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This course will introduce the elements of photography and explore its impact and various applications as a vehicle to convey a visual message. Students will learn the operation of cameras and the principles of composition, lighting and depth of field. The student will be introduced to the concepts of portraiture, narrative and documentary issues.

Photography is a fundamental component of graphic design. It is also a medium that most people are at least familiar with. In teaching Introduction to Photography, I choose to emphasize this continuum, the idea that something considered reflexive and commonplace can also be persuasive and engaging. This class is divided into three components: technical, critical and narrative. The course begins by discussing the technical aspects of image making. Students become familiar with aperture and shutter speed, how digital cameras create an image, issues of lighting and color space. Each week these principles are applied to both group shoots and individual projects.

Weekly readings about famous historical photographers ground the technical education. After looking at the work of a given photographer, students are asked to produce photographs in the same style. Spending a few hours as Diane Arbus or Edward Weston provides students with a practical application for their new techniques.

The class is primarily digital which allows for an accelerated pace of production. Printed photos demonstrating specific formal and conceptual characteristics are produced and critiqued each week. This critiquing and discussing evolves into understanding of both the formal elements of structure and the conceptual elements of narrative. Final portfolios are compiled using selections from these various types of assignments.

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