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Subject Area: Media
College: Arts and Sciences
Department: Media & Fine Arts

Prior Competence Information:

Competence Statement (suggested):*
Knows the fundamental theories and processes of black and white photography well enough to shoot film that is properly exposed, correctly develop film and print enlargements that display effective compositional techniques with good tonal range and contrast.

*number of credits negotiated between evaluator and student

Theoretical Components:

Lower Division:
  • Basic understanding of film, photochemistry, light and exposure.
  • Knowledge of the principles of photographic composition.
  • Familiarity with the tradition of black and white photography.

Upper Division:

  • Evidence of a personal vision and style.
  • Basic knowledge of the Zone System.

Practical Application Components:

Lower Division:

  • Knowledge of basic camera operation evidenced by negatives that have been properly exposed.
  • Demonstrate understanding of compositional techniques.
  • Competently develop film and produce enlargements using contrast adjusting filters and burning and dodging techniques.

Upper Division:

  • Demonstrate ability to deliberately under or over expose film and compensate by adjusting standard developing times to produce negatives of high technical quality, i.e. the Zone System.
  • Produce enlargements that meet the aesthetic and technical requirements for public exhibition and publication.

Examples of Appropriate Prior Experience (include readings):

Self-directed study, attendance at workshops and seminars, membership and participation in photography organizations, personal projects, community education course with additional study and work; readings: books and magazines on basic photography skills, theory and history including black and white photography and darkroom techniques.

Recommended readings/resources:

  • Adams, Ansel. The Zone System.
  • Portfolios of Ansel Adams, Introduction by Beaumont Newhall.
  • London, Barbara and Stone, Jim. A Short Course in Photography: An Introduction to Black and White Techniques.
  • Coote, Jack H. Monochrome Darkroom Practice.
  • Horenstein, Henry. Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual.
  • Newhall, Beaumont. The History of Photography.

Steps in evaluation process:

  1. Contact evaluator by phone for initial interview prior to registering. (Please be advised that this prior can be done only on a pass/fail basis. No letter grade will be given.)
  2. Secure registration materials and approval.
  3. Write a statement describing how this competence was achieved.
  4. Complete test and study questions that will be mailed to you.
  5. Assemble portfolio of negatives and enlargements.
  6. Arrange for a personal interview to assess competence.

Describe measurement techniques:

  1. Grade test and study questions
  2. Evaluate portfolio
  3. Verify work during interview

Self-test items/questions for student's consideration (examples of things students should be able to answer if they have a prior competence in this area):

  1. What is the "rule of thirds?"
  2. Who is Ansel Adams?
  3. List the steps in developing film.
  4. List the steps in printing an enlargement.
  5. To increase contrast which filter would you use: 1 or 4?
  6. Why do we need to 'fix' the film and paper?
  7. What is a test strip?
  8. What is a contact sheet?
  9. If you accidentally underexpose the film, how can you compensate for it?
Measurement Techniques:
( ) Oral Interview ( ) Pre-evaluation tests
( ) Objective Test ( ) Diagnostic tests
( ) Other (specify)  

Location of above Related Materials:
( ) Evaluation guidelines ( ) Pre-evaluation tests
( ) Group assessment information ( ) Diagnostic tests
( ) Other:


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