Images and Ideas

IMAGES AND IDEAS is an exploration of underlying contemporary trends in photography and imaging. The five lectures will consider questions such as: What are the essential differences between analog and digital media? Do images today have the same meanings that they had during the last century? In a “post-truth” era can image-based media still provoke social change?

When Marshall McLuhan wrote that “the medium is the message,” what did he mean and what are the consequences for us today? What is hypermedia, where does it come from, and what can we do with it? Who is working with image-based media in poetic, thoughtful, and effective ways?

The lectures will also discuss issues such as: If there is a photography of war, why is there not a photography of peace? How do people in different cultures make and view photographs differently? What is the relationship between Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” and Zen? How do “taking” and “making” a photograph differ, or a “selfie” and a self-portrait? Will artificial intelligence and deepfakes critically undermine the credibility of visual media? What will it take to be media literate in the wake of these enormous upheavals?

– Fred Ritchin

Length of Course

5 Weeks
1.5 Hours per week.
Lecture and Q&A.


Nov 17th
Nov 24th
Dec 1st
Dec 8th
Dec 15th

Time and Time Zones

1 to 2.30pm EST (6pm to 7.30pm GMT)

Stay tuned for the unveiling of a brand new program, guided by Fred Ritchin, launching in February 2021. Details will be announced during the lecture series.

    The lectures are intended for practitioners looking for new perspectives on their own work, for readers and viewers of imagery interested in a more profound comprehension of the current paradigm shift in media, and for teachers wanting to give their students a greater understanding of the evolving field of image-based media. Short readings will be assigned as well as online projects to be reviewed, and discussions will follow each lecture.

    Dean Emeritus ICP, Author

    Fred Ritchin

    Photo Credit: Maria Cherdantseva


    Fred Ritchin

    Fred Ritchin is Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography in New York. He was professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University (1991-2014) where he also taught for eleven years in the Interactive Telecommunications Program and co-founded the Photography and Human Rights program. Ritchin served as picture editor of the New York Times Magazine (1978-82), executive editor of Camera Arts magazine (1982-83), and in 1999 co-founded and directed PixelPress, an experimental online publication that collaborated on humanitarian initiatives to end polio globally, to advance the Millennium Development Goals, and to support the education of children orphaned by the Rwandan genocide, among other initiatives. He created the first multimedia version of the New York Times (1994-95) and the following year conceived and conceived and edited the first non-linear online documentary project “Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace,” nominated by the New York Times for a Pulitzer Prize in public service. He also wrote the first major article on the digital revolution’s coming impact on imagery for the New York Times Magazine in 1984, and the first book on the same subject, In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography, in 1990. He has also written After Photography (2008), published in seven languages, and Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen (2013). Ritchin has curated many exhibitions, including “Contemporary Latin American Photographers,” “An Uncertain Grace: The Photographs of Sebastião Salgado,” “Mexico Through Foreign Eyes,” and “What Matters Now? Proposals for a New Front Page.” He writes, teaches and lectures widely on the potentials of media in the digital age.

    I always believed that photography was subjective, interpretive and certainly did not represent the truth, but I did think that its status as a societal and historical referent needed to be both safeguarded and illuminated….now photojournalism is devolving into yet another medium perceived as intending to shock, titillate, sell, distort.

    Why Attend This Lecture Series

    Students will benefit in the following ways


    Value for Money
    Online Lecture Series
    New Perspectives on Your Work
    Understanding of Evolving Field
    Discussions Follow Lecture
    Global Community


    Working Practitioners
    Readers of Imagery
    Viewers of Imagery
    Students of Visual Media