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:
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 on computers where they worked with a photo editing program to complete their final products.
For our final shooting project, each student chose a well-known photographer to research and to emulate. The students were encouraged to seek inspiration from the subject matter, technique, and style of their chosen artist. This project gave the students a great deal of freedom to pursue a photographic subject and style of their choosing.