CCOG for ART 244 Summer 2024

Course Number:
ART 244
Course Title:
Photo I: Black and White Photography
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Covers black and white photographic film and digital 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 black and white photographic prints and images. Requires access to a film camera and/or digital camera with manual exposure controls; SLR, DSLR or mirror-less camera systems preferred. Recommended: ART 141 and ART 142. Audit Available. Prerequisites: ART 140A.

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 black and white photographic prints, which demonstrate command of introductory level processes, techniques and materials.
  • Participate in a critical dialog about ideas and issues in black and white photography using industry terminology and applying self-critiquing skills.
  • Understand, interpret, and critically evaluate black and white photographs considering their cultural and historical context in order to initiate a life-long process of studying diverse perspectives of the human experience.
  • Express connections to personal experiences though work in the medium of black and white photography 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 outside 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

  • Actively engage in studio work and complete all projects and homework assignments on time
  • Develop photographic images, prints and projects that are aesthetically and formally challenging and demonstrate the student’s evolution through beginning level ideas and processes.
  • Demonstrate sound foundational level photographic technique and safe and efficient studio habits with respect to the communal environment and equipment
  • Participate in discussions and critiques. Take an active role and make contributions applying concepts and terms used in the discipline.
  • Evaluate both technical approaches and conceptual directions in photographs through comprehensive responses, critique, written assignments, self-reflection, and peer review.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Visual Communication
  • Contexual Awareness


  • Form and Aesthetic considerations
  • Content and Meaning
  • Process, technique and material choices from chemical to digital


  • Personal Expression through the medium of black and white photography
  • Better understand the photographic black and white aesthetic, the specific possibilities and limitations inherent to black and white photography
  • Historical knowledge of black and white photography
  • Environmental awareness related to health, safety and proper disposal of waste


  • Learn methodologies for designing and completing black and white photographic prints

    Strategies for generating ideas

    Image generation - Bridging ideas with photographic methods to create images of             both formal and conceptual power

    Image making:

Manual camera operations

    Exposure evaluation and control - metering, zone system and histogram

    B&W film exposure and chemical processing

    Digital image exposure and control

Essentials of Lighting; principles, design and modification

    Digital tools:

    Management and organization of files

    Basic workflow and editing in industry-standard software

    scanning, digitizing images and use of digital negatives

    Non destructive editing practices

    Post capture editing options - exposure, contrast, density

    Layering, masking, use of blending modes and adjustment layers


    Technical and aesthetic competence in evaluating materials, processes and techniques

    Best practices for color management and viewing environments

    Basic considerations for printing via a photographic printer


    Hand skills, measuring, cutting and working with presentation materials

    Selection of appropriate materials and presentation format for aesthetic and conceptual     considerations

    Digital as well as physical presentation strategies appropriate to intent of work

  • Critique and self-reflection strategies for evaluating images and prints
  • Studio Safety

    Best practices for working with chemicals and in darkroom and digital labs