Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ART 140B
Course Title:
Digital Photography I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces intermediate basic digital photography processes as they relate to creative arts, history, media and culture in both a historical and contemporary context. Includes critiques, discussions, and presentations to establish the skills necessary to evaluate prints and images, explore artistic intent, examine aesthetic and structural solutions and expand perceptual awareness. Requires access to a camera with manual exposure controls, DSLR (digital single-lens-reflex) cameras are preferred. This is the second course in a three-course sequence for first year digital photography. Prerequisites: ART 140 or ART 140A or instructor permission. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course provides hands-on experience that approaches digital photography from an artistic, historic, and craft-oriented perspective. All aspects of digital
photography will be considered, from exposure of images in the camera, to the presentation the finished image. Special attention will be paid to self-expression, based on an understanding of aesthetic principles and elements of design. Historical approaches and contemporary issues concerning the art of photography will be discussed. Students€™ abilities will be developed through regular photographic assignments and critical evaluations.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Ask meaningful questions, identify ideas and issues, and develop and use a basic vocabulary when participating in critical dialogue about photography with others.
  • Find and develop creative ways to solve artistic & conceptual problems using a variety of photographic strategies.
  • Create personal photographic artwork which demonstrates an introductory level of the processes, materials, and techniques associated with making digital photographs.
  • Navigate challenges & opportunities of working in a community photographic studio.
  • Deepen the understanding that any photographic image is created and interpreted through the lens of both the artist and the viewer€™s own personal, social and cultural filters.

Course Activities and Design

  1. Create prints that incorporate a variety of technical skills with an awareness of the inherent characteristics of different photographic styles, genres and modes of capture and output methods.
  2. Begin to generate ideas/concepts with an awareness of the intended content of the work produced
  3. Build upon a current skill set with the intent of working towards technical and conceptual proficiency
  4. Develop safe and efficient studio practices in regards to handling material

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Through completion of photographic assignments, students will display their competence related to the course€™s intended outcomes. Understanding of the camera functions, exposure controls, use of basic digital image editing software (such as Photoshop) and image rendering techniques will be progressively monitored. Appropriateness of in-camera decisions such as depth-of-field and shutter-speed, and student€™s judgment concerning their use of light, graphic, and compositional effects will be reviewed during group critiques. Instructors may choose to evaluate students' critical and interpretive abilities by requiring written assignments and / or oral presentations, regarding photographic work. Student assessment will culminate with the presentation of a final portfolio project at the end of the term.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Visual awareness and ability to see.
  2. Methodologies for designing and creating a print which may include, third-party printing, in-house color calibration and selfprinting, projection, virtual or web presentation of their image
  3. Challenges to visualization inherent in digital photography.
  4. Language of photography and the qualities that distinguish it from other graphic and/or digital media.
  5. Photography in history.
  6. Options and possibilities for original work.
  7. Evaluating prints and images.
  8. Safety.
  9. Environmental concerns related to materials, consumption, production and output strategies and proper disposal of waste produced.
  10. Non-traditional media and combined techniques (e.g., zines, artist &/or kinetic books, collage, mixed media and collaboration with other disciplines).

Skills and Methodologies:

  • Knowledge of the camera: image storage systems, light metering and balancing systems, and the exposure controls (manual and automatic).
  • Knowledge of the use of digital image software, digital image processing and editing across multiple file formats (such as jpg, tiff and RAW), evaluating digital image exposures for lighting, contrast and color balance; further image manipulation such as dodging, burning and cropping,
  • Finishing/presenting the digital photograph: rendering for web or print; retouching the final image; dry mounting and over-matting; other options, including books, zines, and mixed media may be discussed.
  • Aesthetic issues: use of graphic techniques, through control of contrast and density; effective use of focus, depth-of-field, and stopping/blurring motion; use of the rectangle, the edge, and cropping; line, form, shape, texture, rhythm, and
  • Attributes of digital and chemical photographic history and practitioners: presentation, through slides, lectures, and videos, of periods, artists, and
    technology, issues in the history of photography. In particular, photographic genres, including landscape and nature, documentary, reportage, abstraction, portrait, self-portrait, and candid photography, will be discussed. Emphasis will be on how historical concerns effect, and led to, contemporary issues, artists, and techniques.