ART 108: Introduction to Photography 4 hours (2, lecture; 2, lab), 3 credits.

ART 108: Introduction to Photography.

4 hours (2, lecture; 2, lab), 3 credits. Theory and practice of analog and digital creative image-making, using current technology. Practical study of exposure, composition, control of color palette, basic photo-editing skills, and digital storage, with attention to the history of photography as an art form. NOTE: Students must have a camera that allows for manual control of shutter and aperture.

This course is designed to introduce the student to photography as a mode of artistic expression. Our ability to express our ideas photographically relies on our understanding of the medium and our ability to use the equipment. We'll begin by reviewing camera technique, light and exposure characteristics. We will utilize manually controllable digital cameras OR color slide film. This course is offered in the art department for a reason. I am interested in you breaking away from the typical "Kodak" moment. Through class discussions, we'll develop ways of responding to other student's work in constructive ways that will help us gain insight into the work as well as providing the photographer the feedback necessary to pinpoint problems. We'll discuss the variety of forms and function photography takes in this society. And through presentations, websites, books, and visits to galleries, we will also become familiar with photo history, contemporary photography and the direction photography may take in the future.

Instructor Information
Terry Towery, Associate Professor
extension 8260

Materials list

Required materials:
intellect, wit and good humor. 

Textbook: In an attempt to defray costs fo the course I have chosen to use online resources in lieu of a text book.
This is a free guide from National Geographic

This is a free ebook that might be helpful Basic Photography by Jeff Curto 

Suggested Text I recommend Upton and London's bookany edition is fine

recommended materials: 

external hard drive dedicated to photography

B&H offers a student discount program B&H Edu

Assessable tasks:
Develop a visual vocabulary  
Introduce visual literacy. 
Apply elements of design.
Use tools and materials effectively.
Create original objects of art in a specific medium.
Select media appropriate to concepts and forms.
Analyze artwork within a personal and historical context.
Demonstrate a step by step problem solving process.
Defend visual projects through individual and group critiques.
Reflect on art after visiting museums, galleries, and artists' studios.

Course Learning Objectives

Students’ ability to meet the course’s learning outcomes will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated proficiency in fundamental digital photographic processes as shown by the student’s ability to shoot, process and output lens-based work
  2. Engagement in the coursework and development of photographic work flow
  3. Attendance
  4. Completion of assignments to specification as described in the syllabus or assignment sheet
  5. Demonstrate an increasing fluency with contemporary lens-based technical processes.
  6. The ability to merge technique and content in lens based images produced for weekly and long term assignments.
  7. Participation in group discussions, field trips, demonstrations, critiques and collaborations

Useful Links:
National Geographic's ultimate photo guide
Strobist lighting guide
Lightroom 5 quick start guide
five easy steps to shoot in manual mode
B&H tutorials page
Photogs rights
Digital photo school
American Suburb X
Photograph Magazine exhibitons listings
26 Seminal Readings on Photogrpahy
digital Rev

Use of Technology and Blackboard Information (if applicable)

I have created this hypersyllabus with many links to external informaton available online. Of course we will all be using a variety of software to archive, edit and present our imagery on the pojector. 

I do not use this ill designed awkward tool. Check the web site devoted to this course for any information.

If you have any questions about your Lehman email address or your password, or if you have any problems accessing the college website please call the computer helpdesk at 718-960-1111.

Grading Policy

There will be weekly assignments that build to larger concepts and there will be four major assignments
Museum visitation reports 10%
Major multiweek Assignments:
15% Scavenger hunt
15% On The Block
15% Directorial
15% open final assignment
10% Oral presentation
10% 7 weekly assignments:
Shoot 100 frames in P
Shoot 100 frames in A
Shoot 100 frames in S
Gray card Assignment
Color Temp assignment
1 minute video
15% Final Portfolio

Critiques are the Art department's equivalent of exams. Be on time and prepared. Missing a critique is the same as missing an exam on a more traditional academic class. There are no make-up critiques as they are conducted as a group discussion.

Assignments must be ready for presentation and grading on time. Every session an assignment is late will count as a grade markdown. You must attend the critique without your work to have the opportunity to re submit it. If you do not attend the critique you fail the assignment. All of the work you submit for grading must be your own. You may not download images, animations, or any other material/graphics/text off of the web. As well, you may not scan material from books or magazines to use in your assignments. Any assignment containing any such material will automatically receive a failing grade. I may request evidence of your creative process - therefore, save and have available any source material that you produced - photographs, sketches, items that you scanned, etc, as well as any intermediate digital files. By doing so, you protect yourself from undue scrutiny.

You are expected to spend considerable amount of time outside of class shooting photographs and working in the lab. It is crucial that you come to class prepared. If you are shooting digitally, you must edit your images and label them appropriately. We simply cannot waste class time while you search for the correct image.

Exhibition visitation reports: You must do TWO photography exhibition reports. These should be more than one, but not more than two, double spaced pages. I want you to see and experience photography first hand and not through reproduction. Photography in New York is the best place to find out about exhibitions.

Attendance Policy 

Attendance is REQUIRED. If you miss more than three sessions you fail this course. Students are expected to attend all class sessions and be prepared and on time for the beginning of the class session. This may mean doing outside preparation PRIOR to class such as editing your images for presentation. Classes begin on time, so be in the classroom at the scheduled hour. Additionally, each class will contain information pertinent to the assignments, and each week builds upon information learned the previous weeks, so, make the commitment to be here for the classroom sessions or do not take the class.

Class starts on time. It is your responsibility (DURING THE BREAK) to make sure I put you on the rolls if you arrive late 
3 lates = 1 absence
3 Absences is one letter grade dedustion from course earned credits
4 or more absences and I will fail you for the course based on my own discretion. I am quite strict about this. Miss my class and you fail. 

All exams, programs, and homework must be completed in order and on time to complete this course, regardless of lateness. Unexcused late course work will lose 10% of its points for each weekday that it is late. Arrangements for "excused lateness" must be made in advance and approved by the instructor. 

Please be prepared for lab sessions by bringing materials to all classes to work in the lab. Failure to do so may be considered an absence from class.

Attendance  (from student handbook)
Faculty members may fail any student who is absent for a significant portion of class time. A significant portion of class time is defined as three absences for classes that meet once per week and four absences for classes that meet two or more times per week. Lateness or early departure from class may also translate into one full absence. 

Students are expected to attend classes regularly, and instructors are required to record attendance for grading and counseling purposes. Individual instructors, as well as departments or degree programs, may establish specific attendance requirements. Instructors have the right to weigh attendance and class participation in determining grades. It is the student's responsibility to ascertain the effect attendance may have on the grade in a course. Students receiving financial aid must be certified as attending classes regularly for continuing eligibility.

Course Calendar 








(must have manual exposure camera! DSLR recommended mirror less possible) 

History, Dslr, mirror less, phones are not acceptable, Sensors, lenses, cards, accessories, recommendation

I recommend this camera:

Set up small groups. 3 students per group.

Discuss top ten photographic Cliches and typical “Kodak” moments

Resolution, RAW mode settings, NO flash, 

Show John Cleese on Creativity - 

Charge batteries

and shoot 100 frames in P mode BY NEXT CLASS.

bring in 2 images to the next class - one you feel is a cliche', the other an image you consider to be fine art photograph we will have a group discussion as to what the differences that make up both might be. 

Cameras -
B&H's guide how-choose-digital-camera


Crop factor and sensor size and aperture,focal length 


Getting to know your camera

Exposure triangle

Midterm Scavenger hunt assignment
Scavenger hunt lecture

Discuss ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed = exposure triangle

Photo Walk on campus

Format cards, Power on. Nomenclature.
gray card RAW v jpg v DNG

Adobe camera downloader

shoot 100 frames in A mode

Depth of field assignment - find a scene where there is an object in a wide landscape (a person in a field, a Bench in a park etc.) Photograph the scene with the subject and the background in focus and also photograph the same scene with just the subject in focus and the background is out of focus. 


GIve Oral presentation assignment

Read your camera manual cover to cover

Learning to use your DSLR

Depth of field


Lenses and Composition
including focus and zoom v prime, Focal length 

An excellent set of videos describing lenses and aperture and lenses as well as focal length's effects

Photo Walk on campus

BASIC bridge
Downloading files through bridge RAW v JPEG File formats

intro to ACR

Outdoor portraits focussing on focal length – Break into pairs. Shoot each other with your lens at its longest focal length, at its shortest focal length and at a mid range focal length. On each image fill the entire frame with the subjects head. 

Specifics of how to submit files for grading

shoot 100 frames in S mode

Get your group together to practice these skills together:
stop motion
long exposure
blurred motion


Filters for digital photography -


Review Exposure

Discussion the uses and abuses of photography (documentary vs. photojournalism, Fine Art, snapshot, stock, advertising, product,, fashion vs. beauty, Architectural, Still life, conceptual, etc...)

Exposure Triangle review

review images

Gray card high key and low key assignment 


Using a gray card 

12 most common exposure problems


In process crit/work session

Discuss composition, angle of view focal length, figure/ground relationship, light and shadow

Lighting demo using hot lights
Themes/Topics: Studio Portraiture with Hot Lights
Lecture:    Studio photography and Cinema via examples from last week’s film.
Inspiration:  Classic Hollywood Portraiture,    George Hurrell and others.
Shoot:  In Studio:
Portraits on seamless paper background.
Hard light – 2 hotlights with barndoors, no modifiers.
Emphasis on focal length, quality and direction of light, contrast control and exposure control.

First critique next class



Critique Scavenger Hunt assignment


On Looking Distribute On Looking Assignment



On Looking lecture


Light -white balance, flash, artificial light, mixed light 



time of day lighting color temp

Color temperature assignment to show the the importance of in-camera cropping and how that relates to resolution. GET CLOSE! 

Color Temperature assignment 

Golden and BLue Hour light


Digital Daze

Brief photoshop tutorial and intro to self teaching tools like for assistance. 

Focus on Photoshop tool palette and their options in depth

Color management, color checker and synchronizing corrections

ISO and how it differs between cameras and sensor sizes

Digital darkroom workflow

Pixel editing vs. parametric editing <>
Introduction to Photoshop
Photoshop vs. Adobe

Camera Raw vs. Lightroom

Using a library of demo problem images for correction in class. (Potential checklist of common exposure mistakes)

Soft proofing

Printing and digital darkroom continued

Work in progress




On The Block Crit

Directorial Assignment distributed


Assign typologies

Themes/Topics: Typology, Framing, Focal Length, Quality of Light
Lecture: The Dusseldorf School Movement
Visuals: Typology
Bernd & Hilla Becher
Candida Hofer
Thomas Ruff
Thomas Struth
Andreas Gursky
Books of 100

Seek out and photograph subjects for typological study (two weeks).
Skills to consider:  Consistency in composition, quality of light, angle of view, focal length.



Directorial Lecture






Video Lecture

Consistency in composition, quality of light, angle of view, focal length.

Basic video editing tutorial in class hopefully using Photoshop CC


Part 1
Shot log a television show:
Using a writing tool you are to log each shot and each scene of a 22 minute TV show. You will be deeply surprised at how many shots make up a scene and how many scenes make up a show. 

1 minute video with no camera shake or sound – at least three different shots (more is acceptable). Shoot an establishment shot, a midrange shot and a close up. Edit these together

BRING IN SMALL TRANSLUSCENT objects to class next week (lace, plastic toys, Fall leaves etc...)



Oral Presentations presented

Open Assignment discussed
Students are to write their own assignment and submit it for approval. It should have a concise theme or idea and must involve at least 100 frames and 6 final images

Look at typologies and 1 minute videos

Direct scanning and photograms in the darkroom



Photo history



Photo history 


Directorial Critique





Final Open Project Critique

Final Protfolio of 20 best images




This Calendar is tentative and may need to be changed to accomodate . It may be necessary to change these dates to accommodate unforseen circumstances such as visiting lecturers. In addition to the above dates there may be a quiz on the technical aspects of photography. There will usually be lab time given at the end of the class session. I plan to lecture the first half of the class sessions and give lab time the last part so please be prepared for lab sessions by bringing materials to all classes to work in the lab. Failure to do so may be considered an absence from class.

Accommodating Disabilities
Lehman College is committed to providing access to all programs and curricula to all students. Students with disabilities who may need classroom accommodations are encouraged to register with the Office of Student Disability Services. For more information, please contact the Office of Student Disability Services, Shuster Hall, Room 238, phone number, 718-960-8441. 

The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Science Learning Center (SLC) The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Science Learning Center (SLC) are two of the tutoring centers on campus. The ACE provides appointment-based and drop-in tutoring in the humanities, social sciences, and writing, as well as general writing and academic skills workshops. The SLC provides drop-in tutoring for natural science courses. To obtain more information about the ACE and the SLC, please visit their website at, or please call the ACE at 718-960-8175, and the SLC at 718-960-7707.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy

Don't Cheat - don't steal - don't lie

Avoid cliches

All of the assignments must be completed by the date listed on your syllabus, as late work is not accepted in this course.

Additonal statements may be found in student handbook. For more information refer to

Classroom Specific Policies
In Class: Mute phones, no e-mailing, no social media, no surfing the net, No IMing, it is a tobacco free campus. No food or drink in the labs or classroom. 

Checking your facebook/social media/email during class time isstrictly prohibited and a valid reason for me to dismiss you from class. This will count as an absence. Everyone around you knows you are not paying attention to the material including myself. 

Students are responsible for all assignments, even if they are absent.  Late projects/papers, failure to complete the readings assigned for class discussion, and lack of preparedness for in-class discussions and presentations will jeopardize your successful completion of this course. 

Class participation is an essential part of class and includes: contributing meaningfully to class critiques and discussions, keeping up with reading, active participation in group work, and coming to class regularly and on time.  

Include statements important to the instructor such as use of cell phones, lateness, make-up exams, class participation, etc.

Papers: do not plagarize your work. The bulk of your papers must be your own words/thoughts. You may quote source material, but this may not comprise more than 20% of your paper. You must provide footnotes and a bibliography if you reference any outside sources. If I catch you plagarizing, you will automatically fail the entire course.

I rely on the MTA to get to work. If the trains arent running I can't get to class. Regardless of school policy. In rare instances, I may be delayed arriving to class.  If I have not arrived by the time class is scheduled to start, you must wait a minimum of thirty minutes for my arrival.  In the event that I will miss class entirely, a sign will be posted at the classroom indicating your assignment for the next class meeting. Alternatively, check your COLLEGE email account for any other information. 

Grading Standards
A  [4.0; 96–100%]
Work of exceptional quality, which often goes beyond the stated goals of the course

A- [3.7; 91 –95%]
Work of exceptionally high quality

B+ [3.3; 86–90%]
Work of high quality that indicates substantially higher than average abilities

B  [3.0; 81–85%]
Very good work that satisfies the goals of the course

B- [2.7; 76–80%]
Good work

C+ [2.3; 71–75%]
Above-average work

C  [2.0; 66–70%]
Average work that indicates an understanding of the course material; passable
Satisfactory completion of a course is considered to be a grade of C or higher.

C- [1.7; 61–65%]
Passing work but below good academic standing

D  [1.0; 46–60%]
Below-average work that indicates a student does not fully understand the assignments;
Probation level though passing for credit

F  [0.0; 0–45%]
Failure, no credit

Grades of Incomplete
I do not give an I unless you are hospitalized or some other extreme unusual and extenuating circumstances. This grade is given for MEDICAL reasons. THere is a lot fo pressure on the faculty to NOT give I grades. I will not entertain a grade of I if you simply didnt get your work done. This mark is not given automatically but only upon the student’s request and at the discretion of the instructor. A Request for Incomplete must be accompanied by a medical doctor's note.


This is college. It is for adults who want to learn. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it is fun. Oftentimes, it is both. Most jobs return what you put into them and if you give this course maximum effort, you will learn and earn a high grade.

You have a job as a student. That job is to come to class, be attentive, ask questions, keep your mind open to new ideas and fulfill assigned projects on time. Doing your job will assist you in being perceived as a serious student.

In an educational forum, it is always best to inform the professor in advance about problems with correct completion of an assigned project. When understood and anticipated, contingencies can often be handled easily.

You are the one who will determine whether or not this course is a success for you. Take your work here seriously and you will learn things, have fun and enhance your GPA.

Lastly, learning is synthesis of ideas. Try to use the ideas presented in this class to your best advantage by putting them together with what you already know to produce high quality work. If you have problems, see me.