Print Version

Effective: Summer 2015

Advisory: Advisory: PHOT 1 or 5.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
1 hour lecture. (12 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Student will create a small group of photographs inspired by the technique or subject of a documentary photographer or research and write a short paper responding to the historical contribution of a documentary photographer.
  • Student will explore and use a new photographic technique that improves his/her chances of success when photographing subjects in “the street.”
Description -
Investigation of a specific aspect or topic of photography through discussion and demonstration by the instructor(s) in the field.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Gain in-depth understanding of documentary photography.
  2. Learn to use the equipment or technique demonstrated.
  3. Apply techniques and approaches learned to other class assignments and related topics in photography.
  4. Gain an appreciation of contributions from diverse cultures and backgrounds to the topic of photography being explored.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
A lecture room equipped for listening to audio tapes and viewing motion pictures, slides, and video tapes; access to camera equipment and functioning laboratory areas for instructor demonstration and student experimentation; chemicals and facilities for mixing and storing same; access to computer hardware and software for instructor demonstrations and student experimentation.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Detailed explanation of documentary photography.
    1. Historical examples and precedents drawn from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  2. Comprehensive demonstration of the uses of equipment.
    1. Testing and/or experimentation by student as appropriate.
    2. Field sessions to use or demonstrate equipment as appropriate.
  3. Applications of equipment used and skills demonstrated
    1. Fine arts applications.
    2. Guest lectures by visiting artists as appropriate.
    3. Field trips to appropriate documentary sites
  4. Practical use of equipment or technique demonstrated
    1. Availability and costs of equipment.
    2. Risks associated with technique or equipment demonstrated.
  5. Ethics of photographing persons in disadvantaged situations
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Quizzes and hands-on examinations as appropriate.
  2. A written paper analyzing the topic is required as a summation of the course experience.
  3. Produce a set of photographs that demonstrate knowledge of the importance of the documented site, i.e., historical preservation, prevention of further health violations, preservation of the environment, etc.
Representative Text(s) -
Langford, Michael & Andrews, Philip. Langford's Starting Photography, 6th Edition. Massachusetts, USA: Elsevier/Focal Press, 2009.

NOTE: This book remains a seminal text and although it has not been updated by the publishers since 2009, the information contained therein is still relevant and current for this area of study.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
Lecture, Discussion, Field work, Electronic discussions/chat, Laboratory, Demonstration, Field trips.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading of books on documentary photographers
  2. Written paper comparing styles and concerns of documentary photographers, i.e., Eugene Atget, E.J. Bellocq, Dorothea Lange, Sebastiao Salgado
  3. Lectures by documentary photographers
  4. Visit exhibitions by documentary photographers
  5. Visit online resources and websites of documentary photographers
  6. Post images to online blog or website for discussion and feedback
  7. Produce photographs that demonstrate competency with equipment and knowledge of the documentary issue(s) surrounding the people or site.