A Brief History of Photography | Newberry

A Brief History of Photography

Led by Margaret Farr. Six sessions, 2 - 4 pm.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Thursdays, February 15 - March 22

2 - 4 pm

Online registration is closed. Call (312) 255-3700 to register.

Cost and Registration Information

Early Registration Price (January 9 at 10 am – January 26 at 4 pm): $210
Regular Registration Price (January 26 at 4 pm – first day of class): $231

Members, seniors, and students get a 10% discount.

Online registration is closed, but you can still register by phone. Please call (312) 255-3700 to do so.

Excuse our dust!

Beginning January 2018 the Newberry will be undertaking renovation of much of the first floor. The Adult Education Seminars Program will still have use of the basement classrooms, but please check this link frequently for the latest conditions - which exterior doors are open or closed, where to find an accessible entrance, which restrooms are available, etc.

Because of the renovation, the Newberry Bookstore will be closed during the Winter/Spring and Summer 2018 terms. As such, seminar participants will be responsible for acquiring all required texts for their seminars on their own. We apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding. We have put together a list of helpful resources that should make it easy to find the books you need.

Seminar Description

Photographs permeate our lives, from cellphone pictures to photojournalism to art photography. Discover the history of photography as an art form in this seminar surveying the medium from its beginnings in 1839 to the present. Though first championed for its documentary qualities, photography soon drew the attention of artists who realized its potential. We examine how artists have used photography as a vehicle for self-expression, social critique, and formal experimentation. Six sessions.

Margaret Farr is an independent art historian with a PhD in art history, specializing in art from 1800 to the present. She has worked at the Art Institute of Chicago for over 18 years and has also taught at several colleges and universities.

Materials List


  • Susan Sontag,On Photography. Picador/Macmillan, 2001. ISBN#: 978-0312420093

First Reading:

  • For the first class, please read Chapter 1 (pp. 3-24) -“In Plato’s Cave”- of Susan Sontag, On Photography.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about our registration procedures.