Christopher W. Weeks

SAMPLE DIGITAL PHOTO SYLLABUS:

 

PGY 3930 SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHOTOGRAPHY: DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

SPRING 2001

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher W. Weeks

TIME: Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:00 to 8:50pm PLACE: FAH 228 (Classroom) & FAH 286-287 (Lab)

OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday/Thursday 5:30 to 6:00pm, FAH 289 (by appointment only)

 

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this course is to provide basic visual and technical skills necessary to pursue and appreciate digital photography as a Fine Art. This course will introduce the basic technical skills necessary for shooting, inputting, manipulating and outputting digital images. In addition, it will introduce a variety of issues and theories about digital photography in order to expand general notions of what digital photography can consist of and be about. Critiques will be provided to gauge your development both in terms of technical skills as well as in terms of your use of the medium to visually express your artistic intents and concepts. EQUIPMENT: The Department will provide basic digital equipment, including both iMac and G-4 Macintosh computers, scanners, zip drives, CD burners and printers. Students will have to provide their own Mac Formatted Zip discs and burnable CDs as well as paper for the printers. A conservative estimate of the cost of materials for the semester is $500.00.

TEXTBOOK: The required textbook for this class will be "Introduction to Digital Photography" by Joseph Ciaglia (ISBN#0-13-032136-2, published by Prentice Hall). In addition, various readings and technical handouts and supplements will be provided.

CLASS PHILOSOPHY: This course is about more than just using the computer to create cheap and easily dispersible snapshots, or simply downloading images off the internet; it is about learning to efficiently articulate visually using the digital medium. It is about learning to see digital photography as a fine art form and to create visually impelling and exciting images within the context of that framework. It is about learning to see and think differently by using more complex aesthetic judgments and compositional elements. And most of all, it is about freeing up your preconceptions of digital photography and allowing you to maximize your artistic expression with this particular medium Class philosophy will revolve around three main elements of photography: Technical skill , Conceptual Ideas and Contemporary Theoretical Issues surrounding digital photography. Classes will consist of lectures, demonstrations, studio work and critiques. Individual creativity, visual problem solving and precise craftsmanship will be stressed. Several written assignments will also be given in class. This is not a hobby course. This is not an easy course; it will require time, effort and most of all, your brain. If you wanted an easy A to boost your GPA, this is not the class for you. If you are either not willing or not able to put forth the effort that this course demands, it may be to your benefit to either drop this course now, or change your grade status to an audit. If you fulfill all of the basic requirements of this course, you should receive a C. If you want an A, then you'll need to push yourself to learn, think and take your work to the next level. Remember, an A stands for outstanding work, a B is for above average work, and a C is average.

CLASSROOM CONDUCT: Any disruptive behavior during class time will not be permitted. The use of cellular phones and beepers during class time is not allowed. If disruptive behavior becomes a consistent problem, you may be asked to leave the class.

REQUIREMENTS: Grades (including S/U) are determined by the successful completion of photographic assignments and participation in critiques. You can plan on spending probably a minimum of 10-12 hours a week outside of class working in the lab to complete the requirements for this class. NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED!!!

EVALUATION OF GRADES:

(4.00) A+ (97-100)

(4.00) A (93-96)

(3.67) A- (90-92)

Outstanding work. Work meets all class requirements and demonstrates an exceptional degree of quality and effort in assignments.

(3.33) B+ (87-89)

(3.00) B (83-86)

(2.67) B- (80-82)

Above average work. Work meets all class requirements and demonstrates a high degree of quality and effort in assignments.

(2.33) C+ (77-79)

(2.00) C (73-76)

(1.67) C- (70-72)

Average work. Work meets all the minimum class requirements and demonstrates an acceptable degree of quality and effort in assignments.

(1.33) D+ (67-69)

(1.00) D (63-66)

(0.67) D- (60-62)

Poor work. Work meets some but not all the class requirements but may be missing elements and/or lacks quality and/or effort in assignments.
(0.00) F (59 and below) Failure. Meets few of any of the class requirements, inadequate and/or incomplete assignments, quality and effort in assignments.

GRADING BREAKDOWN:

VISUAL ASSIGNMENTS: 50%

FINAL PORTFOLIO 20%

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS: 15%

CLASS PARTICIPATION: 15%

 

ATTENDANCE: Your attendance is not requested, it is required. If you miss any of the lectures, demonstrations, lab days or any of the other class activities you are not fulfilling the requirements of the course. You are expected to fully participate on all lab days. This means you will have work to do while in the lab on these days. If you do not have work on lab days, extra work may be given to you. Failure to attend a critique will result in a failure of that assignment. If you are more than fifteen minutes late for critique, you will be considered absent and will fail that assignment. For every absence beyond three, your final grade will drop one full letter grade. If you are more than fifteen minutes late, you will be considered absent. If you do not have work to do on lab days, you will be considered absent. If you accrue more than seven total absences, there is no way that you can pass this class.

During this course images may be shown which may offend a student on religious, moral, or political grounds. I acknowledge and support any student's prerogative to express their displeasure either in class or privately afterward, or students may discreetly exit the class if offended by any imagery. I will not, however, censor any image based on objections to content or form.

Please confidentially bring to the attention of the instructor any handicapping conditions requiring special considerations. Accepting this syllabus is the equivalent to accepting a binding contract. You, as the student, will be held to the standards and requirements outlined in this document. Make sure that you read it carefully and understand all it's guidelines. THE LAST DAY TO DROP THIS COURSE WITH A W IS MARCH 2, 2001.

 

 

ASSIGNMENTS:

ASSIGNMENT #1: THE VARIOUS SIDES OF ONE'S SELF (DIGITAL PORTRAITS): Using a combination of the digital cameras provided in class and scans of found imagery, you will shoot a series of portraits -- one of yourself, one of a friend or family member, and one of a public personality (i.e. celebrity, politician, etc). Divide these images into three segments and manipulate each segment differently so that they emphasize not only the three main aspects of Photoshop: The Digital/Cyber, The Photographic and The Painterly, but also three different aspects of your subjects' personalities. Use this assignment to really experiment with what Photoshop can do; the point is to get you playing with Photoshop's basic tools.

CRITIQUE #1: We will gauge and discuss not only your initial attempts at learning and mastering all the various tools and options which Photoshop has to offer, but also how well you have communicated your own ideas and perceptions about yourself through this medium.

REQUIREMENTS: Minimum of three completed, tri-segmented digital portraits, saved as a JPEG files on a Mac formatted Zip disc. Image size and resolution will be discussed in class. (Output will be for screen viewing only)

 

 

ASSIGNMENT # 2: DECONSTRUCTING & RECONSTRUCTING IMAGES (CHANGING CONTEXTS): Compile between eight and ten historically famous/important/relevant images. You will then proceed to break these images down into their basic elements. You will then recombine these various elements into six new images. You may add text, illustration or other images of your own creation in combination with your found images in order to change their context and the way that they are experienced by your audience. Can you fully remove the past connotations and associations of your found images from their original contexts? If so, then what was it that gave those images their power in their original incarnations, and what have you created in their wake? What do they now say? How are those symbols now to be interpreted by your audience?

CRITIQUE # 2: Have you made a masterpiece here? A new life? Or simply just a hideous Frankenstein monster? What happens when take images out of context? Or combine disparate elements of various images? We will discuss these issues as well as both your visual and technical successes and not-so-successes.

REQUIREMENTS: Minimum of six reconstructed Output will be inkjet prints (minimum 8.5x11 in size) Also display your originals, so that we may see from where you culled your source materials All discs containing your saved working progress files

 

 

ASSIGNMENT # 3: ILLUSTRATING WITH PHOTOSHOP (FROM PHOTO TO DRAWING AND BACK AGAIN): Photoshop can be much more than just a digital darkroom or a means to manipulate imagery; you can utilize its tools as a drawing program and create your own images out of nothing! Your task here, as the assignment title implies, is to utilize Photoshop as a drawing program. You may insert additional text or photographic based images into you illustrations, but the primary emphasis of your images here should revolve around a drawn aspect. Theme and content, as usual, are completely up to you.

CRITIQUE: We will view your body of work, and these artificial worlds and images which you have created and discuss it on a formal, conceptual and technical level. We will evaluate your growth as an artist and how well your conceptual and technical ideas have merged together and come across to your viewers.

REQUIREMENTS: Minimum of six "illustrated"images (size and output should be relevant to the underlying concept driving the work) All discs containing your saved working progress files

 

 

ASSIGNMENTS #4 & 5: YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN: Okay!! This is what you've been waiting for all semester! The shackles have been completely removed! You're own your own here. It's now your turn to take what you have learned so far in this class and apply in whatever direction you see fit. Take what you've learned so far in this class and make it your own. Experiment and push yourself. This is your chance to develop your own personal conceptual and stylistic approaches to digital photography. By this point, you should be working on developing a permanent portfolio.

CRITIQUES: We will view your body of work, based on a theme entirely of your own choosing and discuss it on a formal, conceptual and technical level. We will evaluate your growth as an artist and how well your conceptual ideas come across to your viewers.

REQUIREMENTS: Minimum of five to eight digitally created images (manner of creation, size, output and presentation should be relevant to the underlying concept driving the work) All discs containing your saved working progress files

 

 

ASSIGNMENT #6: YOUR FINAL PORTFOLIO: This is it!!! You have now, over the course of this semester, been exposed to a wide range of digital skills, ideas and genres. Create a body of work in your own style and revolving around your own ideas. Expand upon an idea from one of the earlier assignments or work on an entirely new theme and create a group as (in)cohesive as you choose. This should be your best thought out, most resolved work of the year. Push yourself!!! You may use up to four images from any previous assignment to fill out the requirements needed for this critique.

FINAL CRITIQUE: This is it! All the shackles have been released! You have the ultimate freedom here to amaze us with all that you've learned

REQUIREMENTS: Minimum of twelve digitally created images (manner of creation, size output and presentation should be relevant to the underlying concept driving the work) All discs containing your saved working progress files

 

 

SCHEDULE:

WEEK 1:
TUES., 01/09 Outline of course objectives and supplies. Tour of digital facilities. Discussion of procedures for usage and access.
THURS., 01/11

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION: OVERVIEW OF PHOTOSHOP BASICS Discussion of Basics, including setting up accounts with the server, Photoshop Tools and Preferences, Saving and Storing files. Also discussion of how Resolution works, Creating a Digital Canvas and other basic setup procedures.

 

WEEK 2:
TUES., 01/16

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION I: Introduction to digital cameras. Demonstration on how to use the department's digital cameras which will be available to students to use.

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION II: Discussion on how to import images from the digital cameras. Introduction to basic manipulation of images: tools, selections, filters, layers, history palettes, text, etc.

IN CLASS ASSIGNMENT I (PLAYING WITH FILTERS): Sample images will be provided in class. Students will create a repeating sequence of this single image manipulated with various Photoshop filters in order to see what the various filters are capable of doing.

IN CLASS ASSIGNMENT II (CLONING AND MERGING): Sample images will be provided in class. Students will eliminate an existing figure out of one scene and insert another figure from another image into that original scene.

 

ASSIGNMENT #1: THE VARIOUS SIDES OF YOURSELF

THURS., 01/18

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION I: Demonstration on how to use the scanners.

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION II: Demonstration on Selecting, Copying and Pasting .

Lab Day

WEEK 3:
TUES., 01/23 Lab Day
THURS., 01/25

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION I: Discussion on Sizing, Canvas Size, Resolution and other setups necessary for preparing for final inkjet outputs.

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION II: Demonstration on Adjusting Hue, Saturation, Color Balance, Brightness/Contrast, Masking and other tools necessary in to create seamless transition when importing multiple images onto one canvas.

ASSIGNMENT #2: DECONSTRUCTING & RECONSTRUCTING IMAGES (CHANGING CONTEXTS) READING/WRITING: Read the "Digital ClutterHandout provided in class and write a two to three page reaction essay.(DUE: 02/06)

WEEK 4:
TUES., 01/30

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION: Discussion/Demonstration on how to output using the inkjet printers. Have a color photograph ready to scan. Your objective here is to first make the tones and colors of your scan (the image on your monitor) match your original image. Then you will work on making the tones and colors of your printed output match the your image on the screen. Pick an image with good contrast, detail and a range of colors. Be prepared for a great deal of frustration.

THURS., 02/01

CRITIQUE #1

WEEK 5:
TUES., 02/06

Lab Day

"Digital ClutterEssay Due

THURS., 02/08

Lab Day

WEEK 6:
TUES., 02/13

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION: Discussion on the interrelationship between input, output and resolution. Discussion on alternative output options (film, transparencies, paper, etc) and use of Service Bureaus.

LECTURE/DEMONSTRATION: Discussion/Demonstration on the drawing capabilities of Photoshop and such tools as the Paintbrush, Airbrush, Pencil, Line, Fill, Gradient Fill, Aliasing, etc.

ASSIGNMENT #3: ILLUSTRATING WITH PHOTOSHOP (FROM PHOTO TO DRAWING AND BACK AGAIN)

READING/WRITING: Read the "Computers& Comics"Handout provided in class and write a two to three page reaction essay. (DUE: 02/22)

THURS., 02/15 CRITIQUE #2
WEEK 7:
TUES., 02/20 Lab Day
THURS., 02/22

Lab Day

"Computers& Comics"Essay Due

WEEK 8:
TUES., 02/27 Lab Day
THURS., 03/01 CRITIQUE #3
WEEK 9:
TUES., 03/06 Lab Day
THURS., 03/08

Lab Day

READING/WRITING: Read the "Pixelated Photograph"Handout provided in class and write a two to three page reaction essay. (DUE: 03/29)

WEEK 10:
TUES., 03/13 SPRING BREAK / NO CLASS
THURS., 03/15 SPRING BREAK / NO CLASS
WEEK 11:
TUES., 03/20 Lab Day
THURS., 03/22 CRITIQUE #4
WEEK 12:
TUES., 03/27 Lab Day
THURS., 03/29 Lab Day / "Pixelated Photograph"Essay Due
WEEK 13:
TUES., 04/03 Lab Day
THURS., 04/05 CRITIQUE #5
WEEK 14:
TUES., 04/10 Lab Day
THURS., 04/12 Lab Day
WEEK 15:
TUES., 04/17 Lab Day
THURS., 04/19 Lab Day
WEEK 16:
TUES., 04/24 Lab Day
THURS., 04/26 FINAL CRITIQUE