and news photography, to street photography.

    3. The Modern Age of Photography

      In our final lesson, we'll look at the modern age of photography, with an emphasis on experimentation and digital photography. In the 20th century, photographers grew tired of recording images with the aim of exact fidelity to the truth, and artists combined existing technology (such as X-rays, copy machines, and screen printing) with photography.

Sample Student Work

Robin Imse portraits by Robin Imse

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

A series of creative photography projects will challenge you to explore the concepts and techniques in early, consumer age, and modern photography.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Access to a digital camera with manual control over ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and White Balance, that allows for shooting in RAW format.
  • MS Word or equivalent word processing program.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Apply an understanding of early photography styles and processes in your photography.
  • Emulate historical approaches or techniques in your photo shoots.
  • Apply an understanding of consumer age photography genres in your photography.
  • Emulate selected consumer age genres in the style, subject, or technique used in your images.
  • Apply an understanding of selected modern or experimental photography styles or techniques in your photography.
  • Emulate selected modern or experimental photography styles or techniques in your images.
  • Discuss the factors shaping the future of photography and formulate a plan to distinguish yourself in the field.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 1.5 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $965

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

PD: Course Registration

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed as part of a 15-week term in 8 weeks. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).