Syllabus 2013 DPD

Digital Photo Documentary SYLLABUS
This syllabus is PROVISIONAL.
Depending on interests of students, level of technology expertise, potential guest artist visits, etc, I’d like you to be flexible so we can accomodate the maximum number of learning possibilities as they arise over the semester.

WEEK 1  08-26
This is freely adapted from Barbara Kopple’s Foreward to The Art of the Documentary:

Documentary has always been about taking the time to go beneath the surface and find the heart of the story. Documentary photographers create unforgettable and entertaining projects that introduce us to people we never would have known, or show us a different side of people we thought we knew already. They take us halfway around the world, or maybe just to the other side of the tracks, but either way, it’s a journey that can change us forever.

What makes this journey possible is collaboration with the subjects of your photographs. Documentary photographers encourage and inspire subjects to tell their stories, and subjects learn to trust the photographer to tell it with honesty and integrity and beauty.

Introductions: Circle naming. As a collaborative class, it’s important for all of us to get to know one another.

Review: course requirements, objectives, and learning outcomes.

Tutorials Software: Chris Orwig and the tutorials at and how we will use the online tutorials for the class.
You will need to sign up when you receive and email from after I send them the official class list.

Create: a BLOG at
Connect your blog to your facebook page?

student projects: content and aesthetics: a balancing act
Michael Sutliff
Tatianna Montoya
Elaine Jamir
Rahim Baker
Lance McCormick
Aubriele Rowe

Julie/Julia scenes 4, 5, 7, 10: a blogcentric film with the blog entries as the voice-over narrator: Why do a blog: besides having more fun than writing papers, you’ll create an electronic portfolio of your work, but also, you might get cool stuff from your readers, meet famous people, get a book contract, with a follow-up of a movie contract.

Blogging: As artists, what are your sources of inspiration? Please be as specific as possible. How do you feed your head/heart/hand, your work/passion/mission?

View: Ed Ou
Getty: watch this

Watch: JR portrait inspiration: Ted Talks: street as canvas, street as museum
Working anonymously, pasting his giant images on buildings, trains, bridges, the often-guerrilla artist JR forces us to see each other. Traveling to distant, often dangerous places — the slums of Kenya, the favelas of Brazil — he infiltrates communities, befriending inhabitants and recruiting them as models and collaborators. He gets in his subjects’ faces with a 28mm wide-angle lens, resulting in portraits that are unguarded, funny, soulful, real, that capture the sprits of individuals who normally go unseen. The blown-up images pasted on urban surfaces – the sides of buildings, bridges, trains, buses, on rooftops — confront and engage audiences where they least expect it. Images of Parisian thugs are pasted up in bourgeois neighborhoods; photos of Israelis and Palestinians are posted together on both sides of the walls that separate them.

JR’s most recent project, “Women Are Heroes,” depicts women “dealing with the effects of war, poverty, violence, and oppression” from Rio de Janeiro, Phnom Penh, Delhi and several African cities. And his TED Prize wish opens an even wider lens on the world — asking us all to turn the world inside out. Visit …

JR’s Transcript
More on JR and Trailer foWomen are Heroes 

JR website

JR’s question: Can art CHANGE the world?
Write: an extended blog entry on JR for the next class

Bring your external harddrive to the next class

WEEK 2  09-02
No class: Labor Day Holiday

WEEK 3  09-09
Albert Rascon visits class to talk about check-out policies for cameras, etc.

Review: blogs and view yours

Watch and Discuss:
Natalie Fobes website, and at 
Salmon Story and 10 year project
“Photographers are the eyes and conscience of society. Our photographs illuminate the dark corners of our cultural and environmental tapestry. These images record, for all time, the split second that the shutter remains open. Life in the present becomes history in the future.”
The Salmon Story to Seeking Out Adventures
BlueEarth Photographer: Phil Borges
Phil Borges: Spirit of Place

New York Times: One in 8 Million

Demo: Introduction to Library and Develop modules in Lightroom; discuss using tutorials

Set up:  external harddrive

View and discuss: former student projects: content and aesthetics: a balancing act

WATCH: Library module and Develop module in Lightroom 5 Essentials at
BRING: cameras and external harddrives to the next class
POST: on your photographer from the Annenberg Space for Photography site that you chose in class

REMEMBER: YOU MUST ATTEND the Pictures of the Year International at MOPA by Sept 22

First MOPA visit
Pictures of the Year International
25 May, 2013 –
22 Sep, 2013

Photojournalists show us a world most people would never get to see.  From war-torn countries to championship sports, their images convey some of the most inspiring moments as well as some of the most heartbreaking.  The Museum of Photographic Arts, through the Pictures of the Year International exhibition, celebrates the power of these images and the people who create them.

Pictures of the Year International is the oldest and most prestigious photojournalismprogram producing the best documentary photography in the world. This competition provides us with a visual portrayal of society and fosters an understanding of the issues facing our civilization. Photojournalists document the news events, social issues, and cultural trends that capture our interest and demand our attention. POYi’s annual contest recognizes their enduring images and sets the gold standard for excellence. More than 48,000 images are submitted with 240 winners selected by a world-renowned panel of expert judges as the very best.

30x: Three Decades
2 Feb, 2013 – 13 Oct, 2013

In 2013, MOPA celebrates 30 years as a museum in Balboa Park dedicated to exhibiting photography, film, and video. Prior to MOPA’s founding in 1983, it existed as the “Center for Photographic Arts,” a nonprofit organization created in the early 1970s which exhibited and promoted photography as an art form. Since its founding, MOPA has presented dynamic world-class photography exhibitions in San Diego and built a world class photography collection. 30x: Three Decades highlights one acquisition from each of MOPA’s 30 years, showcasing a selection of influential figures in the history of photography, including works by Alexander Rodchenko, Loretta Lux, Thomas Struth, Lee Friedlander, Robert Adams, Marian Drew and other influential artists.

Week 4      09-16

BRING: cameras and external harddrives to class

Outdoor shoot : come early as you can, or on time to catch the light
We will shoot in small groups

POST: make sure your post from the Annenberg Space for Photography site is up: we will look at theses
Set up:  a Lightroom catalog on your external harddrive
COVER: Exposure Triangle: Ch 4, 5, 6

COVER: Slideshow module: class photos from today will be presented as a slideshow in Lightroom 5

Create: a story for the Slideshow module project; or use slideshow in WORDPRESS

WEEK 5     09-23
REVIEW: Portrait shoot series: UPLOAD to blog by beginning of class

UPLOAD: by beginning of class: a few images by your chosen photographer from MOPA, or at this point you could review more than one as you narrow down your choice.

Documentary Photo series inspired by MOPA POYI exhibition due: choose a particular artist, research them, and keep them in mind for every aspect of your process; for example, I might choose Narciso Contreras:

narciso contreras

Narciso Contreras“From the Front Lines: Syria”
Narciso Contreras website
DISCUSS: MOPA exhibition: 
come prepared to discuss your favorite image/photographer: you will research and write about them, then we will schedule a piece based on your inspiration.

(from the Course Requirements: Blogsite/Writing
: The course includes the Visual and Performing Arts Department’s Arts Events Attendance Requirement. You are required to ATTEND 3 exhibitions. On your blogsite, you will write an approximately one-page (250 words) narrative reflection about the work of one photographer from each exhibition. 

You also will write about 2 other photographers whose work inspires you. 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 should be @ 250 words, or the equivalent of a page in Word.

WEEK 6     09-30
DISCUSS: print project as a series of 3 prints as triptychs  using Print Module: 9 photos/3 prints inspired by your MOPA artist from the POYi exhibition
DUE 10-14: 3 triptych prints, as well as posted on your blogs; please discuss how your chosen photographer inspired your photographs
“Three by Ed Kashi: Three is a series of triptychs that explore the relationship between individual photographs, rather than relying on teh isolated image. Every day we are surrounded by a cacophony of imagery, and Kashi has used this visual multi-talking to his advantage. Whether they portray off-beat moments of human interaction, the contrast between barren landscapes and over-development, or subtle gestures that become universally significant, these triptychs are captivating visual harmonies that demand our attention.”
Ed Kashi Triptychs
Three video
Ed Kashi Essay re Three
Ed Kashi on Vimeo: Three genesis

Edward Burtynsky : Water

Michael Wolfe: Multiples
Bastard Chairs

Paccarik Orue: There is Nothing Beautiful Around Here

Art Wolfe: grids

Gary Knight:

SCREEN: Julieanne Kost: Adobe Evangelist

Creating Diptychs and Triptychs part 1

Creating Diptychs and Triptychs part 2

Adding Special Effects

CREATE triptychs: 3 triptychs  (3 different prints x 3)
WATCH: Manufactured Landscapes

WEEK 7     10-07
There is no scheduled class time this week.

You will visit MOPA to see the new exhibition, Staking Claim: A California Invitational, anytime this week. Show opens 10-8-13.

Choose one artist who you find compelling from the exhibition. Research that artist, and shoot photos directly inspired by the artist you have chosen.
Create a grid from these photos and a triptych

WEEL 8     10-14
1 TRIPTYCHS DUE: 3 different triptychs, each with 3 images: you will show these at 5 pm at the beginning of class
GO OVER: PRINT MODULE for printing; BOOK MODULE and BLURB for books

WEEK 9    10-21 UPDATE
2. PROPOSAL FOR FINAL DOCUMENTARY PROJECT: POST ON YOUR BLOG with a series of 5-10 explanatory images: YOU WILL SHARE YOUR PROPOSAL WITH THE CLASS, and the accompanying images:
POST by the beginning of class: SEE BElow

4. STAKING CLAIM: you should have seen the exhibition by today

Some suggestions of points you might include in your proposal

• Who is the primary audience for your documentary project?

• What is the story that you want to tell through your photographs and other content elements (interviews, voice-overs, text, sound, music, text panels, etc); i.e., what is the general theme/focus of your project

• What are the smaller stories within your overall story

• What research do you need to do

• Why do you believe your project is worthwhile. How will it add to people’s understanding/appreciateion of your subject. What is unique about your project.

• What equipment will you require: technical needs to photograph and record, print, or project your story: lenses, camera, tripod, audio equipment, software and hardware for post-production, etc

• What form/s will your final project take: publication, exhibition channels:

series of prints
images and text panels
multimedia piece with interviews voice-over, sound, music
large-scale projection in/outdoors
online site

• How will your disseminate your project: how will you promote your project once it is completed

• What will help you to improve the overall quality and effectiveness of your finished project

• Please include a general timeline for your project

More on Book Module with examples from former classes

WEEK 10     10-28
Everyone bring your triptychs to class to hang. I will provide push-pins.
CLASS: Continue documentary project proposals
Those of you who did not have the opportunity to present your proposal will present it this week, along with your progress on your project
Those of you who presented your proposal last week will have the opportunity to show your work in progress

I’d like to hear from everyone about how you envision your final project: book, multimedia, print series, blog, etc.

In class writing/quiz  on Manufactured Landscapes

Screen: former class projects
Bryan Gilmore
Screen: Multimedia projects
Phil Borges: Documentary Photography and Film website
Phil Borges: Blog

Patrick Farrell: website
Patrick Farrell: Pulitzer Prize photo documentary in Haiti

Introduce iMovie

HOMEWORK: continue work on your projects: post to your blogs each week re progress on your projects

WEEK 11     11-04
BLOG POST: Work in Progress on your documentary project: remember, every week you will post your progress report and discuss how your timeline. This should be posted prior to class by 5 pm. Those of you who still have not presented your final project to the class will do so tonight. As this is two weeks after the original project proposal was due, you should have several examples of your work-in-progress, and a fleshed-out timeline.
BOOK ideas: Phil Borges
AUDIO: demo audio tools for multimedia piece with iMovie, or editing software of your choice
Everyone will create a short practice Multimedia slideshow in iMovie, or another video editing software, with their images and audio
All three triptychs should be posted: i will again bring pushpins if you haven’t had the opportunity to put all three up on the lab walls
DISCUSS: I’ll be talking to each of you individually about the progress on your project. 

WEEK 12     11-11
In Class:
BLOG POSTWork in Progress on your documentary projectshow your Multimedia slideshow
1. Your multimedia practice pieces
2.Documentary photographers
DISCUSS: I’ll be talking to each of you individually about the progress on your project.

WEEK 13     11-18
IN CLASS: Everyone will show their work-in-progress to the entire class up at the faculty computer, or will meet with me individually to discuss your work and timeline to make sure your projects will be complete by DEC 2. Remember, there can be no late projects!

Screen: Documentary photographer: Rick Smolan:

Rick Smolan is responsible for some of the largest photographic projects ever undertaken. A former TimeLife, and National Geographic photographer, Rick created the best-selling Day in the Life book series and many other large-scale photographic projects, such as America 24/7, 24 Hours in Cyberspace, and Blue Planet Run. He pushes the boundaries of technology with each new project while delivering inspiring books that tell masterful photographic stories. His projects have been featured on the covers of magazines such as Fortune,TimeNewsweek, and U.S. News & World Report. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside Rick’s latest production, where he reveals his unique processes and shows how he reinvents himself for each new project. —from site

1. Camille Seaman Storm Chaser
2. Camille Seaman Icebergs

HOMEWORK: WATCH Chasing Ice (rent from Amazon)
WORK on Final Project

WEEK 14     11-25
WORK: on Final Project: Discuss your final with other students and with Professor Deborah
DISCUSS Blog presentations for your final presentations: how to title your posts!
DISCUSS and BLOG about Chasing Ice, the movie you watched as homework and Camille Seaman, Storm Chaser and Icebergs, the links above under Week 13
We will recap the theoretical and practical ideas about documentary photography and projects discussed in the this class
“finding your subject”
the long-term nature of some projects
whether or not you might continue with your projects after this class
what other medium might enhance your overall presentation or project
uses of social media

“A worthy subject is the most important discovery for artists—it’s the magnetic passion that burns at the core of their work, attracting or repelling us, and determining whether they will attempt to evoke what is deepest and highest in us.” —artist Alex Grey

WEEK 15     12-02
Final presentation of work

michael sutliff

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