ARTS 596 (1SY) - Special Topics in Studio Art

Topic: Vision & Process

Course Delivery Method: Scheduled meeting time, Online (no campus visits), EUNH
Credits: 4.0
Term: Fall 2020 - Full Term (08/31/2020 - 12/11/2020)
Class Size:   17  
CRN: 17310
Introductory level topics to be announced before registration. Topics can be either a lecture or studio course. May be repeated with different topics.
You must sign up in the Dept Office before registering through WEBCAT.
Repeat Rule: May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits.
Instructors: Michael Cardinali

Times & Locations

Start Date End Date Days Time Location
8/31/2020 12/11/2020 W 8:10am - 12:00pm ONLINE
Additional Course Details: 

Vision and Process

This course is specially designed in response to COVID-19 and our need to be flexible in the face of changing living and working conditions. What would normally be an introductory black and white darkroom class is ­adapted to be able to function without the need of a darkroom, which is closed due to safety concerns around the spread of the coronavirus.

In this class, students will still engage printmaking as a hands-on analog process, that can be performed safely with natural household ingredients, and which delves into the earliest history of photography. They will also use “easy” digital cameras (i.e. phones) to build visual stories around a theme. Working exclusively in black and white using (often free) programs and apps, they will learn how digital tools have been adapted from the darkroom, and how the nuances of tonality hold great expressive power in the creation of their images. The course will connect historical and contemporary practices, and readings on photography will supplement projects.

The class is designed to be fully operational remotely. Discussions from readings can take place over Zoom, as well as utilizing Canvas Discussion Boards and other chat software. All photographs will be digital. This will allow for critiques to more easily function online, where the whole class can be present at once. With a nearly four-hour meeting time,  Zoom sessions will be broken up by periods to work on projects and then reconvene as a group. Chat features will be set up to communicate with each other during work sessions.


  1. Anthotypes (photograms): These camera-less images use photosensitive material from plants. These soft, delicate images can be printed on a variety of materials and vary in color depending on the ingredients used. Exposures can take days or weeks, so this will be an ongoing project that runs concurrently with others.
  2. Translating the black and white darkroom, without a darkroom and without film: Students will engage in different exercises to learn how colors in the world translate to black and white imagery. Photographers have long chosen specific films, chemicals and printing papers for their desired abilities to render light and shadow. Students will use their phones to create black and white digital photographs in a deliberate and considered way, using readily available apps and software.
  3. Visual conversations: In this long-form group project, students will post images to a class website that respond visually to the group member who posted before them.
  4. The unknowable: Using any techniques covered, students will create images about their experiences, using their cameras to ask questions about things they don’t know. How can they respond photographically to the moment we are living in? They will be encouraged to ask what images surprise them, and how this informs what they do.