VICO 222 Assignments

Winter Quarter 2003

General notes:

Because of the importance of being able to deal with people in photography, all assignments, unless otherwise requested, are to include people. Learn to deal with strangers with whom you have had little prior contact. Photographs of roommates, parents, children, or relatives are discouraged for class assignments. (Do take these pictures for your own use, however. They are important!)

Students in the photojournalism sequence should concentrate on newsworthy single photos and picture-story style in-depth reportage of topics. Very little is accomplished with a scavenger-hunt approach to photography. Instead, think of a topic that would be interesting, imagine it as a printed story, and use that as a goal to guide your photography. Always set a goal first, then set out to achieve it.

Students in the commercial photography sequence should work with portraiture or use people as prominent parts of photographs. Special attention should be paid to lighting effects, whether natural or artificial. Appropriate technique is especially important to illustration photography, so be sure to consider how technique can be used to enhance the effect you desire. As with the photojournalist, set goals, and proceed to achieve them.

If you offer photographic prints to your subjects in return for their time, please follow through on your promise. I will deduct 5% from your final score if you fail to do so.

You are encouraged to use the darkroom as much as possible. Mornings are often the quietest time in the darkrooms, while evenings are the busiest. Please refrain from working in the lab if another class' scheduled lab is in session, and they are using your enlargers. Keep in mind that darkroom space becomes very difficult to find near the end of the quarter, so plan ahead.

All assignment and portfolio pictures must be exposed and developed during this quarter. Please do not submit “file photographs”.

Special Lab/Technical assignments:

There will be several lab/technical assignments given during the quarter. The subjects of these pictures can be boring, unlike the weekly assignments where subject matter counts. I will provide handouts for these special assignments detailing the procedure and requirements, and due dates will be given in class.

Film Production:

You will be expected to shoot and process a minimum of 3 rolls of film/week after the first two labs. At the beginning of Friday labs starting January 24, 2003, please submit your 3 rolls of film cut and sleeved in plastic film pages, together with 8x10 contact prints of each of the rolls. Grade reductions are imposed according to the following schedule if the minimum production of 3 rolls/week is not met:

             1-3 rolls missing             Excused to accommodate sickness, funerals, etc. No grade reduction.

             4 rolls missing                 1/3 letter-grade reduction from your final grade

             5 rolls missing                 2/3 letter-grade reduction from your final grade

             6 rolls missing                 1 letter-grade reduction from your final grade

             Additional missing rolls will reduce your final grade an additional 1/3 letter grade/roll.

Missing contact sheets count as missing rolls of film – there is no “partial credit”. Be prepared.

Weekly assignments:

Due January 29th 

             Stop action and blur motion

Make 2 photographs. One photograph should show the effects of a fast shutter speed to freeze motion. The second photograph should show blurred subject motion because of a slow shutter. Remember that the visual interest of the photograph is as important as the technical solution to the problem, and that photos showing people are required.


Delicious Light

Make one photograph showing someone in unusual light. Avoid the usual daylight shot for this assignment. Be sure that the lighting you choose works with the subject depicted in the photograph.

Due February 5th

             Using depth of field

Make 2 photos. One should have shallow depth of field to isolate the person/people from a distracting background, and the second photo should have great depth of field to show desireable or important background information. Avoid a merely technical approach to this assignment - be sure that the technique reinforces the subject of the photograph.

             Point of View

Present a photograph that explores a subject (people!) from an unusual point-of-view. The normal eye level documentation is not acceptable for this photograph. The photograph should be made from an angle that is not readily seen by the casual observer.

Due February 12th (Midterm Week)Open Topic

Make 2 photos of any topic(s) that interests you, as long as it also involves people. You choose. Remember, if you don't have any ideas, then make up an imaginary assignment to get yourself moving creatively.

             High Key

This is one of those rare assignments where no people are required. You can, of course, use them if you wish, but it is not required. Make an interesting photo of something comprised of mostly light or white tones, and remember to meter this nonstandard scene correctly. You will have to override an automatic exposure camera to get a good exposure.


             February 12th    ***Midterm test***

Based on class lectures, this test is mostly technical in scope.

Due February 19th

             Athens area business (choose one of the two approaches given below)

PhotoJ types: The photo editor of the local newspaper needs several photos of area merchants at work for a story. Help the editor by making 3 strong, attention getting photos of a merchant and an interesting part his business for the picture story. Ask for permission, and offer the merchant some prints in return for his time.


Illustration types: A conservative magazine has a contract with an area merchant to advertise its merchandise. You are called because of your reputation for promoting a product through your unusual use of light, your attention to detail, and for how well you work with people. You may use your classmates/roommates as models for this assignment. You may use humor as an attention-getting technique, if you wish -- but it must not silly or employ tasteless humor. One REALLY GOOD photo is required, printed to perfection. The image must not be trite, and it must have a good concept behind the illustration. It counts as three. Oh, by the way, the merchant is a textbook retailer!

Due February 26th


             "Nighttime in Athens"

Make three photographs at night in Athens showing how the city and the people transform after dark. This set of photographs is for a (fictitious) Columbus Monthly magazine article on Uptown Athens and college life. Think what kind of pictures would best represent the area and how the photos can relate together on a page.


This should be a good test of your camera handling skills in dim light levels. Use anything available to steady your shot. Tripods can be used, but you may lose some spontaneity. Attempt at least several hand-held shots while bracing against a building, pole, etc. Some blurred movement is expected due to slow shutter speeds, so see if you can work the movement to your advantage in the "feel" of the photograph. Indoor and/or outdoor shots are both welcome. Shoot people!


             Topic statement for individual project.

Plan an individual project of your choice. Choose a topic that you wish to pursue (remember that people should be either the subject of the photo or incorporated into the photograph somehow) and write a short statement about what you wish to do and why. Explain what kind of photographs you expect to make, and how you will go about making them. Those with a photojournalism emphasis should undertake an in-depth picture story. Illustration oriented photographers should undertake a series of illustrations having a common theme or style, as expected in an ad campaign. The pictures themselves will be due on the last two weeks of the quarter. See picture due dates below.

Due March 5th

The first 3 photos of your individual project are due for critique.

Due March 12th

The second set of 3 photos from your individual project are due.

Wednesday March 19th at 8:00 a.m.

The final exam will be given at this time, and your final portfolio of 10 prints is due at the end of the exam period.

Your ten best photographs of the quarter should be mounted, spotted, labeled on the back with your name, and placed in a portfolio case, large envelope, or bag. They do not have to be window matted, but they must be mounted. If you have them prepared in advance, please leave them in the VisCom office. These do not have to be photographs selected from the assignments, however, the photos that are submitted must have been taken this quarter.


Remakes - You can reshoot or reprint any picture assignment if you feel your original submission was weak. If it is not stronger, your existing score will not be reduced. However if the new submission is better, your grade will be shifted upward. Be sure to identify the new submissions as "remake of _______assignment" on the back of your print together with your name. Remakes may be submitted anytime within two weeks from the day your original work is handed back. Late or remade work will not be accepted after that date.

For the last two picture assignments (Individual Topic #1 & #2), the remake due date is March 14th.


No remakes are available for technical assignments. Be sure to perform them correctly the first time.


Grading - All weekly assignments are reviewed for both technical solutions to the problems and for visual interest. Remember to make your photographs with both factors in mind. Technical or lab assignments are exempt from any visual-interest requirements.

Late Assignments - To encourage prompt fulfillment of assignments, late work will be given a score of 2 letter-grades below its usual worth. For example, if a late print deserves a B, it will be recorded as a D. Late assignments can be remade like work turned in on time, but they will bear forever the 2 letter-grade penalty. This means that a perfectly executed assignment can achieve a grade of only a C if it is late.

Because unavoidable sickness sometimes causes late or inferior work, the lowest 3 scores will be dropped from your assignment average at the end of the quarter. This accommodates time lost due to sickness, family problems, funerals, or other legitimate unforeseen circumstances.

Class Web Site - Copies of this assignment sheet and other handouts are maintained at

Your email responsibility: Please check messages sent to your OAK account. Important class announcements may be delivered via the OAK system, and forwarding to another email account may not work reliably. Often email sent to a large list (like a class) is treated as junk email and is not easily retrieved on some systems.