Digital Arts VSAR 302

Digital Photography VSAR 302


DIGITAL Photography VSAR 302

Digital Photography Course Objectives:

ARTS 239: Monday 5:30- 9:20PM

Nancy C. diBenedetto l Blog

Office Hours: Tuesday 3:30-5:30 in ARTS 335

Telephone: 714-420-8403


Digital Photography investigates a broad range of photographic practices and contemporary artists who use digital media as a tool for contemporary photographic practices. In this course we will study and practice the language of photography. 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. This includes both technical skills and developing your “eye”- your personal aesthetics. This course uses digital cameras, personal computers and image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop with Camera Raw, to create and edit digital photographs. Students learn to use digital still cameras and to work with editing tools, including Lightroom 5 and InDesign, to produce individual and collaborative weekly projects.

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, guest speakers, research, presentations, and photography/writing projects.

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

Students will learn to use DSLR in manual mode and then experiment with other modes. Students will learn shallow depth of field and low light night photography. 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 or Photoshop, to create various series of photographs: black and white, cross-processed, and desaturated. 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.

Attendance: Please do not attend class is you are ill with the flu or a bad cold. Just let me know via email. We all will love you for not joining us that week. Attendance is based on CSUSM policy and will be applied in this class. If you are not going to attend, please send an email before class or you will be marked with an unexcused absence. Class attendance and participation is mandatory!!! Two unexcused absences will result in lowering your final grade. Classroom Participation in discussions and helpful collaboration with your peers will account for 15% of your final grade.

We also will explore the work of contemporary digital artists and photographers and their documentary and experimental uses of digital media. In addition, you will be attending two photographic exhibitions at MOPA shortly after February 20.

The class is conducted as a workshop: all students must participate actively and consistently. Part of the class will be devoted to the work of contemporary photographers, and to the development and discussion of your projects.

Contemporary Photographers: You will visit the current photography exhibition at MOPA as well as the upcoming exhibition, and write @250 words/one page about each of the two exhibitions. You will post your writing on your blog to help fulfill the CSUSM Writing Requirement.

Learning Outcomes A:

Learn the language:

Digital 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 Creative Cloud using Bridge CC, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and InDeign CC, photo imaging and organizing software. You will learn to edit and enhance your photographs, and you will learn the use of digital imaging tools including scanners and additional software including InDesign Plug-In, the book publishing software at Learning will take place via classroom lectures, demonstrations, online tutorials at and with Julieanne Kost. We will also as well as discussions and critiques of the projects that you will complete for the class. You will develop skills by learning techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop, including HDR imaging, formal and informal lighting techniques outdoors and in the studio, uses of layer masks and blending modes, use of plug-ins such as Nik software, among other techniques.

Printing and hanging: You will learn to prepare your images as single images for printing, and use CSUSM’s hi-end HP printer on the 2nd floor of the Kellogg Library, as well as researching and using the commercial printing capabilities of online printers, or COSTCO’s printers, the classes’ printers of choice.

Contemporary Artists: Through classroom lectures, discussion, screenings, and web research, we will explore contemporary landscape photographers and environmental portrait photographers, as well as artists who do artwork about the land and environment. 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.


Throughout the semester you will keep a daily/weekly personal BLOG, electronic portfolio, of your ideas, drawings, photographs, dream fragments, etc. which will act a source for your creative process. You will write posts on all the films and classroom presentations on various photographers on your blog. I frequently will ask you to “freewrite” about the images and videos we are viewing in class, and then to share those thoughts with others after posting what you have written. You will also write a two page post about your MOPA visit, one on Flor Garduño, and the other focusing on one photographer whose work is compelling to you from the America’s Cathedrals exhibition. You will research and study their work, and then write on your blog about the work in relation to your own: what inspires you about the photographer’s work, how has their work has influenced your way of seeing and photographing the world, etc.

Contemporary Artists: Through classroom lectures, discussion, screenings, and web research, you will explore contemporary digital artists and photographers, and their documentary 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: You will visit a photography museum, Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) , and will study contemporary photographers online. You will write about 2 online photographers that will serve as inspiration for you Book Project or own practice in the art field. If you cannot attend MOPA, you will have to attend the Anneberg Space of Photography in Los Angeles.

Student Learning Outcomes B

Using the Language/Creating Artwork: For the class, you will complete the following four projects:


1. Photo Boot: Off-site location, setting up and photographing the community around you.

2. Weekly Blog

3. Final Book Project: which will include a substantial amount of writing/poetry/reflection about your relationship to the images you have produced.This comes for an inspiration from yourself or what goals you have your future as an artist.

4. Proposal paper 4-5 pages about your execution for your final book project.


Julianne Kost: Getting Started with Lightroom

Julianne Kost: Recent Lightroom Tutorials

Julianne Kost: What’s New in Lightroom CC

access to 5 software programs for the class


– Letters to a young Artist- By Peter Nesbelt (Editor) or

– Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts-For Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind Paperback – January 24, 2006

by Anna Deavere Smith


Every course carrying degree credit at CSUSM must have a writing component that can be achieved in a variety of ways depending on the course. The writing requirement for each individual student will vary by course units, as follows:

3 units and up = 2,500 words (approximately 10 pages)

2 units = 1,700 words

1 unit = 850 words

Thus, each student will write a minimum of 850 words for a one-unit course, a minimum of 1,700 words for a two-unit course, or a minimum of 2,500 words for courses of three units or more. All writing will be in English or a written language that meets the university’s “Language Other Than English Requirement” (LOTER).

The Dean of Graduate Studies may exempt certain graduate courses from this requirement.


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.


Information on what constitutes plagiarism can be found at:


Disruptions are not tolerated. Read for complete information.


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—you will be marked absent for the class meeting. I encourage a strong sense of commitment to the class, which will be apparent in your work and reflected in your grade.

EQUIPMENT CHECK-OUT: 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 hi-end digital cameras, which must be able to shoot in Camera Raws or check out our Canon cameras from ARTS 239. You can reserve the equipment online. We will spend the second week working with the cameras to familiarize you with them, but you must also spend time with the manuals. We will go over check-out times and rules.


You will create a personal blog site, your electronic portfolio for this class, for your writing and for uploading and reflecting upon your photos. The class will use


a) ALWAYS back-up your work. Systems crash when least expected. It’s a good idea to make two backups on different media, as storage media are occasionally unstable. This is an important habit to develop when working with any digital media.



1) Hard-drive

2)Two Diptych/ Triptych: 8×12

3) DSLR Camera

4) Print a 30-50—page book: you will use the 8 x 10 format in either landscape or portrait mode, or the 7 x 7 format. At least 6 double-page spreads are required in your books.

Lab Access

Arts 239 is open so you can do your homework assignments. Hours are posted on the door. 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.


5% Prints

10% Museum Visits

15% Participation / Tutorials

15% Project Proposal Essay

15% PhotoBooth

20% Blog

20% Final Book Project


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