CRAIG HAVENS Composition Fundamentals: Describing Your Perspective

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1 CRAIG HAVENS Composition Fundamentals: Describing Your Perspective You work with space, you have a camera, you have a frame, and then a fraction of a second. But in this fraction of a second comes your past, comes your future, comes your relation with people, comes your ideology, comes your hate, comes your love. - Sebastião Salgado Course Number: X Class Structure: 7 Lecture Sessions/ 1 Lab Session / 2 Shoot Sessions Course Instructor: Craig Havens CATALOG DESCRIPTION Mastering the practice of composition is the key to creating dynamic, powerful imagery that successfully communicates your thoughts and ideas. This course will introduce students to the vocabulary and techniques involved in effective compositional practice and critique. Through historic examples, in-class demonstrations, class shoots and digital labs, students will learn how to control all aspects of photographic composition from initial concept, to shooting and post-production. From perspective and depth to set-styling and digital effects, this course will present photographers with a wide spectrum of compositional tools to apply to their own personal photographic vision. Enrollment limited to 18 students. Students must be familiar with such basic computer operations as opening and saving documents, file management, and copy/paste functions, etc. Students are encouraged to bring their camera and instruction manual to the first class. Summer 2012 Session 6/25 7to10pm Session 1 Intro/Framing 7/2 7to10pm Session 2 Perspective & Depth 7/7 10amto1pm LAB I Adobe Suite / Comp. in Post-Production 7/9 7to10pm Session 3 Hierarchy & Visual Flow 7/14 10amto1pm Session 5 The Golden Mean / Negative Space 7/16 7to10pm Session 4 The Landscape 7/21 3to6pm SHOOT I Vasquez Rocks State Park 7/23 7to10pm Session 6 Final Study Lecture / Tangencies 7/28 3to6pm SHOOT II Huntington Gardens 7/30 7to10pm Session 7 Final Study Critique

2 OBJECTIVES This class will explore the subject of composition as it relates to contemporary photographic arts and commercial practices. It will provide both intermediate and advanced photographers with a complete skill set regarding the following facets of photographic composition: Framing, Lighting, Camera Perspective, Hierarchy of Meaning, Constructing Narrative and Visual Flow, Camera Formats, The Landscape, The Golden Mean, Negative Space,Tangencies, Scale, Depth and Line. Students will gain insights into approaching subject matter and concept development, professional photographic practices, history of photography, development of visual sensitivity and generating personal insights into individual experience through the medium of photography. Upon completion of the class students will have completed a fullyrealized photostudy. EXPECTED OUTCOMES The general goal for this course is to provide photographers with a foundation of information and experience within the practice of photographic composition. In addition, the course will facilitate an opportunity for photographers to form their own personal photographic study. Specific objectives are that participants will be able to: -Accurately identify methods of creative composition and successfully master the basic principles of their balance and control -Articulate a personal aesthetic rationale within the practice of image composition -Successfully demonstrate a personal creative interest and vision in class assignments -Accumulate an understanding of basic composition and its ability to communicate ideas -Accurately adapt compositional techniques to the distinct nature of varied subject matter -Demonstrate competence regarding the principles of the Golden Mean and Rule of 3rds -Complete culminating experiences demonstrating competency in composing environmental photography including portraits and location studies -Successfully write, concept and complete a personal Photographic Essay demonstrating a personal vision and competency in course material -Meaningfully review classmates╩╝ course projects and participate in group critiques -Develop respectful and congruent interpersonal skills and abilities to work successfully with groups and individuals from diverse backgrounds within the program coursework -Correctly use vocabulary specific to the technical and creative facets of composition -Engage in positive and meaningful dialogue with classmates concerning course topics and student projects -Express interest in further study in photographic and artistic practices

3 DESCRIPTION OF CONTENT The course is made up of 10 sessions: seven classroom meetings, two field trips, and one computer lab. Participants should plan to attend all sessions in order to fully access the benefits of course materials and lectures. REQUIRED MATERIALS Supplies: 35mm Digital SLR Camera w/ manual setting capabilities Built-in or On-camera TTL strobe 50mm fixed Lens or equivalent zoom lens 1 Gigabyte Portable USB Flash Drive Texts: (Supplemental - Not Required for Course) This class is based off of the knowledge and observations gained by the instructor over the past 20 years of making work. The instructor will provide handouts and sample images to support the discussion. Most textbooks dealing with photographic composition, approach this subject from a narrow perspective that is based on common popular trends and basically give the impression that there is only one way to compose a "good" photograph. Artists and art history tell us the exact opposite - that composition and perspective share some commonalities and constants in relation to popular thought, but are ultimately personal practices deeply rooted in the unique perceptual experience of the artist themselves. For this reason, the course will explore this subject independent of a singular text while encouraging students to formulate and take responsibility for their own compositional practice and disciplines of perception. For those students that prefer an additional reading element, the optional texts below do a fine job of introducing readers in very unique ways to the theories and practices surrounding the art of visual composition. These texts are well-known to artists for exploring and describing the act of visual perception and composition: Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Barthes ISBN Rodin on Art and Artists by Auguste Rodin ISBN Seeing Is Forgetting The Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin by Lawrence Weschler ISBN As a technical supplement addressing the basics of popular photographic compositional practice students can refer to the following book: Composition Digital Field Guide by Alan Hess ISBN Available from publisher at

4 COURSE REQUIREMENTS -Attending all lectures and reading assigned materials -Completing in-class activities -Responding to discussion questions regarding session topics -Completing shooting assignments -Completing final project assignment -Observing Classroom Etiquette - No Texting or Phone Use - Raise Your Hand to be called on - Do not engage in private discussions during lecture or critique GRADING Participation 30% Each participant is expected to take an active part in activities. This includes presenting and sharing information, ideas, and thoughts in class discussions. The participation component of your course grade is based on: Frequent attendance Contribution to class and group discussions Cooperative and collaborative effort Completeness and accuracy of contributions and presentations Professional and respectful behavior Class preparation (e.g., completion of readings and activities by posted deadlines) Shooting Assignments 30% Three shooting assignment are due at various times during the course and are each worth 50 points (8% of the course grade). The assignments are designed to help you make meaningful connections among the pieces of information presented and your prior knowledge, as well as to assess your progress and understanding. The assignments build toward your final project. Each assignment is graded for completeness and accuracy. See the course schedule for assignment due dates. Final Project 40% A final photographic study to be presented in group critique at the last course meeting. Sample photographic studies will be reviewed during the course. The final project is designed to aid in your understanding of photographic studies and applying the principles of digital image-making in a generative way to your personal artistic practice. Incomplete Course Grades Incomplete course grades must be arranged with the instructor prior to the last week of the course. Course incompletes are only allowed in cases of documented, justified circumstances.

5 Class Handouts All class assignments, materials, and handouts are available for download at this URL: Etiquette: - Contact the instructor through only to inform of an absence or special circumstances. Ask questions concerning assignment requirements, techniques, or camera issues IN CLASS so that everyone can gain insight from your questions. - Do not request assignment or personal work reviews through . No reviews will be given for late work or work that students were not in class to present personally. - Do not request class notes through for missed classes. Any pertinent class notes from sessions will be posted as part of the week's assignment online. - Do not contact the instructor through personal/business or phone for class purposes. - You may contact the instructor by at - Any s breaching these points of etiquette will not receive a response Classroom Etiquette: - Absolutely NO Food or Drink in the Computer Lab at any time - Use of Cell or Smart Phones is not permitted during lectures or critiques - Refrain from talking during lectures or while other students are presenting work - Show respect for yourself and others - raise your hand to be called on before speaking - Do not leave the classroom once a lecture or critique has begun - if you must leave please do so discreetly and be sure to open and close the door gently. Blackboard Information on your login ID and instructions for accessing Blackboard should have been sent to you by the UCLA Extension Admissions Office. If you did not receive an concerning Blackboard or have additional questions please contact Support Services using the form at the URL below: UCLA STUDENT STORE / SOFTWARE DISCOUNTS Extension students who are enrolled in For-Credit classes are entitled to the same academic discounts as University students. In addition, students enrolled in designrelated certificate programs can take advantage of a further discount for Adobe software. The upshot is that a student enrolled in one class (but who is not enrolled in the certificate program) can bring their receipt in to the student store and purchase software at the regularly discounted price. A student who enrolls in the certificate program will receive the super-discount that was recently bartered with Adobe. Contact the UCLA Student Store for further details at: