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ART 140 B: Basic Photography

We look forward to safely returning to in-person instruction and activities this autumn quarter. Current and prospective students please visit our COVID-19 Updates pages.
Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 5:20pm
ART 327
Rebecca Cummins
Rebecca Cummins

Syllabus Description:

Welcome to Art 140!

Professor Rebecca Cummins             

Office Hrs:  ART 129. Wed 10:30-11:20














     Saturn, NASA: Cassini and Gordan Ugarkovic, 2013


I photograph to see what something will look like photographed.  Gary Winogrand

A different nature opens itself to the camera than to the open eye.  Walter Benjamin

Art would die away when we had all learned enough.  Henry Miller 

What can I think with it?  Judy Radul

My own eyes are no more than scouts on a preliminary search, for the camera's eye may entirely change my idea.  Edward Weston

It's not what one sees, but how one sees it that makes any photograph interesting.  Photographer's proverb

Yes, to me there’s no creativity without boundaries.  If you’re gonna write a sonnet it’s 14 lines, so it’s solving the problem within the container.    Lorne Michaels



Art 140 is an introduction to the theory, techniques and processes of still photography with a digital camera.  Course content will emphasize photography's potential for self-expression and creative problem solving in an artistic context.  Image output will include digital prints, B/W darkroom photogram prints and on-line submissions.

Course content will be delivered through slide lectures, demonstrations, field trips, workshops, discussion, group reviews, readings and consultations.

You will complete photographic projects (both on-line and in print form) in response to a set of assignments. Each assignment is designed to stimulate consideration of a specific conceptual approach but may be realized with a vast range of creative solutions.  Written assignments include quizzes, reviews and assignment proposals.

You are encouraged to visit art galleries, the art library for art books and publications and artist's websites for inspiration and information.

Provided is a link to a document with links to artists & sites related to your assignments.

Art Sites . Info 2017-1.docx



•    To achieve competency in basic photographic techniques

•    To develop an understanding of photography as a visual and cultural practice

•    To enlist the creative possibilities of photography as an art form in your photographic works

•    To understand the importance of “process” to discovery and learning

•    To develop experimental approaches to both problem “seeking” and problem solving

•    To successfully initiate, develop and express unique personal aesthetic solutions

•    To think critically and objectively about your work and that of your peers

•    To offer thoughtful and articulate feedback to your peers



You are responsible for obtaining information missed due to absence from classmates. 

Participation in class is an essential requirement for this course.  Formal assignment reviews are equivalent to exams and attendance is required to participate. Active involvement in assignment reviews, lectures, workshops and group discussions will deepen and reflect your understanding of the course material.  The opportunity to receive feedback from the instructors and peers and to experience and participate in peer reviews is a crucial aspect of your learning in this class.

Please turn off cellphones and electronic devices during class.


Class Participation, Engagement, and Learning Policies 

class_policies_2016 (3).pdf




Please note: a digital camera that allows manual control of aperture and / or shutter speed and focus is required along with a 1GB memory card.  Cell phones and automatic digital point and shoots will not allow you to work to your capacity.  Digital cameras are also available for checkout from CSS in Kane Hall and the SOACC in the School of Art, but cannot be relied upon on a regular basis as availability and borrowing times are limited.

In all cases, read the manual to understand the camera you are using. If you do not have a hard copy, you'll find a PDF manual on-line that you can download. Your computer may have a slot for the memory card you are using, but if not, you may use the usb or mini-usb cord supplied with your camera that connects your camera to the computer for direct downloading. You may also use an external card reader (purchased separately).


You will be using Adobe Photoshop (equivalent image processing software is also fine) for image processing: resizing, color correcting, exposure adjustments, etc.. If you don't own this software, the computers in Oldegaard Library, Mary Gates Hall and the School of Art Computer Center (2nd Fl. Art) all have Photoshop installed for your use. See this link for further information and recommended tutorials on Photoshop. PHOTOSHOP . info . tutorials UW online workshops for software:
   Link (Links to an external site.)


ONLINE TUTORIALS.pdf       Added April 3



You will receive a $15 Digital Print Card usable for printers across campus, including SOACC and Oldegaard Library and B/W photographic paper for use in the Photogram / Darkroom assignment.  You will also spend approximately $60-100 on printing your images; in addition to campus printing facilities, commercial printing facilities may be utilized.

A tripod and gray card are not required but will be very useful. 


An external drive is portable and will allow you to quickly upload/backup your images. Flash drives and portable hard drives are available in a variety of sizes and speeds. It is critical that important information is backed up and saved in at least two locations.

UW Google Drive

Google Drive lets you store files online (unlimited capacity). Google Drive is one of the core UW Google Apps. It takes longer then a flash drive or external hard drive to upload but you can then access your files from anywhere you have an internet connection:



Odegaard Learning Commons | IT Connect

Hundreds of computer stations available that include Adobe Photoshop.

Oldegaard Technology Help Desk and Computer Vet

School of Art Technology Services

School of Art Computer Center: Hours, Location, and Contact Info 



UW workshops for studying softwares
   Link (Links to an external site.)

Barbara London, Jim Stone, Short Course in Digital Photography, Pearson Publishing, 2011: 1st or 2nd edition.

Alsion Carroll, Henry Horenstein, Digital Photography: A Basic Manual, Little Brown, 2011

Taking and Resizing of Digital Images of Coursework 1.
 Digital Photo Quality 2.  Resizing - PS CC - 4.2.15.pdfView in a new window

School of Art Technology Services
School of Art Computer Center: Hours, Location, and Contact Info (Links to an external site.)



Reframing Photography Rebekah Modrake

The Photograph as Contemporary Art  Charlotte Cotton

Blink. 100 Photographers, 10 Curators, 10 Writers (Links to an external site.) Phaidon Press

On Photography  Susan Sontag

Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography  Geoffrey Batchen

Vitamin Ph (New Perspectives in Photography) T.J. Demos

BELIEVING IS SEEING: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography Errol Morris 



Henry Art Gallery photography & video collection on-line:



Emails are welcomed if instructions were not clear in class or have not been addressed satisfactorily on the website; please review the website in regards to schedule, assignments, etc. before writing.



Assessment, Criteria, Weighting...

Assessment is ongoing throughout the quarter. Regular group reviews of your photographic assignments are a valuable and essential component of this class.  Attendance is mandatory at group reviews in the School of Art as they are equivalent to exams in other classes.

There will be no opportunities to submit assignments after the due date in the group review except for: (1) University sanctioned events (verification required) or (2) extraordinary circumstances (verification will be required). If you know you are going to miss a review, please notify us as soon as possible BEFORE the review so other arrangements can be made.


Grading Criteria 
will be based upon the quality of

•  conceptual development, adventurousness and originality

•  how well your work responds to the assignment

•  formal choices

•  technical resolution

•  how cohesive the images are as a group (in assignments of 2 images or more)

•  care and effort invested


In addition to the merit of your photographic work, assessment will also be based upon written exercises and your on-line contributions as reflections of engagement, participation and critical thinking.  

The expectation and requirement is that you are creating your own visual work and writing your own words (see the School of Art Policies on plagiarism, which includes written and visual content). Significantly copying or presenting someone else’s images as your own is grounds for failure.

Do not use images taken before the quarter began.

Print assignments will be turned into the lab section in which you are registered.  Assignments will NOT be accepted by email, so submit files on Canvas for online assignments - and studio print assignments will be turned in during your review session. Please put your name on every piece submitted.


3 Major Printed Assignments*   4.0 scale - 75% 

1. Place B                                    25%      Digital prints (Min. 5)    Due Week 3      

2. The Constructed Image             25%      Digital prints (4-5)        Due Week 6   

3. Timeline                                   25%      Digital prints (Min. 5)    Due Week 9     


Response Assignments*   4.0 scale - 20%

4. Place A                                       5%     On-line submission

5. Cliché                                         5%     On-line submission

6. Night Moves                                5%     On-line submission                   

7. Photogram Workshop                   5%     B/W prints   


Points - 5%

8.   Lighting Workshop                         10         On-line submission

9.  Digital Imaging Workshop I            10        On-line submission

10.  Proposal for Final (About Time)         10        On-line submission

11.  Participation                                   20       On-line submissions & participation in discussions, including

Jake (5) / Henry Art Gallery (5)  On-line submission & paper handouts in class & galleries  

12.   +5 for First Thursday Gallery Visit




The highest possible performance in all aspects of the course with work exemplifying exceptional quality. Exhibits outstanding creative potential.


Exhibits creative potential with superior performance in most aspects of the course; high quality in the remainder. Well prepared for subsequent courses in the field.


High performance in most aspects of the course. Very good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field. Exhibits some creative potential.


Good performance in some of the course; satisfactory performance in the remainder. Exhibits some creative potential. Good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field


Demonstrates the minimum amount of research needed to complete the course with satisfactory performance.


Met basic requirements in most of the course, with the remainder being somewhat substandard.


Holistic Rubric for Photography Assignments 


The work contains strong evidence of addressing a cohesive, clear concept relevant to the assignment. Evidence of excellent inventive and adventurous conceptual and technical problem solving. Excellent formal choices and technical proficiency that effectively supports the concept of the work. Evidence of significant effort, commitment and care in production of the work. 


The work contains evidence of addressing a cohesive, clear concept relevant to the assignment. Evidence of inventive conceptual and technical problem solving. Very good formal choices and technical proficiency that effectively supports the concept of the work. Evidence of effort, commitment and care in production of the work. 

2-2.7       73-80

Satisfactory evidence of addressing a cohesive, clear concept relevant to the assignment but could be more highly resolved. Good formal choices and technical proficiency. Some risk-taking and effort in coming up with unique solutions evidenced.  

.7-1.9      60-72

The student fulfilled the assignment with some evidence of addressing a cohesive, clear concept relevant to the assignment. Fair to poor technical proficiency and does not appear to have much effort invested in it. The work is predictable, concept static and could be developed further. 

Catalog Description: 
Introduces theory, techniques, and processes of still photography in an artistic context. Emphasizes photography's creative potential.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:21pm