Professor Peter Kayafas knows this symbiotic relationship first hand. A celebrated photographer and Guggenheim photography fellow whose work has been widely exhibited and resides in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library, Kayafas encourages undergrads to interact with images as physical objects rather than just consuming digital replications on a phone screen.
“When a photograph is made and turned into an object it’s the only thing that stays the same. Everything else changes. The history changes, fashion changes, politics change, technology changes and so do the people who are looking at it,” Kafayas says. “If you look at a picture you have on your wall, five years later you’re going to be noticing different things about it. So a big part of this class is learning to look at things longer than the two seconds that people look at it when they doom scroll.”
One way for students to practice that? Borrowing prints and photographs from the Picture Collection to hang them at home as inspiration for the semester, or for use on class assignments.