Our first Photography I production assignment introduced the process of Pinhole Photography. Students built cameras from cardboard boxes, then used their cameras to create simple-lens medium-format negatives. The students developed their own negatives, then created positives in the darkroom. Pinhole photography is an excellent way to learn the basics of optics and exposure.
Our second production project required students to use manual film cameras. Students learned about shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, focus, and light metering. The students developed their own film in the darkroom (total darkness), then used their negatives to create enlarged prints. This first manual camera assignment required students to photograph a partner. They were encouraged to explore unique points of view, unusual angles, and creative cropping to create artful compositions. Here are some of the results:
Our third production project focused on abstract design. Students sought interesting subjects in the natural or constructed environment and used them to compose powerful compositions. The final product was to be more of a pure design than a straight photo of the object. Creative cropping was encouraged in order to remove the object from its' regular context.
We spent a wonderful, sunny day at the Detroit Zoo for an on-sight photo shoot. Students were encouraged to create intentional compositions (not "snapshots"), using the animals and their surrounding for inspiration. This was a great opportunity for the students to experience shooting in environments that were beyond their control, much like a photojournalist. After our field trip, students spent time in the computer lab where they worked with a photo editing program to complete their final products.