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This course explores photography as a disciplined way of seeing or investigating urban landscapes, and expressing ideas. Readings, observations, and photographs form the basis of discussions on light, detail, place, poetics, narrative, and how photography can inform design and planning.

Over 11 hours of lectures

8 lectures

Photo Shooting Assignments



Anne Whiston Spirn received a B.A. from Radcliffe College and M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania . Books include The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design, which won the President’s Award of Excellence from the American Society and The Language of Landscape. She is director of the West Philadelphia Landscape Project — integrating teaching, research, and community service — cited as a “Model of Best Practice” at a White House summit in March 1999 for forty leading “Scholars and Artists in Public life.” Spirn has received fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Center, Bunting Institute, California Humanities Research Institute, and NEA. She has been honored by the Philadelphia School District for the Mill Creek Project, a collaboration with inner city teachers and students, and in 2001, she received the prestigious International Cosmos Prize for a lifetime of research contributing to the “harmonious co-existence of nature and mankind.”

Creative Commons License
Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry by Prof. Anne Whiston Spirn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

Course content

  • Lecture 1: Alex MacLean, March 6, 2006

  • Lecture 2: Camilo Jose Vergara, March 13, 2006

  • Lecture 3: Lewis Watts, March 20, 2006

  • Lecture 4: Wendy Ewald, April 3, 2006

  • Lecture 5: Steven Moga, Will Steacy, and Lawrence Vale, April 10, 2006

  • Lecture 6: Martin Krieger, April 24, 2006

  • Lecture 7: Leslie Tuttle, May 1, 2006

  • Lecture 8: Anne Whiston Spirn, May 8, 2006

  • Assignments

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