Digital Photo Sketchbook 2018

VSAR 314   FALL  2018   TUESDAYS   5-8:45 pm
Office Hours: Weds 3:30-5:30
Deborah Small Blog

Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations must be approved for services by providing appropriate and recent documentation to the Office of Disabled Student Services (DSS). This office is located in Craven Hall 5205, and can be contacted by phone at (760) 750-4905, or TTY (760) 750-4909. Students authorized by DSS to receive reasonable accommodations should meet with me during my office hours in order to ensure confidentiality.

Students will be expected to adhere to standards of academic honesty and integrity, as outlined in the Student Academic Honesty Policy.  All assignments must be original work, clear and error-free. All ideas/material that are borrowed from other sources must have appropriate references to the original sources.  Any quoted material should give credit to the source and be punctuated accordingly.

Information on what constitutes plagiarism can be found at:

Writing Center Infographic
The Writing Center’s mission is to be a welcoming learning environment where certified student consultants offer constructive guidance to all writers at any stage of the writing process – idea generation, argument development, polishing of sentences and more. FREE tutoring is available at the Writing Center by certified student consultants. The WC helps you review the prompt and ask guiding questions, as students work to develop compelling texts. The WC is committed to providing non-judgmental feedback. Additional services include assistance with Academic English.

Disruptions are not tolerated. Read for complete information.

“Students may not record (audio or video) in this class except in accordance with ADA accommodations. Any recordings made in connection with a disability accommodation are for the student’s personal academic use only and may not be distributed in any manner to any other individual.”

Our four hour class meetings require your complete attention. If you engage with the class by: doing work from other classes, surfing the web, facebook, youtube, gaming, texting, taking calls, hiding behind a personal computer or tablet, listening to music, chatting online, or otherwise avoiding participation—I will mark you absent for the class meeting. A strong sense of commitment to the class will be apparent in your work and reflected in your grade.

EQUIPMENT CHECKOUT: Chad Huggins and Albert Rascon
You may only check out equipment during the posted hours. Checkout hours are posted on the door to Arts 239.
Chad Huggins: Instructional Support Technician III
PH: (760) 750-8052   Fax: (760) 750-3090

Use your own digital cameras, or check out our terrific Canon cameras from ARTS 239, as well as our incredible lenses, tripods, pano tripods, lighting kits, etc.

 Still cameras can be checked out starting the second week of the semester. We will spend the second week working with the cameras to familiarize you with them, but you must also spend time with the manuals. Albert Rascon, director of check-out, will go over check-out times and rules during the second class session.

You will need an external hard drive:
You can check out your own hard drive from arts 239 check-out area, but this is no longer the best option!


Arts 239 is open so you can do your homework assignments. Hours are posted on the door. I will also send everyone’s name to public safety, and you can call using the phone outside the lab and they will come to let you in. Labs are open 24/7, except when a class is in session. Please never let anyone in if you don’t recognize them. All software is also available on computers in the library on the 2nd floor.

You will create a personal blogwhich ultimately is your electronic portfolio for this class, for your writing, your commentary about the artists and photographers we discuss, and your reflections on all of the in-class screenings. You also will upload and reflect upon your photos weekly. The class will use

Digital Photo Sketchbook investigates a broad range of artistic practices and contemporary artists who use digital media as a tool for contemporary photographic practices. Students experiment with different conceptual approaches to art making and develop aesthetic strategies for engaging audiences. Students learn to use digital still cameras and mobile devices for their experimental work. Projects may include alternative space and online exhibitions of their photographs, blogs, and the production on an online-published portfolio/book of the strongest of their of experimental works. The class combines lectures, screenings, group discussions, research, presentations, and photography/writing projects.

Students work with different experimental approaches to art making and develop aesthetic strategies for engaging audiences. Students learn to use digital still cameras and to work with editing tools, including Lightroom, to produce individual and collaborative weekly projects.

Each week, students will be assigned a project, or sketch, to help kick-start their creativity and/or break out of their creative comfort zones. 

One week, students will experiment shooting using aperture priority mode and shallow depth of field, another week shutter priority and motion blur. Students will shoot HDR images and composite them in Photoshop as well as stitch together panoramic photos.

Students will experiment shooting at what photographers term the magic hour: sunrise and sunset, when the quality of light is very different, or magic. Another sketch involves assembling  a grid of photos shot with cell phones and unified by post-production Lightroom filter treatments.

Students will experiment in post-production in Lightroom to create various series of photographs: black and white, cross-processed, and desaturated. In addition they well learn to use the cutting-edge plug-ins in the Google Nik Collection to further enhance their images. Students will explore ways to combine their text and images in a provocative and compelling manner, then will produce a mid-term project that is the culmination of their experimentation.

Assessment: Students will be assessed through regular responses to the readings, screenings, lectures, final project proposal and their final project culmination.

LEARNING OUTCOME A: Learn digital languages:
Cameras: In this class, students will learn to use DSLR cameras, mobile devices and/or throwaway cameras to create weekly photographic sketches, a mid-term and final project, as well as an on-going blog.
Software: You will become sophisticated users of Adobe Lightroom, photo imaging and organizing software, as well as Adobe Photoshop to edit and enhance your photographs, and you may learn the use of digital imaging tools including scanners and BookSmart, the book publishing software at Learning will take place via classroom lectures, demonstrations, online tutorials at, and discussions and critiques of the weekly projects that you will complete for the class.
Printing: You will print at COSTCO or somewhere similar: best quality and price.

LEARNING OUTCOME B: Critically analyze the artwork of others and your own
Through classroom lectures, discussion, screenings, and web research, you will explore contemporary digital artists and photographers, and their traditional and experimental uses of digital media. By viewing and discussing a broad range of artistic practices, you will learn how art making is a means to discover and develop your ideas about the world and to extend the power, clarity, and range of your voice and vision.

Contemporary Photographers: I may assign you to visit MOPA, Museum of Photographic Arts, or another local museum to see photographs.

LEARNING OUTCOME C: Use Digital Language and Tools/Creating Art Projects: 
You will create four projects over the semester

1. Blog: You will use your blog for all thoughts, ideas, research, etc., for your projects. This is the place for you to develop your ideas and to post your on-going projects and experiments. We will spend lots of time on developing your blogs, as this is your online portfolio
2. Weekly Photo Sketch / Experiments uploaded to your blog for viewing online
3. Triptych: print a triptych or grid at Costco  16″ x 20″
4. Funes Digital Arts Competition: You will submit online to the annual competition your best photographs and write a blog post about why you chose the particular images you submitted.
5. Final Project: Website portfolio of best images for the semester in 22slides, Format, etc.

Blog: Throughout the semester you will keep a daily/weekly personal BLOG, aka an electronic portfolio, of your ideas, research, links drawings, photographs, etc. which will act a source for your creative process. You will write posts on all of the class presentations on your blog. I frequently will ask you to “freewrite” about the images and videos we are looking at in class, and then to share those thoughts with others after posting what you have written. In addition to the blog, you also will upload your photos on a photo-sharing site such as Flickr, and link your blog to Facebook and other social media sites of your choosing.


: This course is conducted as a workshop: all students must participate actively and consistently. Much of the class will be devoted to the work of other artists and to the development and discussion of your projects. Part of your final evaluation will focus on your ability to respond thoughtfully to other students’ artwork and your ability to work collaboratively with each other.

For this reason, it is essential that you attend class regularly. I will take attendance at the beginning and at the end of each class. Class attendance and participation is mandatory!!! Classroom Participation in discussions and helpful collaboration with your peers will account for 20% of your final grade. 

: The course includes the Visual and Performing Arts Department’s Arts Events Attendance Requirement.

On your blogs, you also will write about 2 other photographers whose work inspires you from the Annenberg Space for Photography

All of your writing should be in the form of a first person personal narrative about your reaction and relationship to the work or the online site. Again, each entry for these 3 photographers should be @ 250 words, or the equivalent of a page in Word.

Throughout the semester, you will use your blog to reflect upon and write about the artists we view in class and your ideas for your art projects, and your art process, etc. I am interested in the quality of YOUR think and reflections, your ability to make comparisons among the various artists we view.

My hope is that at the end of the semester, you will have a blog you are proud of, and that can be used and/or expanded for a graduate school portfolio or job application in the industry.

I am interested in the quality of your images; that is, your ability to perform key image edits and enhancements that we will cover. You will also be evaluated on the content of your images, as well as the coherence and originality of your ideas.

30%   Blog: Weekly sketches, overall posts, events, writing, photos: evaluated for completeness, design, engagement, ease of access, tagging
10%    Grid or Triptych
10%    Funes Competition
30%    Final Photo Portfolio Website Project at 22slides or another site
20%    Class Participation