Print Version

Effective: Summer 2014

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Honors Institute participant.
Advisory: Advisory: Not open to students with credit in PHOT 10.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Student will analyze a selected photographer's images and then discuss and present the photographer's life work in terms of how it has both reflected and helped shape our culture.
  • Student will assess the contributions made in this field by people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
Description -
The history of still photography from the earliest investigations of the camera obscura to late 20th Century electronic imaging. Emphasis on the role of photographs as a social and cultural force and on our artistic heritage of camera work. The honors course offers an enriched and challenging experience for the more talented student, including deeper content, more rigorous grading, and more demanding and creative assignments requiring application of higher-level thinking, writing, and communication skills.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Analyze historic images to understand their technological and cultural significance.
  2. Evaluate how the photograph as an inexpensive and reproducible picture affected Nineteenth and Twentieth Century culture.
  3. Assess how photography influenced historic and modern painting and graphics and how those media, in turn, affect photography.
  4. Identify the major photographers through their photographs and philosophies.
  5. Compare and contrast the major photographic practitioners and photographic movements
  6. Analyze how contributions of photographers from different cultures and backgrounds contributed to the richness and diversity of modern photography.
  7. Examine own photographic work in relation to the photographers and styles presented during the course.
  8. Investigate how the technical evolution of the medium occurred and how techniques and technology affect reportage and vision.
  9. Appraise and critique in writing the important qualities of a photograph and compare and contrast one photograph to another.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus: lecture room equipped for slide projection, computer projection, and video/dvd presentation.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access: On-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities; Email address; Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Pre-history and inception of photography.
    1. The camera obscura.
    2. Early photochemical experiments.
    3. Daguerre, Fox-Talbot and the early experimenters.
  2. Technical evolution in the nineteenth century.
    1. Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes.
    2. Collodion glass plate process.
    3. Dry plates.
    4. Kodak and the rollfilm camera.
  3. Technical evolution in the twentieth century.
    1. Advances in optics and film sensitivity.
    2. The 35mm camera.
    3. Color films.
    4. Digital imaging.
  4. Major photographers and photographic genre.
    1. Landscape photography, portraiture, documentary and other genre.
    2. Photo Secession, The West Coast School, Formalism, New Photographics.
    3. Journalism, Documentary photography and the evolution of war photography.
    4. Censorship, cultural bias and freedom of expression.
    5. Commerce and photography: the gallery system, magazine and value
    6. Contemporary and evolving trends.
  5. Writing about photography
    1. Vocabulary of critical writing.
    2. Methods of discussion and comparison in art history.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Objective and subjective quizzes, slide identification, written papers, reviews of gallery visits.
  2. The honors course requires additional in-class portfolio consisting of lecture-note-taking, individual responses to discussion prompts, and personal reflections; expository essays requiring research, integration, and synthesis; and choice of creative project reflective of course content such as creation of photographs, web-page design, or class presentation.
Representative Text(s) -
Mary Warner Marien, Photography: A Cultural History. 3rd Ed, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
During periods of lecture and demonstration, students will learn of the historical and technical developments in photography. The use of field trip(s) to galleries and museums will present students with the opportunity to see relevant works up close for more intensive study of the images. Online instruction presented via lectures and discussion forums. Quizzes and exams will help students to test and solidify their knowledge.
Lab Content -
Field trips to museums and galleries, emulation of historic images in traditional or digital darkroom, online discussion and critique/feedback to other student writing.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Essay responses to textbook, supplemental readings, lectures and gallery/museum visits. Short paper 5- 8 pages on a photographer or photo historical topic.
  2. Readings from a selection of books. Some examples: A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks; On Photography by Susan Sontag; Photographers on Photography: A Critical Anthology by Nathan Lyons; Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values by Robert Adams