How to Cite a Picture or Image in MLA

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Published October 31, 2011. Updated September 20, 2021.

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Photograph – An image produced by a camera.


Citing a photograph or image displayed in a museum or institution (viewed in-person)

The citations below are based on information from the MLA Style Center.

Works Cited
Structure

Creator’s Last Name, First Name. Image Title. Year Created, Museum/Institution, Location.

Example

Cartier-Bresson, Henri. Juvisy, France. 1938, Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

View Screenshot | Cite your source

In-text Citations
Structure

(Creator’s Last Name)

Example

(Cartier-Bresson)

 


Citing a photograph or image from a museum or institution (viewed online)

Many museums have online collections of their work. The citations below are based on information from the MLA Style Center.

Works Cited
Structure

Creator’s Last Name, First Name. Image Title. Year Created. Website Name, Numbers (if applicable), URL.

Examples

Boudin, Eugene. On the Beach, Sunset. 1865. The Met, www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/438551. 

Gilpin, Laura. Terraced Houses, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico. 1939. Library of Congress, no. LC-USZ62-102170, www.loc.gov/pictures/item/90716883/.

View Screenshot | Cite your source

In-text Citations
Structure

(Creator’s Last Name)

Example

(Boudin)

(Gilpin)


Citing a digital image on a web page or online article

Digital Image – A picture that can be viewed electronically by a computer.

Here’s the standard structure for a digital image citation found on a website. It follows guidance found in the MLA Style Center. 

Works Cited
Structure

Image Creator’s Last Name, First Name. “Image Title.” Website Name, Day Month Year Published, URL.

Example

de Jong, Sidsel. Photograph of Munch’s The Scream. “The Scream’ is Fading. New Research Reveals Why” by Sophie Haigney, 7 Feb. 2020. The New York Times, www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/arts/design/the-scream-edvard-munch-science.html.

 View Screenshot | Cite your source

Image search: Do not cite the search engine (example: Google Images) where the image is found, but the website of the image the search engine indexes.

 

In-text Citations
Structure

(Web page author’s Last Name)

Example (de Jong)

 


Citing a photograph from a book

Works Cited
Structure

Image Creator’s Last, First M. Image Title. Year Created. Book Title, by Book Author’s First Last Name, Publisher, year published, p. page(s).

Example

Ikemoto, Luna. Cat in Repose. 2017. Bodega Cat’s Adventure, by Wendy Prosser, Feline Press, 2020, p. 22.

 View Screenshot | Cite your source

In-text Citations
Structure

(Creator’s Last Name Page #)

Example

(Ikemoto 22)

 


Citing a photograph you took

The photo would be considered as part of a “personal collection.” The example below follows guidance found in the MLA Style Center. 

Works Cited
Structure

Your Last Name, First Name. Image description or Image Title. Day Month Year taken. Author’s personal collection.

Example

Doe, Jane. Tumbleweed Gulch. 3 Jan. 2019. Author’s personal collection.

 

Smith, John. Cats being fed. 11 Aug. 2001. Author’s personal collection.

 View Screenshot | Cite your source

 

In-text Citations
Structure

(Your Last Name)

Example

(Doe)

(Smith)


 

Citing a photograph from a database

Works Cited
Structure

Creator’s Last Name, First Name. Photograph Title. Year Created. Database Name, Numbers (if applicable), URL.

Example

Freed, Leonard. Holidaymaker Stuck in Traffic Jam. 1965. ARTstor, www.arstor.org.

  View Screenshot | Cite your source

In-text Citations
Structure

(Creator’s Last Name)

Example

(Freed)

 


Work Cited

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.


Updated April 26, 2021.

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How do I cite an image with no author in MLA format?

To cite an image with no author in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the title or description, museum or website name, date, and URL if applicable. Templates and examples for in-text citations and works cited list entries for an image with no author (viewed online) are provided below:

In-text citation template and example:

For citations in prose and parenthetical citations, use the title of the image.

Citation in prose:

The photograph Robert Frank in Automobile ….

Parenthetical:

….(Robert Frank)

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

Viewed online:

Template:

Title of Photograph or Description. Date Published. Name of Gallery/Museum or Website Name, URL.

Example:

Robert Frank in Automobile. 1958. National Gallery of Art, https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.89153.html.

How do I cite images with no date in MLA format?

To cite an image with no date in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the artist name, image title, and either the website where the image was viewed online or the museum or gallery name where it was viewed in person. If no date information is provided for an online image, omit the publication date details and instead provide the date you accessed it. Templates and examples for in-text citations and works cited list entries for an image with no date (viewed online and firsthand) are provided below:

In-text citation template and example:

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the artist on the first occurrence. For subsequent citations, use only the surname. In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the artist.

Citation in prose:

First mention: Janet Cameron ….

Subsequent occurrences: Cameron ….

Parenthetical:

….(Cameron).

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

Viewed firsthand:

Template:

Artist Surname, First Name. Title of the Image. Name of the Museum or Gallery, Physical Location (Major City or City, State).

Example:

Muybridge, Eadweard. Attitudes of Animals in Motion. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Viewed online:

Template:

Artist Surname, First Name. Title of the Image. Name of the Website, URL. Accessed Date.

Example:

Cameron, Janet. Who Was Cleopatra? Decoded Past, www.decodedpast.com/philosophy-2/. Accessed 20 Sept. 2021.