Paul W. Pearce


Office Hours:  Reisman 1st floor adjunct office 

Tu/Th  2:30-3:30 pm

SA 161 Photo 1   

Tu Th 11:00am - 1:50pm  Reisman 06

3 Credits (CS)


Course Description:

Photography: "Light Writing" (from Greek) Seeing & Communicating.

Photography and the graphic arts convert our 3 dimensional world into a flat 2 dimensional plane on a screen or piece of paper.

The photo industries continue to make photography easier and easier- continuing Kodak’s 1888 proclamation “You press the button, we do the rest”. Until that point in time a photographer had to be part inventor, chemist and physicist.  Today, photography has evolved into an easy, automatic “point and shoot” practice that even small children can master. We now have the rapidly changing world of digital imaging, in many cases this is at the expense of losing control over the creative process.

This course will go back in technological time and strip away some of the automatic interface that makes “picture taking” easy. We will put back some of the work but reveal much of the mystery behind image making.  This will develop a deeper understanding of the basic process and impart more artistic control of the creative image making process. 

Digital and traditional film photography are similar in many ways which we will explore. We will concentrate on the “wet darkroom” and  integrate digital in the class to facilitate understanding.

Learning the fundamental mechanical and chemical photographic principals will facilitate the move to digital or more advanced photography using larger format cameras and film.

Early “Art photography” started as an attempt to mimic traditional art paintings and prints. It has evolved into a vibrant independent  art form, an exciting and profound vehicle for artistic expression.

Our goal is to empower each photographer to develop a personal style and visual form of expression.                                                    


Course Objectives:

To enhance the way we look at the world around us, to learn to use photography to create art in two dimensions. To become aware of the affects of light and shadow. To appreciate the photo work of others.

Using camera controls to go beyond the snapshot, creating images that our eye can’t see.

To develop awareness of the use and effect of photographic images in our society. Going beyond the “pretty picture”.

Become familiar with the basic history of creating images through photography.

To acquire the knowledge and skills to create basic black and white photographs through three parallel paths of understanding:

1] processes: cameras, exposures, developing

2] aesthetics: exerting artistic control, refining your eye; lighting, point of view

3] meaning: is there substance to this image, does it connect with the viewer, on what level?



Course Methods:

- website> will be used for information, links assignments and calendar

  • Class will consist of demonstrations and discussions followed by practical exercises and assignments. There will be darkroom lab sessions during class hours where students work independently with instructor oversight. Students will also need to spend out-of-class time to shoot and develop film. Working during open lab time outside class time is necessary to complete assignments. Students are encouraged to shoot many photographs. An average of one roll of film per week should be shot, processed and proofed.
  • Students will maintain a notebook/journal that will contain class handouts and notes. It will also contain negatives and contact sheets produced for class along with annotations about shooting the film, and notes about prints from these negatives.
  • Students will provide their own camera, tripod, film and paper. They will learn about different camera types and will be assisted in acquiring new equipment if necessary.
  • Students will do research and create original work reflecting the work of established artists that inspire them.
  • Students will demonstrate their mastery of photography with a final collection of work assembled in a simple portfolio (grouping) for evaluation.


There will be in class critiques. The critiques serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas as they relate to the class assignment.  Attendance is mandatory.

This work will be graded on: individual progress and growth throughout the semester, originality, craftsmanship, technique, level of challenge and concept. The other part of your grade depends on your effort, class participation, and , especially, your sense of exploration; that is, your willingness to take risks in the process of creating art.

The typical “A” student is a responsible and active learner who doesn’t take shortcuts. He or she will follow all steps in the creative process, not opting for an easy out when the project becomes difficult; will hand work in on time; will participate fully in class; will ask questions; will do extra work for the sheer pleasure and need to learn. As a result, his/her work will show considerable growth beyond previous technical, expressive and conceptual capabilities.



Assignments are collected and evaluated according to the following criteria:

1. Successful completion of project requirements - late work will be penalized 

2. Quality of production 

3. Conceptual development of art work 

4. Participation in critiques and discussions


Grades are broken down by: 1. Technical  2. Formal 3. Assignment goal  4. Effort/Challenge/Creativity

Class Participation/Presentation will be factored into your grade.

Each criterion is measured on a scale of 1-4. (4= excellent; 3=good; 2=average; 1=poor; 0=unsatisfactory)


Final Grades

In-Class -Homework / Assignments 40%,  Quiz  10%, Final Portfolio  25%’ Personal exhibition final project 25%

A/A- Excellent. Demonstrated a full understanding of techniques, concepts, and theories covered in class; exceeds class expectations, self-motivated and challenged; attends and participates in classes regularly. Submitted new work (not assignment submissions) for the final portfolio.

B+/B/B- Good. Has completed the assignment well and attended classes and critiques.

C+/C/C- Average. Has completed the assignments, but without much effort and challenge.

D+/D/ Poor.

F Failing. Not met the requirements of the class.


Academic Honesty Policy:

Plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Make sure you know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.  Any student who turns in plagiarized work will fail the course.  A description of plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are to be found at Go to Academics and click on Academic Policies.


Special Needs

Special needs students who require accommodations in classroom or outside work or test taking procedures should notify the Office of Special Services (ext. 7176). Communicate with the instructor as soon as possible to put these accommodations in place in and out of the classroom.


Photo Lab use policy:

A comprehensive lab use policy will be created and posted online and in the respective photo areas defining use of spaces and equipment in the photo area.

All students should become familiar with and follow the photo area use policies.


Attendance Policy:

Three absences will not count against you during the semester; each additional absence will result in a grade level deduction. Two late arrivals count as an absence. If you are sick you will be considered absent unless you have a doctor’s note. You know the dates and times of the class, do not schedule appointments that conflict with class-time. Missing 5 or more classes will result in a failing grade for the class. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to check the website and a classmate so you can be prepared for the next class. If you know you will be absent, notify the professor in advance. Missing a class even with prior approval is still counted as an absence. Quizzes cannot be made up without prior permission from the professor.


 Equipment and Supplies needed:

35mm camera with manual controls, (focus, shutter, aperture) normal 45-55mm lens NO POINT-and-SHOOTS

      extra batteries for your camera, instruction manual


Magnifying glass -small magnifier or loupe for checking negatives and proof sheets

Text:  A Short Course in Photography by Barbara London and Jim Stone (Optional but recommended)


      Film:10-14 rolls 35mm 36 exposure 400 speed  ( Kodak TMAX 400, Kodak Tri-X, Ilford Hp5, 400 Delta

      Paper: 8 x 10", glossy, resin coated (100 sheets) Kodak Polycontrast RC, Ilford Multigrade

      Negative files: 1 per roll to file and store negatives

      Print files: clear page protectors to store prints, contact sheets (office supply stores)

      Dry mount tissue (at least 3 sheets): to mount prints (needed later in class- share a package with classmate)

      Mat board (5), 11 x 14"white or off white (needed later in class)(cut from full sheet 32”X40”)

      3-ring binder

      Hand towel(s), gloves- if you have  sensitive skin

Fine  black sharpie

Magnifying Glass or loupe

Lens cleaning tissue or microfiber cleaning cloth

CNY Sources for equipment and supplies:

      Ra-Lins 625 Burnet Ave, Syracuse, New York 13203, 315-472-7872

      M & Q Camera, 226 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13203 (315) 471-3103

      Johnson Camera 6565 Kinne Rd. De Witt, NY 13214

On-Line : B & H Photo/Video, NYC  Mail order: 1-800-947-7785;

               Freestyle Photo Supplies /


There are many other on-line suppliers of photo supplies - consider buying in bulk with classmates to save money.



Assignments should be completed to the best of your ability, according to the project criteria, and handed in on time. Each assignment is due on the date given, so everyone may participate in the critique. The grade will be lowered if work is handed in late. Once a grade is given, the assignment may be reworked or redone and resubmitted for re-grading (with 1 grade penalty). Incomplete projects receive an F.

Critiques/ Participation

Attendance and participation in critiques is essential for the successful completion of this class. A missed critique will result in a failed grade on the project. Participation and presentation during the critique is considered on project evaluations.


A simple portfolio (collection of matted prints) is due at the end of the semester, during the last week of classes. The work is to be printed and presented in a professional manner, using the presentation requirements specified. It will be reviewed and returned to you during finals week. The contents of the portfolio will be specified later in the course.

Lab Duties

You are expected to keep the lab and studio area clean and orderly. Be sure to leave your enlarger station neat. Do not put wet items around the enlarger areas. Clean and stack trays. Notify instructor or monitor if something is broken. At the end of the semester, you will be required to do community lab service. Each student will receive an assigned task to be completed before you pick up your final portfolio.


Class Work and Assignments:

There will be some flexibility in the assignments depending on how well the class progresses. The assignments listed below may be modified, expanded, or eliminated to make the best use of our time together. The goal is to establish an enriched and rewarding relationship to photography. We should also strive to keep the experience gratifying and enjoyable.


• Orientation to image making with light. Photograms, contact prints, pinhole camera experiments.

• Camera Familiarization - Shoot random subjects, mixed lighting, indoor-outdoor for camera evaluation and basic processing skills. Goal- printable negatives, clean, filed.

• Directional Light- eliminate clutter in the image, concentrate on form, design and the effects of directional light, different qualities of light- include shadows.

• Movement control, use of shutter speed, freeze motion and motion within frame. Use a tripod or other camera support. Capture the same subject using different motion controls

• Depth of field, show selective focus, use of aperture

• Photographs of People - Portraits and Candids; cooperation between photographer and subject and “the human condition” - people in the environment

• Experimental approaches (double exposure, negative sandwich, multiple exposures in enlarger.

• “Inspired By” Thematic project, research based. Create your own work based on another artist’s body of work. Artist statement, documentation, presentation for class

• Personal exhibition - a thematic collection of images dealing with an issue or cohesive concept, with a written artist statement.


You will keep a log-sheet/record of all the film you shoot and develop (including mistakes and disasters)

Your processed film is a record of your work and an indicator of your process in taking photographs. Contact sheets (proper proofs) are required as a record of your work and as a way to evaluate your techniques and creativity without making prints from every frame. 

Contact sheets (proper proofs)  and your film log must be filed and presented with each assignment.

All contact sheets and your film log will be turned in with your final portfolio on our last class meeting.

Throughout the semester you are encouraged to use your camera to create photographs of personal interest in addition to the class assignments. They may be related to another one of your classes. You might be inspired by some of the examples of other photographers you have seen in class. You can present these photographs for final evaluation along with your assignments.


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