Friday, January 31, 2014

Two Methods to Critique a Photograph

Artistic Method

1. Look and talk about what you see.

2. Interpretwhat you think the photographer is trying to say.

3. List the technical points you observe.

4. List the artistic points you observe.

5. List the strengths and weaknesses.

6. Suggest ways to improve the image.

7. Give overallfinal statement.

Feldman Method
    1.       Describe your first impression.

2.       Analyze what you see.

3.       Interpret the photograph.

4.       Evaluate the quality of the photograph.

5.       Summarize

Ambria by Ginger Sisco Cook

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Self Portrait Artists as inspiration for assignment

Below is a very short list of artists who have looked at themselves seriously - not just glancingly.  As you create your own self portrait take some time to absorb inspiration from others.

Andy Warhol

Lee Friedlander
Eleanor Antin

Lucas Samaras

William Wegman

John Coplands                  

Judy Dater                                
Robert Mapplethorpe
Cindy Sherman            
 Chuck Close
Duane Michals
  Adrian Piper

and Ann Noggle.
 Duane Michals, Adrian Piper, Bruce Charlesworth, Christian Boltanski and Ann Noggle.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Class on Friday, January 24th at 9 am

Don't forget...we will meet in the Journalism building in room #205 on Friday, January 24th and for the rest of the semester.

Your class blog should be up and running.  Please make sure you email me the link to your blog at

Your first class assignment should be posted on your blog:

1. The names of 3 self portrait artists with an example of the self portrait work of each artist.
2. One paragraph about why you chose each artist and why you chose the self portrait piece of that artist.
3. One paragraph about why you think artists do self portraits or why you think the selfie is so prevalent in today's society.
We will use you and your classmates' bogs in our class discussion.
If you have the information posted on the blog by 9am you will receive a 100. If you do not have the information posted on the blog by 9am you will receive a 0.
Please make sure you are following this blog! 
Look forward to seeing you in class.

Assignment #2: Self Portrait

Show us your Selfie!

There is a rich tradition of self-portraiture in photography and one of the first subjects every student studying photography should photograph is themselves. In this assignment I want you to make two very distinct images of yourself.  Each image should express the concept or idea of “I”. One image must depict the “self” from the outside – how you think you are perceived or known.
The second image must show the “other side” of you, the person that no one knows; the alter ego, if you will. The environment is everything in this assignment so pick the location well to tell the story. You can use the self-timer or have someone “click” the shutter. But most of the time it is best if you work alone. It is less inhibiting to the creative juices.

Hint: For both images to be successful, shoot a lot of images. Pick a location that works for what is needed to convey the idea and then work it to death. No train tracks allowed and no flash, only natural light!

Your work will be evaluated on idea, concept, composition and design.  Please pay particular attention to how it looks on the web in your blog.

Upload the two sides of yourself onto your blog.  Explain your images.  Tell us your motivation and whether or not you think you were successful in telling us who you really are inside and out.
Due: Friday, January 31 at 9 am

What: Bring the files of all your self-portrait images on your hard drive to class. The more images you have the better. We will be using these files for our first lab exercise in LightRoom, Photoshop and for your Blog. Remember, your metadata will need to state the images were taken between 24th of January 2014 and the 30th of January 2014. Also, bring the camera to class that you used to do the assignment.  
We will use each one of your blogs in our class discussion and critique.

If you have the images and explanation posted on the blog by 9am you will receive a 100. If you do not have the images and explanation posted on the blog by 9am you will receive a 0.

Remember there are no late assignments accepted or extra credit assignments provided in this class.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Nifty site if you plan to use your camera phone for class

No, I don't get a kick-back for suggesting sites. 

Here is a nifty site for you if you want to use your cell phone or tablet as a camera for class.  When you start to take a selfie for the first assignment you might find you are going to need a tripod that holds a cell phone or a way to take a time delay image. 

Check this place out!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Syllabus for PHO 111 Spring 2014

PHO 111 Intro to Digital Media

Teaching Assistant:  Ginger Cook

o/  WTFA-225              h/  by Appointment
c/  903.517.6024           e/


 Materials – Textbooks, Readings, Supplementary Readings:
Due to the rising cost of photo textbooks that are outdated by the time of publication, there is no mandatory text. Instead of a textbook, it is recommended that students get a account, an online tutorial for software and photographic information.
Textbooks Optional:
Adobe Photoshop CS5 Classroom in a Book, Adobe Creative Team
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers, Martin Evening
Design Basics, David Lauer, Stephen Pentak

Course Description:
Introduction to Digital Media (IDM) is an intensive semester-long course in which you will learn the technical and conceptual tools to understand the basics of digital media as well as begin to learn the language of the visual narrative. You will begin to explore the photographic fundamentals of composition and lighting.

In this class you will build a blog as a means of communicating and presenting your work to a wide audience. 

Student Learning Outcomes:
At the conclusion of this course students should be able to demonstrate the following:
·       editing and archiving digital files using digital asset management software
·       how to make color correct inkjet prints by using technical software
·       an understanding of the photographic vocabulary
·       how to analyze and interpret photographic images
·       effective critique by participation in critical evaluation regarding your own work and the work of others
·       have an understanding of professional presentation
·       have submitted a weekly blog of commentary and assignments


 Instructional / Methods / Activities Assessments
This course will consist of a series photographic assignments and excises to assist you in achieving the objectives of this course. Each week you will work on various combinations of shooting, blogging, and participating in critiques and discussions.

This will be a fun learning experience so please bring your energy and enthusiasm and a willingness to share into this class.  It is important to keep your blog up to date, and turn in your assignments on time.

Each week you are expected to add one to two entries as well as posting your assignments into the blog. In addition to submitting your work on the blog, you will also be asked to submit photographs as matted prints. You will be graded on the quality and content of the images, as well as the quality and execution of the presentation.

Your final project will consist of a blog which includes all of your assignments and projects. Additionally, you will present a series of matted photographs for the final critique.

Grading: “Grades are not given, they are earned”.

Students will receive a numerical grade that will be determined by performance on critiques, exercises, quizzes, blog site, class and lab participation. These will be added up at the end of the semester and 100% of the total amount will be averaged for the semester’s final grade. All assessments, attendance, etc will count a total of 100 points each with the exception being Final Review. The Final Review will receive three grades in each of the following categories: Creativity, Technique, and Presentation and each will count a total of 100 points. At the end of the semester all the grades will be averaged and the following scale will be used: 

A = 100-90, B = 89- 80, C = 79-70, D = 69-60 and F = 59 to 0.

Your final grade will be derived from the following sources:

1. Class Participation:
The way you conduct yourself in class is extremely important. You should come to lectures and labs with questions from the assigned reading. Note taking during lectures and labs is essential. During critiques it is important to express your thoughts and feelings about the photographs being presented.

2. Attendance:
It is important to attend class in order to learn the information being presented.

3. Assignments and Exercises:
You will have weekly visual assignments that are graded on how well the specific problems have been solved. Each assignment, unless otherwise noted, will be given a numerical grade.  Remember your work must be well-crafted and it must be about something more than being just a "pretty" picture.

4. Blog Participation:
You will be expected to post at least once a week to your blog plus post all of your assignments to the blog.

5. Final Project:
Students will submit a final project that will consist of matted prints from both new work and past assignments.

Please note there will be no extra credit assignments.

Please make an appointment to see me before mid-term and finals to individually go over your grades and your progress in the class.


Students will have access to a Macintosh OS X computer and print lab equipment with all the software needed to complete photographic assignments and exercises.

Students will need to provide the following:
·       Digital camera with a minimum of 10 mega pixels and media card i.e. 
Note: Find the instruction manual and read it / make sure that the camera is in good working order. Cameras are available from the 3rd Floor of Journalism Check-Out for student's use.
·       500GB external hard drive / two hard drives would be better
·       Notebook/ All students will be responsible for notes on ALL information given during class and lab time.


Interaction with Instructor Statement:
Please contact me through email or making an appointment to make sure I am in my office.  Appointments are encouraged

Office Hours: by appointment  


Course Specific Procedures:

Procedures & Policies for Submission of assignments

A.  Due Date: All assignments and exercises are due on the date and time given by the instructor.
Note: All images must have been shot, processed and printed this semester for this class only.

B. Print Submission: All work must be from files that were produced during this semester.  No images from previous classes can be submitted.  All photographs will be printed on 8 X 10 or larger inkjet paper and presented in a professional manner.

Attendance is required and is recorded at all class and lab meetings. Every student will be responsible for all information given during scheduled class and lab times.

Note: A total of 4 absences from any class meetings (lecture or lab) will result in a failing grade ("F") for the course and you will be dropped from the class. Excused absences are listed under Class Attendance (A13.02) in the A&M-Commerce Procedures. Verifiable excuses for absences must be turned in to the instructor.

University Specific Procedures:

ADA Statement
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities.  Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities.  If you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact:

Office of Student Disability Resources and Services
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Gee Library 132
Phone (903) 886-5150 or (903) 886-5835
Fax (903) 468-8148
Student Disability Resources & Services

Student Conduct
All students enrolled at the University shall follow the tenets of common decency and acceptable behavior conducive to a positive learning environment.  (See Code of Student Conduct from Student Guide Handbook).


In PHO 111 IDM, we will be shooting still and video shooting assignments as well as a variety of technical exercises. 

Please post all of your assignments to your blog.  Include additional research and comments for your assignments on your blog as well.  We will work on assignments according to the needs of the class. We may not get to all of them, we may do them in a different order, or I may add/delete assignments depending on the individual class.

The following is the basic outline of what will be covered:
Introduction to the 3rd Floor Check-out area
Introduction to the Print, Mount, Matting Lab
Introduction to Lightroom
Introduction to PhotoShop
Introduction to Photo Design and Composition
Introduction to Printing, Matting, Mounting, Framing and Presentation
A Brief History of Photography
Introduction to Cameras and Lenses

Self Portrait/Portraits
Aaron Siskind
David Hockney
Photo Montage
Night Shots
Multiple Me
Others as class interest indicates

Possible Field Trips: Dallas/Fort Worth
Possible Shooting Field Trips: Cooper, Sulphur Springs, Greenville, Paris

Friday, January 17, 2014

Assignment #1: Self Portrait Artists

Take a little bit of time over the next week and Google self  portrait artists.  Feel free to look at all types of art such as painters, sculptures, photographers, multi-media artists, etc.  See what appeals to you, what makes your heart sing, what makes you stop in your tracks.

Choose the top three artists who are known for their self portraits.  On your class blog that you have created, show examples from each artist. 

Write one (1) paragraph about why you chose that particular artist and that particular self portrait.

Write one (1) about why you think artists and people do self portraits or why you think the 'selfie' is so prevalent in today's society.

So, by next Friday, January 24th at 9 am you will have posted on your class blog:

1.  The names of 3 self portrait artists with an example of the self portrait work of each artist.
2.  One paragraph about why you chose each artist and why you chose the self portrait piece of that artist.
3.  One paragraph about why you think artists do self portraits or why you think the selfie is so prevalent in today's society.

We will use your blogs in our class discussion. 

If you have the information posted on the blog by 9am you will receive a 100.  If you do not have the information posted on the blog by 9am you will receive a 0. 

Remember there are no late assignments accepted or extra credit assignments accepted in this class.