How to Cite a Picture/Photo/Image in MLA Style

The main focus for the Modern Language Association, the group behind the MLA writing style guide, is to "strengthen the study and teaching of language and literature." Understandably, MLA style, a guide for those writing on topics in the humanities, mostly contains citation guidelines for written sources. MLA style does include information on how to cite images, although sometimes knowing exactly what information to include can be tricky.

Works Cited Page

The most detailed citations in an MLA paper should be found on the Works Cited page at the conclusion of the document. The citation should begin with the artist's name (last name, followed by a comma and the first name) and a period. Next should follow the title of the photograph in italics and another period. Then is the date of the photo's composition and a period. The citation concludes with the name of the institution where the piece is on display, a comma and the city where the photo is located. An example citation would read: Showalter, William. A Building Too Far. 1968. Museum of Photography, Los Angeles.

Parenthetical Citations

MLA parenthetical citations are placed in the main text of the document and direct readers to more detailed citations in the works cited section. Parenthetical citations for photos should include just the photographer's name at the end of the sentence — inside the period — in which the photo is mentioned.

Modern Language Association: About the MLA
Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited: Other Common Sources

About the Author
First published in 2005, Kyle Whitney has covered news and sports in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. His articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Michigan and China. Whitney is currently a local government reporter at a daily paper.1

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