Monday, January 12, 2015

Course Syllabus

Click below for the full text of the course syllabus:

ART 351 – Introduction to Digital Art (Digital Photography) – 3 Semester Hours
MWF 11:00-11:50 AM, CAM 306
Bethel University
Instructor:  Jason Cole
Office Hours:
MWF: 10-11am;  TR: 8-9am, 11am-12pm, 1-2:30pm.

Course Prerequisites/Co Requisites:

Course Description:
Digital Photography is an introductory course in in the fundamentals of digital photography, such as the basic operation of a digital camera, the organizing of compositions, and the application of photo-editing software.

Course Goals:
The student will:
1)     Demonstrate proficient operation of a digital camera.
2)     Demonstrate the ability to utilize editing software to enhance and transform digital photographs.
3)     Demonstrate the basic “structure” concept of photograph.
4)     Demonstrate various areas of subject matter (still life, landscape, portraiture, abstraction, etc).
5)     Develop skills of observation, personal expression, and abstract thinking.

Relationship of this Course to Content Area Knowledge and Skills:
This course is not used to address TN Matrix knowledge and skills.

Peterson, Bryan. Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera. 3rd ed. New York: Amphoto, 2010.
A Kindle version of this book available from

Course Objectives:
The student will:
a)     Learn to operate a digital camera
b)     Understand and utilize camera settings
c)     Develop problem-solving skills.
d)     Strengthen self-disciple.
e)     Learn and apply the basic operations of photo-editing software.
f)      Observe, research, and learn from the work of other artists.
g)     Learn to think critically about the surrounding world of imagery.
h)     Develop and enhance his/her proficiency in the vocabulary of the artist.
i)      Actively engage in constructive critique.

Units of Study:
Unit 1     Basic History of Photography
Early history of photography
Photographic techniques and developments
Important photographers
Unit 2     Familiarization with Tools & Materials
Digital cameras, accessories, and peripheries
Composition/Focus/Exposure/Black & White
Using software to edit black & white images
Unit 3     The Digital Darkroom
Basic digital editing skills
Advanced digital editing techniques
Storage & output

Required Reading:
Various handouts, online videos, and online tutorials which will be given throughout the course.

Suggested Reading:
Alonso, Rodrigo, and T. J. Demos. Vitamin Ph: New Perspectives in Photography. London: Phaidon, 2006.
Koch, Roberto, and Jimena Bargados. Photo:box. New York: Abrams, 2009.
Airey, Theresa. Digital Photo Art: Transform Your Images with Traditional & Contemporary Art Techniques. New York: Lark, 2005.

Methods Of Instruction:
Lecture, discussion, in-class work, outside assignments, online blog, critique.

Course Requirements:
1)     A personal online blog is an important requirement of this course.  It is a depository for ideas, visual observations, and written responses to anything (in-class or outside).  Include research of artists of special interest, techniques, subjects, methods, media, processes, etc.  Post your finished assignments.  Research artists mentioned in class and post your findings.  WRITE.  Don’t do ANYTHING on the blog without also writing some notes about what you did.
The blog will be reviewed throughout the semester and graded at midterm and finals.
2)     Completion of weekly in-class assignments and related homework assignments is required for the course.
3)     A final personal photo project is due at finals.

Attendance Policy:
o    There are no excused absences.  If you miss NINE classes you will immediately fail the course.  There will be no exceptions.  The reasons behind the absences are not important.  Nine absences means too much information and work has been missed for anyone to legitimately pass the course.
o    If you are unable to submit an assignment on its due date because of an approved scheduled university extracurricular activity, that assignment can be submitted at the beginning of the next class without penalization.
o    If you are having trouble with the course or have problems outside the class that are affecting your performance please talk to me about it so that we can work out a solution.  Do not wait until it is too late.  I will be glad to help you in any way I can.
o    Lateness is not acceptable.  It is disruptive and frankly disrespectful not only to me but to your fellow students to enter the classroom in the middle of a lecture, demonstration, or critique.  Three late arrivals to class will count as an absence.
o    All students will work for the entire class period.  The class runs from 11:00 p.m. to 11:50 p.m.  Students will not leave the classroom unless excused.  I am tolerant of discussion among students during class to a point.  However, excessive talking, walking about or leaving the room will be noted in my grade book and counted against your final grade.
o    If you miss an assignment because of lateness or absence get it from another student. If you then have questions come and see me.

Methods of Assessment/Evaluation/Grading System:

Each assignment will be collected on a specific due date and time.  Persons not handing in work on time will be penalized one full grade.  (See the exception rule above.)  The work will be graded and returned as soon as possible.  At times it may be necessary for me to hold some of the work for exhibitions or photographing.  In cases like this, I will notify you.

All assignments that have been submitted PROPERLY and graded may be re-worked for a better grade.

Blogs will be graded at midterm and finals.  It is expected that you are making extensive use of your blog throughout the semester to showcase all you are doing in this course.

Final grades reflect accomplishment in three areas:
o    Portfolio (50%)
o    Blog (25%)
o    Class performance/participation/attitude (25%)
Final grades will be determined by:
o    Completion of all assignments.
o    Consistency of effort
o    Development of skills in seeing and thinking.
o    Presentation and craftsmanship.
o    Participation in critiques and discussions.
o    General attitude.

Individual assignment grade definitions:
o    A - Excellent. Assignment is completely and creatively fulfilled.  No significant problems.
o    B - All aspects of assignment are completely fulfilled and well done.  A few problems remain to be solved.
o    C - Work fulfills the requirements of the assignment to the letter and is generally successful.  Work is completely finished.  Craftsmanship is acceptable.  Some problems remain to be solved.
o    D - Work is not yet completely finished or has obvious technical or conceptual flaws.
o    F - Unacceptable in technique or craft or concept (or any combination of these).
o    X - Assignment not handed in.  This assignment may not be re-submitted.
Final letter grade definitions:
o    A – The student earning an A has shown great effort and near-perfect success in all aspects of the class.  Only students absolutely excelling far above expectations will be awarded this grade.
o    B - A very good job.  The person earning this grade has worked very hard; has pushed his/herself to go beyond the mere fulfillment of each problem and has shown strong advances in technical and conceptual skills.
o    C - The student earning a C has fulfilled the requirements of the course, has a positive attitude, worked hard, shown growth in skills and thinking, and did an overall good job.
o    D - Below par.  This grade indicates that the student has obvious difficulties with basic drawing skills and/or trouble in fulfilling the requirements of the class for some other reason.
o    F - This grade indicates a severe problem in one or more of the following categories:  lack of interest, bad attitude, failure to complete assignments, excess lateness, or absence. 

Clinical/Laboratory/Field Experiences:

Critical Thinking Statement:
Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.  In this class we will raise vital questions and problems, formulate them clearly and precisely; gather and assess relevant information, by using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively.

General Requirements:
o    You are required to bring your laptop and storage device (jump drive, external hard drive, etc.) to EVERY CLASS.  These items are crucial.  Without them, it will be impossible for you to participate in anything done in the classroom on most days.  Anyone arriving to class without this equipment WILL LEAVE THE ROOM AND BE COUNTED AS ABSENT FOR THAT DAY.
o    BACKUP ALL OF YOUR FILES!  Technology loves to fail us when we need it most.  It is YOUR responsibility to have your files stored in more than one device AND to keep up with those devices.  “My laptop crashed,” or “I lost my jump drive” are not excuses for not submitting assignments.
o    All students are expected to participate during critiques.  Failing to engage in discussions will be noted in the gradebook.
o    Prohibited from my classroom: Cell phones (you may have it pocketed, but silence it and DO NOT ANSWER IT), any device with headphones, tobacco of any kind, drugs or alcohol, Internet social networking sites, laziness.

Required Materials & Supplies
o    Digital camera (basic, midrange, or high-end) – No less than 7 megapixels
o    SD card – No less than 8 Gb
o    Laptop
o    Storage device (jump drive, external hard drive, etc.)
o    Photo editing software (provided by instructor)
o    Lighting equipment (lamps, light fixtures, clamp lamps, bare light bulbs, etc. There is no need to purchase expensive equipment.)

Photographers Of Note:
Louis Jacque Mande Daguerre
Eadweard Muybridge
Julia Margaret Cameron
Alfred Stieglitz
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Man Ray
Lewis Hine
Margaret Bourke-White
Ansel Adams
Piergiorgio Branzi
Robert Capa
Robert Doisneau
Elliott Erwitt
Robert Frank
Jacques Henri Lartigue
Tina Modotti
George Rodger
Dennis Stock
Garry Winogrand
Eddie Adams
Josef Koudelka
Nick Ut
Larry Burrows
Eve Arnold
Bruce Davidson
Burt Glinn
Philippe Halsman
Mary Ellen Mark
Alexander Rodchenko
August Sander
Jean-Paul Goude
William Eggleston
Sonia Landy Sheridan
Horst P. Horst
Helmut Newton
Howard Schatz
Edward Weston
Jane Evelyn Atwood
Martine Barrat
Nan Goldin
Dorthea Lange
Bettina Rheims
Edward Steichen
Francesca Woodman
Martine Franck
Steve McCurry
Trent Parke
Martin Parr
Alex Webb
Gianni Berengo Gardin
Daniele Dainelli
William Klein
Eugene Richards
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Bill Brandt
Lewis Carroll
Sergio Larrain
Herbert List
Duane Michals
Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Sarah Moon
Erwin Olaf
Jim Goldberg
Peter Lindbergh
Martin Munkacsi
William Henry Fox Talbot
Andrew Zuckerman
David Burnett
Annie Leibovitz
Giorgio Lotti
Peter Marlow
Tom Stoddart
Cristina Garcia Rodero
Li Zhensheng
Sebastiao Salgado
Rineke Dijkstra

Class Schedule

Week 1 (Jan 12-16)
History of Photography
Familiarization with Tools and Materials
Getting Started


Week 2 (Jan 21-23)
Using the Camera

Week 3 (Jan 26-30)
Editing Black & White Images
Assignment #1: 5 Different Images of 1 Composition

Week 4 (Jan 2-6)
Continue Black & White
Assignment #1: 5 Different Images 0f 1 Composition

Week 5 (Feb 9-Feb 13)
Motion & Depth of Field (DOF)
Assignment #2: 8 Images (4 experimenting with motion, 4 experimenting with DOF)
Read Chapter APERTURE

Week 6 (Feb 16-20)
Continue Motion/DOF
Assignment #2: 8 Images (4 experimenting with motion, 4 experimenting with DOF)

Week 7 (Feb 23-27)
Continue Motion/DOF
Discuss Portraiture

Week 8 (Mar2-6)
Critique Blogs
Portrait Lighting
3-Point Lighting
Assignment #3: 6 Portraits
Read Chapter LIGHT


Week 9 (Mar 16-20)
Thinking about themes
Continue Lighting Excercises
Continue Shooting & Editing Portraits
Assignment #3: 6 Portraits

Week 10 (Mar 23-27)
Continue Lighting Exercises
Continue Shooting & Editing Portraits

Week 11 (Mar 30-Apr 2)
Discuss Final Project


Week 12 (Apr 6-10)
In Class: Experimenting with Abstraction
Homework: Continue Shooting & Editing Final Project

Week 13 (Apr 13-17)
Critique Blogs
In Class: Experimenting with Abstraction
Homework: Continue Shooting & Editing Final Project

Week 14 (Apr 20-24)
In Class: Experimenting with Abstraction
Homework: Shoot & Edit Final Project

Week 15 (Apr 27-May 1)
Continue Shooting & Editing Final Project

Tuesday, May 5

Month And Year Of Syllabus Revision:
January 2015

Bethel University is committed to equal opportunity in education for all students, including those with documented disabilities.  If you have a diagnosed disability or if you believe that you have a disability that might require reasonable accommodation in this course, please contact Sandy Louden.  Bethel University Policy states that it is the responsibility of students to contact instructors to discuss appropriate accommodations to ensure equity in grading, experiences and assignments.

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