Course Details

College Dubai Women's College
Department Business
Term Semester 1
Academic Year 2010-2011
Course Code LSFA-N254
Course Title History & Practice of Photography

Faculty and Contact Details

Instructors Location Ext Contact Hours
Tridib Chatterji B-03 492 4
I will usually respond to e-mails within 24 hours. Although I welcome meeting with students at any time, I would appreciate it if you make an appointment with me.

Course Description

In this course students will learn not only about the history of photography and about various photographic techniques, but also develop technical and compositional skills on how to take photographs. The course requires individual research and practice. Having learnt the basics, students will participate in activities, where they can apply theory and perform increasingly different tasks, and develop a photo portfolio.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

1. Discuss the history of photography and introduce the work of great photographers of t he last two centuries.

  • Review the history of photography starting from the 19th century, and outline the stages of development of chemical photography. Explain the most important milestones in the development of chemical monochrome and color photography, and digital photography.
  • Identify great photographers in the 20th century. Learn about photographers in the UAE by visiting local galleries, or reading local magazines and newspaper, and prepare a portfolio with their most important works.

2. Explain the importance of the most important photography concepts, and identify the various possible settings on a digital camera. Learn the basic rules of composition when photographing different subjects.

  • Explain how photographs are captured on a film, or digital sensor; and explain the concepts of aperture, shutter speed, and film sensitivity.
  • Explain the concept of Depth of Field, and how it is possible to change it. Explain the concept of Field of View, and how it is possible to change it by using different focal length lenses.
  • Explain the difference between wide angle, normal, and telephoto lenses. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of prime and zoom lenses.
  • Describe the major settings available on a digital camera: auto mode, program mode, aperture priority mode, time priority mode, manual mode.
  • Learn how to change the sensitivity and the white balance of the digital sensor, and the advantages and disadvantages of the different choices. Explain how they affect the Depth of Field, Field of View, sharpness, or colors of the pictures taken. Recommend various settings for different situations.
  • Explain the rule of thirds (Article #1), the object isolation, separation, and compression techniques.
  • Identify the layers technique, spotlight, contra light, monochromic, moody light, or reflections opportunities. Use very short and very long exposures to achieve various effects. Find panning situations or dramatic perspectives to make your pictures more interesting.
  • Use tripod to take long exposure photographs, or flash if the available light is not sufficient to take the pictures without motion blur. Use different settings - Av, TV, M, P - with flash photography.
  • Use different light metering modes when taking pictures. Use different ISO sensitivity. Discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of the different solutions.

3. Study different types of cameras and lenses available on the market, and learn how to evaluate a camera.

  • Study the difference between compact, SLR and rangefinder cameras. Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages. Search the internet for websites that provide independent evaluation of various cameras.
  • Study various lenses with different focal lengths, and different maximum aperture. Compare the bouquet of different lenses. Search the internet for websites that provide independent evaluation of various photographic lenses.

4. Learn the basic techniques for post processing digital pictures, and sharing photogra phs on the Internet.

  • Identify freeware software available on the Internet for image resizing, image manipulation, or creating photo albums.
  • Learn how to adjust exposure, white balance, sharpness, etc. in digital editing software. Learn how to crop and resize images for printing, e-mailing, or web albums.
  • Develop a portfolio form the best pictures of the semester, and share it on the internet.

How you will Learn in this Program

You will learn through selected course readings, internet resources, visits to galleries, workshops outside of DWC, by taking your own photographs, printing, and exhibiting them, and by using software for image manipulation.

You will be evaluated in three major areas - class participation/research/presentations; photography assignments to show your understanding of the camera along with photo critiques and digital manipulation assignments to show your proficiency in image manipulation tools.

Your success will depend on the amount of EFFORT that you contribute to these activities. Your Professional Conduct will also be determined by how well you participate.

Semester Planner:

Week Learning Objectives Learning Activities %
Details Assessment Item Deadline
1-2 L01 History of Photography Lectures   Introduction and discussion    
3 L01 History of Photography Exam & Photo Project 1 (Muqtanayati) 15%

Exam (15%) and Individual Project (10%) Quiz plus Project output Week 3
4-5 L01 Influential Photographers & Movements Lectures        
7 L01 Influential Photographers Presentation 15% Presentation on influential photographers and movements Presentation Week 7
8 L02, L03, L04 Intro to SLR: Features &Basic Photo Practice Concepts        
9-11 L02, L03, L04 Photo Project 2—SLR Features        
10   Eid   Eid    
11 L02, L04 Project 3-Insight Dubai 15% Students evaluate photos submitted for the Insight Dubai photo competition Student project submission Nov 25
12-13 L02, L04 Photo Manipulation-(freeware tools)        
14-15 L02, L04 Bazaar Photo Essay (Project 5) 10% Students will document an event, a process or the entire bazaar from start to finish. See the project document for further details. Student project submission Dec 30
17 L02, L04 Gallery Visit Report Due 10% Gallery Visit report Student project submission Jan 6
18 L02, L04 Portfolio 15% Individual photo portfolio Student project Jan 13
1-18 L01-L04 Professional Conduct 10% Class participation Instructor evaluation Ongoing

Description of Assessment Items:

Projects and Assessments Overview
History of Photography Exam History & Theory of Photography Written Exam (tests major concepts and evolution)
Photo Project 1 (Museum ME) Museum ME the UAE - A brief history of one country, through one hundred objects… The UAE is a place of multiple nationalities and cultures, and together the population shares in the history of the place they inhabit. Museum ME the UAE aims to present a snap shot of the UAE and the shared experiences of its community by inviting anyone and everyone to submit an object(s) which relates to the UAE’s history. One hundred objects will be selected and presented in categories of history, domesticity and art, placing sentimental tokens on the same level as historical artifact, weaving together the personal fragments into a cumulative patchwork tapestry of the UAE’s identity. Students who have been selected are here.
Influential Photographers Presentation Influential Photographers Presentation - tests understanding of photographic movements/trends & influential photographers)
Insight Dubai This project involves developing visual literacy. Insight Dubai is an annual conference attracting visitors from all over the world. A photo competition is part of this conference and involves participants submitting photos that reflect the conference theme. Photography students will "judge" the submitted photos, rank the top three, and discuss why.
Gallery Visits Report This records visits to local photography exhibitions. Vists to exhibitions will expose students to different photographers and styles of photography.
Bazaar Photo Essay  
Photo portfolio  
Professional Conduct and Participation Your attendance and the quality of your effort both during class and in your submitted work will be used to mark this. Students who miss 5% or more of classes will receive a "C" as the highest grade but this depends on a high quality of effort. Students with 10% or more absences will receive an "F" regardless of effort.


The textbook for this class is:

London, Barbara/ Stone, Jim/ Upton, John. Photography. 9th Int. ed.. Pearson Education. 2008. ISBN: 9780132061179.

You are required to read and understand the chapters that will be discussed in class. In addition, please refer to this resource page and make sure to read all of the articles and watch the videos. They will help you in developing as a photographer.

Academic Honesty

All acts of dishonesty in any work constitute academic misconduct. Any violation of academic ethics will be unacceptable in this class. Students must always submit work that represents his or her original ideas and words. If any of the ideas or statements are not the student’s original ones, all relevant sources must be cited. Ideas and statements that require citation are not only all hardcopy or electronic publications, copyrighted or not, but also all verbal and visual communication when the source of the cited information/content is clearly identifiable. In this course academic dishonesty may result in rejecting the student’s work and giving no credit for that assignment, or giving a failing grade for the entire course.

To avoid plagiarism, students are required to submit all their assignments to Safe Assign on BB Vista before final submission. Please remember that HCT has ZERO tolerance policy towards cheating. If you have any questions related to Safe Assign, please consult with your instructor for clarification.

Attendance and Particpation

Participation is vital. Participation does not mean just being physically present in class. The lesson can only be dynamic and interesting if each student is there and takes an active part in class activities. When you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out about the work assigned at the class you missed by contacting your classmates. It is polite to let your teacher know why you have missed a class but you will still be marked absent.

Arriving to class within five minutes after class has begun is being late. Arrving after 5 minutes is considered absent for that period. This is also true if you are late returning from a break.

Marking Guidelines

All of your written work will use the following guidelines. It is your responsibility as a student to read and understand what is required for each grade level. In addition, the MLA Style must be used for referencing.

Grade Assessment
A/A- A grade of "A" means that the work is judged to be of exceptionally high quality, going well beyond what is needed to be acceptable.  It is an excellent work with NO errors. "A-" level work shows originality, depth of thought, factual accuracy, and good logic, shows that student has met the entire requirement of the project in an excellent manner.
B/B+ A grade of "B+" means that the work is judged to be of high quality, going well beyond what is needed to be minimally acceptable.  "B" level work shows some of the same good qualities as "A-" level work, but not as consistently. (Maybe lacks originality, and is less deep and student has missed out on SOME important issues or work contains SOME errors)
C/C+ A grade of "C+" means that the work is acceptable--that is, it meets the basic standard of college level work in terms of relevance, factual accuracy, and logic.  "C" work is at the minimum acceptable level.
D A grade of "D" means that the work does NOT meet the standards for acceptable college level work, but it does exhibit some positive qualities that indicate that it deserves some credit for having been done.
F A grade of "F" means that the work is so weak that it does NOT earn college level credit or the work was not completed at all.

Meeting the requirements of an assignment does not mean an automatic A. This is generally considered to be C or B (average). In order to get an A, the assignment has to exceed expectations.

To pass this course, you must achieve an overall average of 60% and do all the assignments.

Required Reading - Student Handbook sections

Every student is required to read and understand the following sections of the Student Handbook

1. Graduate Outcomes 4. Plagiarism
2. Attendance policy 5. Breaches of academic honesty
3. Cheating 6. Late submission of assessment items

It is your responsibility to follow these policies - stating that you did not know about them is NOT an acceptable excuse.