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Documenting the Family with Thomas Alleman (Online Learning – Six Sessions)

  • Wednesday
    August 7, 2024
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday
    September 11, 2024
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday
    October 9, 2024
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday
    November 6, 2024
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday
    December 4, 2024
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm

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© Photo by Thomas Alleman


Online Learning Class

Our families are shaped by exterior forces – the economy, the quality of local education, the availability of affordable housing––as well as by interior ones: the mental and physical health of each member, the accumulation of grievance or favor over time, the ebb and flow of power dynamics. Can such gravitational forces be photographed? Certainly, we can make evidentiary “documents” of daily life in our homes: birthday parties, dinnertime, homework. When we gather and sequence twenty or thirty of those images, telling a story about our families, will we present the narrative of a charming tribe, struggling onward and upward together, or will a more ambivalent picture emerge? The diversity of tone and mood in such storytelling is on display everywhere in literature, film, theater and, increasingly, photography books themselves. Family life, in brighter or darker shades, is an essential part of our cultural, artistic dialogue.

This six-session, six-month course is designed for students who’re at least advanced beginners, actively photographing their families or intending to begin soon. Each session will include critiques of students’ work, as well as a lecture that’ll feature examples from books and portfolios created by other family photographers.

Thomas Alleman, the course instructor, photographed his own family throughout the 1980’s. He’s currently finishing a memoir of those years, illustrated by 80 images. He’ll discuss that work, along with the family projects of several contemporary photographers. In those discussions, students will encounter a wide diversity of subject matter, point-of-view and presentation: Some photographers employ irony or wry humor in their work, others a forensic, deadpan factuality, and still others use light and composition to give a sense of foreboding or unease. Some focus on single dramatic aspects of the larger narrative––an illness, a moment of crisis or achievement––and a few others probe deeply into psychology, history, character, and the ravages of time.

The ongoing photographic act is, of course, the central business of this class: students must actively shoot a family project during our six-month schedule, which is designed to give them time to develop a comprehensive portfolio. Editing, which is certainly essential to that storytelling process, will be discussed at length and practiced often. Often, words contribute powerfully to such projects––whether they’re written as memoir by the photographer or spoken by subjects in interviews, or jotted as notes or copied from historic documents. We’ll spend time studying the use of such tools and techniques.


Thomas Alleman is a commercial, editorial and fine art photographer living and working in Los Angeles. During a 15 year newspaper career, Tom was a frequent winner of distinctions from the National Press Photographer’s Association, as well as being named California Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1995 and Los Angeles Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1996. As a magazine freelancer, his pictures have been published regularly in Time, People, Business Week, Barrons, Smithsonian National Geographic Traveler, and US News & World Report, and have also appeared in Brandweek, Sunset, Harper’s and Travel Holiday.

View instructor profile here.



  • Six Sessions
  • Dates: Wednesdays, August 7, September 11, October 9, November 6, December 4, 9 am – 12 pm PST (one mtg. TBA)
  • Enrollment Limit: 10 students
  • Skill/Experience Level: Students should have a working knowledge of their camera.
  • Tuition: $515 (Become a Member today and received up to 20% off!)
  • Location: Online

A details email complete with the Zoom link will be sent to the attendees prior to the start date. If you have additional questions please email

Details Price Qty
Documenting the Family with Thomas Alleman (Online Learning)show details +$515.00 (USD)  
The Individual Member Rate - Documenting the Family with Thomas Alleman (Online Learning) ($489.25 (USD)) is available to members only. On Sale
The Sponsor Member Rate - Documenting the Family with Thomas Alleman (Online Learning) ($463.50 (USD)) is available to members only. On Sale
The Collector, Patron and Director Circle Member Rate - Documenting the Family with Thomas Alleman (Online Learning) ($412.00 (USD)) is available to members only. On Sale

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