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Seeing and Perceiving the Urban Environment through Photography (55+)

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA    Mondays, October 29 through December 10, 2018, 9:30–11:20 a.m. (no class Nov 12)



Registration opens Wednesday, July 25 at 10 a.m. at the SFU Continuing Studies website


Urban environments comprise some of the most diverse “target-rich” places to make photographs. Whether you take pictures as a hobby, are a serious enthusiast or professional photographer, or are just interested in learning how to read photographs with more insight and informed pleasure, you will improve your photography skills by the end of our discussions.

This course will cover various types of photography in a variety of urban settings—buildings, gardens, streetscapes—and will look at photographic portraits and travel “happy snaps.” You will be introduced to, and will be encouraged to examine, aspects and principles of photography that you may not have thought about before. You will certainly come away with a greater appreciation of photographs as works of art.


Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.


What you will learn

Week 1: How We “See” vs. How a Camera Sees
Our opening lecture will focus on the basics of how people see, how a camera sees, and why enhanced dynamic range photography can be so enticing and fulfilling for both the photographer and viewer. We will explore the topic of “composition” from an architectural perspective.

Week 2: Architectural Photography
Most photographs are comprised of a subject in a setting. Buildings can be both. There are “rules” for photographing buildings and other human-made structures, and knowing them will help make you a better photographer. Mastering the rules will teach you how to “break” them meaningfully.

Week 3: Garden Photography
We will discuss an approach to photographing gardens that is complementary to the urban subjects covered. We will also continue to discuss the importance of “light” in recording or creating the final image.

Week 4: Urban Street, Portrait, and Travel Photography
Street photography is about photographing people in candid situations. In urban portraiture, the subjects are aware of the photographer. Travel photography seeks to capture a “slice of life.” Combining these genres can be magical and will enable you to take your photographs to the next level.

Week 5: Public Realm Photography
The subject of public places in the urban context offers a great opportunity to apply the principles we have discussed thus far. You will have a chance to explore the notion of portraying three-dimensional environments by learning and applying lessons from cinematography.

Week 6: From Pre-Visualization through Re-Visualization
We will explore the process of making a photograph. You will learn how to create “jaw dropping” images that will be the envy of your friends and acquaintances. Selected examples of student photographs will be constructively evaluated and enhanced by the instructor through digital processing.


How you will learn

How you will be evaluated

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class.


Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.



Registration opens Wednesday, July 25 at 10 a.m. at the SFU Continuing Studies website