A hazy, dark view of the Hot Metal Bridge over a river with smokestacks in the background.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, View of Hot Metal Bridge and mill smoke stacks on Monongahela River (detail), c. 1935–1950, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund

Crash Course: Photography and the City

CMOA Theater

$75 (Members: $66, Students: $45)


Former CMOA Curator of Photography Linda Benedict-Jones shares her vast knowledge about photography!

Just as Claude Monet and his contemporaries used their paintbrushes to depict the atmospheric conditions of industry, photographers were captivated by the bustling complexity of the modern city. This two-part class will focus on the nature of this fascination, beginning as early as 1839 with Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre in France and William Henry Fox Talbot in England, and continuing through present day.

Many 20th-century image-makers—including Eugène Atget, Alfred Stieglitz, Margaret Bourke-White, Charles “Teenie” Harris, and others—found beauty in the structure and details of city centers. Less well-known photographers like Seth Voss Albee and Selden I. Davis captured the industrial pollution of Pittsburgh. This class will also investigate a broad selection of 21st-century photographers who use their lenses to advocate for change in the battle against urban air pollution in Beijing, Tokyo, New Delhi, London, Los Angeles, and Mexico City.

Teachers: You can earn Act 48 (external link) activity hours for participating in this program. Email the Teacher Programs Coordinator at teachers@cmoa.org to request an application.

Event Registration

Choose between Wednesday sessions (August 7 and 24) and Saturday sessions (August 3 and 10) for this two-part course.

About the Instructor

Linda Benedict-Jones has been involved in the field of photography since 1969, first as a photographer while living for ten years in Europe. After acquiring a Master of Science in Visual Studies degree from M.I.T. in 1982, she became curator of the Polaroid Collection and also taught the history of photography at the Harvard Extension School, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1993, she moved to Pittsburgh where she worked as a guest curator for Carnegie Museum of Art and curator of education for The Frick Pittsburgh.

In 1999, she was appointed director of Silver Eye Center for Photography, and ten years later she became the first curator of photography at Carnegie Museum of Art. For almost 20 years in Pittsburgh, she was also an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University teaching the history of photography. She retired from the museum and the university in 2015 and now periodically works as an independent curator and writer. After dedicating her professional career to promoting the work of photographers in the history of the medium, her primary interest now is to revisit her own photographs from the 1970s and 1980s.