CCOG for ART 142A Summer 2024

Course Number:
ART 142A
Course Title:
Darkroom Photography I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Covers introductory-level darkroom photographic processes, techniques and concepts while addressing historical and contemporary issues. Develops the creative problem-solving and critical skills necessary to examine aesthetic and formal solutions and explore artistic intent through the medium of darkroom photography. Requires access to a manual SLR, 35mm film camera. Recommended: ART 141. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Solve problems in the art making process using a variety of strategies for making prints, which demonstrate command of introductory level processes, techniques and materials in darkroom photography.
  • Participate in a critical dialog about ideas and issues in darkroom photography using industry terminology and applying self-critiquing skills.
  • Interpret and critically evaluate photographs from different cultures to initiate a relationship with photography and its connection to the viewer, ideas and artists of the past and present
  • Express connections to personal experiences through work in the medium of darkroom photography and its chemical processes with awareness of the standards and practices established by both contemporary and historical artists.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

The study of Visual Arts is essential to the development of the individual and one’s meaningful participation in society. At the heart of artistic practice is the ability to organize experience and recognize its meaning. The creation of artwork and appreciation of aesthetics is a source of great pleasure and also a valuable means to effective visual communication. Participating in Visual Arts is an important way for individuals to connect to the past and respond to the present with a stronger sense of engagement with culture and society.

Course Activities and Design

Students will engage in studio work during and outs of class time to critically engage with the practical studio application of skills, techniques and concepts in addition to lectures and presentations, demonstrations, critiques, group discussions and activities.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Engage in studio work during and outside of class time
  • Develop photographic projects and prints that are aesthetically and formally challenging and demonstrate the student’s evolution through both ideas and process.
  • Demonstrate sound photographic technique and safe and efficient studio habits with respect to the communal environment
  • Participate in discussions and critiques. Take an active role and make contributions applying concepts and terminology used in the discipline.
  • Evaluate both technical approaches and conceptual directions in photographs through comprehensive responses, critique, self reflection, written assignments and peer review.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Visual communication
  • Contextual awareness


  • Formal and aesthetic considerations
  • Connections between form, content and meaning
  • Process, technique and material choices


  • Understand the photographic aesthetic, the specific possibilities and limitations inherent to photography within a darkroom practice, its processes and strategies.
  • Environmental awareness related to materials and proper disposal of waste
  • Personal expression through the medium of darkroom photography
  • Historical knowledge of film photography
  • Awareness of the wide spectrum of photography’s influence and impact on daily life


Learn methodologies for designing and completing photographic prints

  • Strategies for generating ideas
  • Image generation - bridging ideas with darkroom processes to create images of both formal and conceptual power
  • Technical knowledge of the camera, lens and manual exposure controls
  • Aesthetic effects of the use of lens, shutter and aperture for creative control
  • Essentials of Lighting; design and modification
  • Film - exposing, processing and enlarging the negatives to create photographic prints
  • Printing - demonstrated sound darkroom technique to enlarge and print negatives
  • Curating, selecting and arranging prints
  • Print finishing,  presentation and preservation strategies.

Critique and self reflection strategies for evaluating prints

Studio safety

  •     Demonstration of sound darkroom practices with regard to chemical, environmental and     personal safety