Conceptual Portraiture Visual Analysis Essay and Reminder of Final Exam



As a reminder, instructions for the Visual Analysis Essay are here (VA Essay Instructions). The essay is due upon walking into next week’s class (which is also the final exam). Please be prepared to hand me both a physical and digital version of your essay. The digitized version can be given to me on a flash drive, emailed, or sent via, a free file sharing service.

Some former student photos and essay examples can be found here:


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Essay: (Jasmine)

Study for the Final Exam next Monday (9:15-11:15 am).




Final Project Reminder


Next Monday, May 1, upon walking into class, your Final Project (the photographs) are due.

Please pay careful attention to the order this project needs to be submitted (listed below) AND that overall, you create a successful triptych — three separate photographs that can stand alone but that also work when placed together. The photographs should allow the viewer to understand both specific and abstract qualities of the person you chose to photograph.

PHOTO ONE: PLACE You should to pick a place that relays emotive information regarding your subject. Be prepared to discuss why you chose that specific place. 

PHOTO TWO: THING You will need to pick a thing that relays emotive information regarding your sitter. Be prepared to discuss why you chose that specific thing. 

PHOTO THREE: PERSON A portrait of your person without showing their face. Be prepared to discuss your connection/interest in this person. 

PHOTO FOUR: TRIPTYCH: A photograph of the person, place and thing laid out in one frame, on one page, and printed.


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1. The cover should be the triptych (three photos) on one page.

2. Next should follow each image (3 in total). First should be the portrait of the person without showing their face, second should be the “place”, and third should be the “thing”

3. Your Photography Development Templates (drawings)

4. Your marked Contact Sheets

5. An extra plastic sleeve for your Visual Analysis Essay (to be turned in before the final exam).

6. An extra sleeve for your disk (to be turned in before the final with your Visual Analysis Essay. If for some reason your computer does not have a disk burner, I approve bringing your essay in on a flash drive, HOWEVER, your 4 JPEGS (person, place, thing, triptych) must be on the drive, DO NOT FORGET THEM. You can also email the 4 JPEGS to me (


Be prepared to present and speak about your work next week during our final critiques.

You may not be printing when class starts.

Any projects not completed at the beginning of class will receive an F.

Every minute you are late to class is ONE POINT OFF YOUR PROJECT




For those wish want to move ahead, the essay instructions are here (VA Essay Instruction).

If not, this is fine, I will discuss the essay component during next class. The essay is due on the date of your final exam (May 8).


Writing about Photography: Exercise #2

At the beginning of today’s class, you will complete this in-class exercise worth 25 points of your final grade. It will also help you on the road to the written component of your final project (Visual Analysis essay).

Please form coherent, complete sentences and be sure to use lots of adjectives to describe the photographs.

This assignment is worth 50 points of your final grade. Take your time, write neatly/or type and print.

Word Doc: (Writing about Photos Form (2))

PDF (Writing about Photos Form (2))

Slideshow: (Writing about Photos (2))


Gallery: (An Alternate Way to Look at Slideshow)

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After you finish this assignment, you may spend the rest of class time working on your Final Project. 




Film making and photography go hand-in-hand. In film making, the art of cinematography is lost with photography. The skill to present moving images in such postcard-like material is in itself a direct descendant of the art of still-photography. If a photographer truly wants to improve his or her craft, they need to study how filmmakers and cinematographers captures moving images on the screen.

Just as important is for still photographers to watch films that depict he art of photography through Hollywood’s eye and also visit the stories of celebrated photographers through documentaries.

Here are 40 notable movies about photography every photographer should watch… in no particular order.

Final Project – Moving Along Further

place thing.png

As a reminder and at our next class the photographs for “place” + “thing’ should be made. Remember you will need to photograph the “place” in a way in which you feel is representative of your person and the emotional connection they (or you) have to that place, not a documentary representation of the place. When developing your “thing” image, remember to photograph it in a way in which you feel is conceptually/emotionally representative of the person, not a literal representation. In other words, both should be something of importance/significance to the person you will photograph.

You must photograph a minimum of 75-100 images for each photograph. I highly recommend you make an adequate number of images so you have a lot of material to select from.

On Monday bring images shot for “place” and the “thing” to class and take advantage of the in-class time to upload and create contact sheets for both shoots. The contact sheets should also be printed out and edited (circled).  You will also have time to edit and process files through Camera Raw. Ideally, during our class time you will narrow down both images and process them, possibly also printing if you have time.

Towards the end of class we will have a MANDATORY, INFORMAL CRITIQUE.**


**If you choose to, you can also photograph the “person” before Monday. This would allow class time for editing and critique input for the entire triptych. Otherwise, you will have to shoot the “person” part of the project AND upload, create contact sheets, edit, and print out by the following Monday (May 8) at 9:15 am when the entire project is due.

Either way, prepare for out of class time in the lab to upload, make contact sheets, edit, print and assemble the final project in required order.  


Be prepared to present and speak about your work the following week (May 8) during our final critiques. Any projects not completed at the beginning of class will receive an F. You should not be printing or assembling your binder when class starts. Points will be deducted for lateness (one point per one minute late).

Any questions, email me.



Final Project – Moving Along


Just a reminder that on Monday, the following components for the FINAL PROJECT: CONCEPTUAL PORTRAITURE are due:

Part 1: Preparatory Writing

To start the assignment you must decide on the person that you would like to photograph. Your next step will be to type the answers to the following questions and put them into a plastic presentation binder (get one of these for next week).

1. What is the name of the person you are photographing?

2. What is your relationship to the person you are photographing?

3. The reason you want to photograph this person is…

4. A place that you associate with this person is… because…

5. How are you going to use your photographic skill sets to try to capture the concepts/ideas listed above? Please list specific ideas/examples.

6. A thing that describes this person is… because…..

7. How are you going to use your photographic skill sets to try to capture the concepts/ideas listed above? Please list specific ideas/examples.

8. Once the above elements are completed you can begin to take photographs. The more thoughtful your written statement + TEMPLATE FOR PHOTO DEVELOPMENT are the easier it will be when you are actually shooting. If you have thought through what and how you want to photograph something, the more likely it is that your images will communicate content in the way you want them too.

Part 2: Photographic Templates:

Only after your writing is complete do I want you to begin to develop your specific images using the TEMPLATE FOR PHOTO DEVELOPMENT. When you have completed your first draft of the Photography Development Template please put that into your plastic presentation folder. For each photographic image please use a minimum of one Photography Development Template (this means that if you have a few ideas for this project, you will have a few templates.)


Please remember to keep up with this project. If not, you will have a very difficult time completing it. 

Course Evaluations


The time has come for course evaluations. As an instructor, I would appreciate your completion of my course evaluation. It will only take a few minutes and will allow me to reflect on the class – and how I can make it even better.

For your time, I will allot 5 points of extra credit (with confirmation of evaluation via a screenshot, printout, etc.). Please submit your course evaluations by April 24th, 2017.

To access the course evaluations, please check your WCC email for a message from mycourseval containing the live survey link.
OR go to:

You can also access the same survey link at:

As a reminder: 

  • All responses are anonymous and cannot be connected to individual students.
  • Faculty will not see the pooled results until June 20, 2017.
  • Student feedback is important to the college.

Thank you. 



Just a reminder, Project 3 Photographic Series is due next Monday at 9:15 am.

Upon arrival to class you should be ready to present your work via a powerpoint presentation or a file of JPEGS of TIFFS.

At this point, submitting RAW or Photoshop files is unacceptable. Yes, RAW files should be post-processed through Adobe Bridge/Camera Raw but then, they should be converted to JPEGS or TIFFS.


Also, Monday will be the final day to submit (at least) one photograph for the Student Art Exhibition. The exhibition will be on view from April 18 – May 6 and the official opening will occur on Tuesday, April 18 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Works do not need to be framed, but printed well.

Any questions, email me. 




Due May 4. Pick one. Only one. 20 points. 



Museum/Gallery Review  (20 points)

  1. Go see one of the following exhibitions (listed below)
  2. Email me a brief review of the exhibition (2 paragraphs)
  3. Bring or email me the ticket stub OR post a picture on Instagram at the exhibition and use the hashtag #sunywccdigitialphoto

Suggested Exhibitions:

The Gordon Parks Foundation (Pleasantville, NY)

Back to Fort Scott

Picturing Love: Katonah Museum of Art

March 19 – June 25

Closes April 8

Alice Austen House Museum

Robin SchwartzLike Us: Primate Portraits (March 1 – May 28)

Early work by photographer Robin Schwartz documenting the close relationship between primates and their caretakers.

Benrubi Gallery

MARCH 2 – APRIL 15, 2017

Brooklyn Historical Society

Truman Capote’s Brooklyn:
The Lost Photographs of David Attie

July 20, 2016 – July 2017


Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency

Closes April 16

The Shape of Things: Moma’s Collection

Closes May 7

Museum of the City of New York

Closes July 30

Muslim in New York

International Center of Photography

Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change

Hang Younsoo: Photographs of Korea (1956-63)


Instagram logo.jpg  (20 points)

Please read the linked article and complete the below form (in Word or PDF format). Completed forms may be emailed or submitted in person.

Is Instagram the new gateway to photography?

LINK TO ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE. Complete steps 1 and 2 below. 

  1. Type your responses on a Word Doc (Extra Credit – Instagram) or print and write (PDF) Extra Credit – Instagram
  2. Make a post on Instagram commenting about this assignment. It could be an overall commentary on social media, photography or something related to a question in this assignment. Hashtag it #sunywccdigitalphoto


Hopefully by today, you have some ideas brewing about the next project I’ve assigned – Photographic Series. If you don’t thats okay — but I do want you to take some time (ASAP) to start looking at photographers and types of photography that may interest you. Looking often leads to an idea, and ideas lead to greater things…often to a Photographic Series.

As a follow up to yesterday’s class: The Photo Series (Project 3 Photographic Series) is your second to last project in this class and is due on Monday, April 10. Please refer to the project guidelines above for specific details.

As a reminder, check out the series by Nicholas Nixon and link to the New York Times article, and the video of him talking about his work. It’s really worth your 4 minutes.


The Brown Sisters by Nicholas Nixon

NYT Link to the Brown Sisters:  Forty Portraits in Forty Years

A video of Nicholas Nixon speaking on this project:


A Photographic Series can take months, even years, and you, well, you only have 2 weeks. While 2 weeks is a very short period of time, I want you to use this time to develop your thoughts about photography, fusing what you’ve learned and what you like, even what you question, and do your very best to create photographs that you can be proud of.

By definition: a photographic series is a group of images related by some aspect held in common (ex. a certain mood, subject matter, technique, function or purpose).

I am asking you to develop a conceptually driven photographic series in either black and white or color (do not mix the two). Your project can be one of two things: Thematic or Narrative.

Thematic: addresses a topic or issue                                                                                                             Narrative: tells a story, usually in chronological order

This assignment begins (and ends) with a concept. It is your task to define the concept visually and develop it into an interesting “series” of images. A minimum of 10 photographs is required for this project. A maximum of 20 can be turned in. 

Your series could be a group of related environmental portraits, landscapes, self-portraits, night photography, etc.—basically this assignment is wide open in terms of subject content, however you must stick to ONE THEME OR NARRATIVE.


Even if you are not into STREET PHOTOGRAPHY, this article may be helpful/inspire some ideas:

10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography

Here are a few more links:

13 Favorite Conceptual Photography Series from 2014

328 Photography Themes: A List Of Themes To Photograph

Interview with photographer Jo Whaley



This year’s Student Art Exhibit will be comprised of ceramics, sculpture, photography and digital artworks. The exhibit will take place in CFA’s galleries from April 17 – May 5. There will be a reception with drinks and snacks on Tuesday, April 18th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

Artwork is selected by faculty and student – and participation in this is mandatory. I encourage you to participate, even if hesitant, and will help you each step of the way. 

If you want to submit more than one print (which is required of you), that is fine. During next week’s class I will offer up time and input to go over some possibilities during lab time, as well as a window of time to discuss printing and paper options. If possible, bring some cash to purchase paper from the art department.