Photography Classes @ MERHS

old photo 3 curriculum

Unit 1:

  • DISCUSS: What is my favorite thing to do in art?  What do I love about art?
  • PHOTO ASSIGNMENT: bring in 2 photos of anything 
  • PHOTO ASSIGNMENT:  take 2 photos of “nothing” but they can’t be blank. DUE _____________
  • Discuss: How do photographers grow in their artmaking?
  • WRITE REFLECTION: Describe the successes and difficulties you had taking your “nothing photos.”  How did you come up with your idea? DUE _____________
  • TAKE NOTES: review shutter and aperture and how shutter and aperture work together
  • ACTIVITY: make slider thing about shutter and aperture
  • VIDEO: Silver and Light
  • Discuss: Talk about a time when a photo project wasn’t working well. What did you do? How did it end? What would you do differently next time you are having problems?
  • Take Notes: Process of darkroom photography – video with teacher explanation
  • ACTIVITY: research wet plate/anthotypes/cyanotypes and share with the group (video)
  • CLASSROOM ARTMAKING: create ink jet transfers

Unit 2:

  • DISCUSS: What factors influence artists and artistic expression?
  • PHOTO ASSIGNMENT & REFLECTION: take photos of things you hate to photograph. Describe the successes and difficulties you had taking your “hate photos.”  How did you come up with your idea? How much did you really end up hating this assignment? What did you learn about yourself as a photographer.
  • CLASS GAME: use phone to capture the compositional ideas that Ms Epp says
  • Discuss: What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking?
  • CRITIQUE: critique the “nothing“ photos
  • WRITE REFLECTION: Describe the successes and difficulties you had taking your “hate photos.”  How did you come up with your idea? How much did you really end up hating this assignment? What did you learn about yourself as a photographer. DUE _____________
  • ACTIVITY: alone or in pairs plan, with a script, for a screencast video explaining an aspect of photoshop for the middle schoolers to watch.
  • VIDEO: what choices in equipment, editing, and what is shown changes the meaning of this work?

Unit 3:

  • TURN IN AND CRITIQUE: hate photos
  • PHOTO ASSIGNMENT: shoot 1-100  photos that sum up your “experience” of your week.
  • DISCUSS: How/where do artists get their ideas? How do artists choose tools, techniques, and materials to express their ideas?
  • VIDEO: shooting at high noon  list strategies mentioned in the video
  • ACTIVITY: go outside as a class and try some of the strategies (cameras or phones)
  • ACTIVITY: record screencast videos about photoshop
  • Discuss: What place does trial and error have in artmaking?
  • Take Notes: how different college art programs are different. What to look for when shopping for a college
  • PHOTOSHOP ACTIVITY: make 3D photos

Unit 4:

Unit 5:

  • PHOTO ASSIGNMENT:   find a painting from MOMA ( ) or The Met ( ). Take a photograph that is inspired by that painting (theme, lighting, mood, etc). Make sure to put both the painting and the resulting photo in your blog post, as well as the name of the artist and other info about the painting. Write about the painting, and what you decided to emulate in your own photos, why you emulated it, and how you translated that aspect into your photograph.
  • DISCUSS: In what ways do artists influence society? In what ways does society influence artists?
  • VIDEO: mixing old and new hip hop and classical - Kehinde Wiley
  • CRITIQUE: critique last unit’s photos
  • LECTURE: getting images printed at professional places (like mpixpro), including types of prints
  • PHOTOSHOP ACTIVITY: crop and edit to take a so-so photo into a great composition, like this. Here is advice. Use images in folder and crop them in standard frame sizes. Here is info about common aspect ratios 
  • CAMERA SKILLS: auto exposure bracketing and HDR (plus video)

Unit 6:

  • PHOTO ASSIGNMENT:  ephemeral (lasting for a very short time) art that has no product at the end, or art that involves the audience.
  • VIDEO: mary ellen mark taking non-cliche portraits
  • CRITIQUE: critique last unit’s photos
  • DISCUSS: What can we learn from studying the art of others?
  • ACTIVITY: make a 3d version of one of your photos (use 3d dots, inspiration and this)

Unit 7:

  • PHOTO ASSIGNMENT:   reshoot any Photo 1 or Photo 2 assignment 
  • LECTURE: difference between BA and BFAs, and what to look for in art schools/programs
  • DISCUSS: Why are there so few great women artists?
  • ACTIVITY: research and make gifs. try photoshop vs other methods.
  • ACTIVITY: make 3×3 and 4×4 grids of photos. think of a visual or conceptual theme
  • CRITIQUE: critique last unit’s photos

Final projects – 5 weeks:

  • PHOTO ASSIGNMENT: shoot your own project each week. You must turn in at least 2 photos each week. We will critique these and you should use that information to push yourself for the next weeks work. YOU MUST STAY ON THE SAME THEME FOR AT LEAST THREE WEEKS! After that, you can change to another theme that you stay on for at least 2 weeks. Some resources for picking concentrations for a project can be found in this list or this blog post or this site and this infographic. FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 6, WORK ON COMING UP WITH A THEME.
  • Optional Photo assignment for one of the weeks: take one of your photos, print it out, do stuff to it and rephotograph it. example 1 and example 2 and example 3 and example 4 and example 5 and 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 and 10 and really here 11
  • CRITIQUE: critique each weeks photos, particularly looking at growth
    • create a class mural with sections of photos


    •   REFLECTION POST: write the following in a word doc based on the photos you turned in this week
    • Write a reflection REALLY describing your thought process behind taking the photos and why you shot what you shot. Be descriptive.
    • Also describe the difficulties and successes that you had while coming up with the idea and shooting it.
    •  The third thing you must write about is a self critique of how it looks and what it means. Pretend someone else took the photo and be as honest and possible in your critique.
    • Finally write where you plan to go next with the project, or what project you plan to do next. Please describe it so someone who doesnt know you or have a conversation with you about your work will understand what you are doing.
    • Create a Pinterest board with images that inspire you for your current shooting project and post the link to the board on the blog. You must spend a good amount of time really curating the best images into a useful group of images. YOU CAN ONLY DO THIS FOR ONE WEEK AS YOUR WEEKLY EXTRA TO TURN IN, tho you can always add to it during your own time or when you have finished everything in class.