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Syllabus: FA 3273/ Photojournalism

Instructor:

Matthew Rainey

Instructor Contact Information:
  • Cell: 908-442-3258
  • Email: mrainey@kean.edu
  • Website:www.mattraineyimages.com


This course meets face to face in Vaugn Eames Room 103 (MacLab) and online via the Kean University Blackboard site.

Online at: Blackboard Course Site

Table of Contents Back to Top

Contents | Welcome |Course Description | Text & Materials | Course Goals & Objectives
Grading & Late Assignment Policy | Grading Scale | Rubrics
Module Assignments | Mid-Term & Final Assignments | Academic Honesty | Accommodations
Class Schedule

Welcome! Back to Top

My goal is to provide a quality learning experience for every student. Communication is critical to accomplishing that goal. Please contact me with any concerns, questions, or difficulties as soon as they arise! I am always willing to make time to work with you one on one. Call or speak to me at the end of class to make an appointment to discuss any issues you have with your work.

Course Description Back to Top

Documentary Photojournalism is a lab course that meets one time per week. This is a web enhanced class, with the syllabus, assignments, schedule, staff information, student roster, and other information available online on the Kean University Blackboard Site. In addition, some work will be turned in via the internet. Each week, the class meeting time will be divided into three parts. The first will be a discussion of the previous week’s assignments. The second will be the introduction of the next unit, and the third will be either a practicum, a hands on exercise related to that week’s assignment, or a discussion, featured speaker, or one on one time with the instructor.

Classroom attendance and participation are paramount to getting the most out of this class for yourself and your classmates. We all have a unique perspective on the world and on photojournalism; we need to learn from one another. I do not grade attendance, but failure to attend will make it nearly impossible to do well.

I plan to invite local photojournalists, editors and other established journalists as often as possible so you have the opportunity to meet working professionals who will share their work as a source of creative inspiration as well as help provide direction and career advice. Success in photography, photojournalism, and the arts in general can be as much about contacts and collaboration as it is about the work itself. Take advantage of these opportunities to meet and get to know these professionals.

I cannot stress enough to you how important it is to begin your midterm and final projects early. Get busy! Please feel free to contact me at ANY time to discuss the midterm, final project, or ask about any assignment. The only foolish question is the one you don’t ask.


Text & Materials Back to Top

Text: Photojournalism: The Professional’s Approach (Sixth Edition) by Ken Kobre (2007)

You can find it on Amazon at the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Photojournalism-Sixth-Professionals-Kenneth-Kobre/dp/075068593X

Software:

Students will need Adobe Photoshop or another digital imaging program. GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/) is an excellent open source image editor that offers most of the functionality of Photoshop without the cost. GIMP is available for Windows as well as Mac platforms. There are how to tutorials available on the GIMP web site.

Students will need to be familiar with Picasa. Picasa is a hybrid application which both resides on your computer and had a sharing feature. Users create Web albums to share individual pictures or entire albums. We will be using Picasa to share pictures and turn in assignment, so it is very important that you become proficient with this application as soon as possible.

 

Download Picasa here:

Mac:

http://picasa.google.com/mac/

Windows:
Windows 98 and ME: http://dl.google.com/picasa/picasa2-setup-1884.exe
Windows 2000: http://dl.google.com/picasa/picasaweb-current-setup.exe

Picasa Getting Started Page : http://picasa.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=93184

There are video tutorials located in the Tutorials section of the course menu.

Using an asset management software is recommended, but not required. We will be discussing work flow and asset management using some of the industry standard tools. Adobe Lightroom and Apple's Aperture software are the leaders in this field. These programs are not cheap, which is why they are not mandatory, but you will find that using one of these programs will greatly improve your ability to track and manage your image assets. You can download them here:

Download Lightroom: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/

Download Aperture: http://www.apple.com/aperture/

Students MUST work in digitally for this class.

The only requirement for equipment is that students MUST SHOOT with a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) format camera. This requirement is to insure from the outset that students are not prevented by the type or quality of their equipment from creating professional quality photographs and projects.


Course Goals & Objectives Back to Top

Objectives:

The goal of F.A. 3273: Documentary Photojournalism is the further development of the student photographer’s skills in capturing moments of real-life from their unique personal viewpoint using the documentary photojournalism method. Students will learn to focus on the content of their pictures, the quality of their pictures, and the way they observe the world around them.

Student will reflect on how they will share their views and perspectives with their audience. Students must work with the instructor to develop the quality and scope of their own work and learn to express a definitive, visually communicated point of view.

Goals:

  1. Students will demonstrate the ability to employ documentary photojournalism techniques to capture photographs that contain the emotions, and circumstances of the people photographed.
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to construct a story in pictures, connected by a visually recognizable theme or topic.
  3. Students will demonstrate the ability to complete assignments that document a specific pre-assigned subject matter in a professional, ethical manner.
  4. Students will demonstrate an ability to discuss their work and the work of their classmates using the terms, classifications, and benchmarks of the professional photojournalist.
  5. Students will demonstrate the ability to research, plan, and execute documentary photography assignments.
  6. Students will demonstrate a personal approach to documentary photography by discretionary selection of subject matter, composition, exposure, and other tools and techniques of the photojournalist.

Grading & Late Assignment Policy Back to Top

Weekly assignments are due at Midnight, on the Sunday before the class period on which it is due.

Late Assignments will not be accepted. Assignments handed in late will be treated as incomplete and receive a score of ZERO

If a student does not turn in the Midterm on time, there is no possibility for a final grade of A for the course.

The final assignment is due on the last regular day of classes and WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED LATER. If the final is not turned in on time, the student will forfeit the entire 200 points.


Grading Scale Back to Top

Grades for this class will be derived from a series of rubrics, which are provided in the next section of this syllabus.

Each rubric provides information on the standard you will be held to for your work, the point value of each portion of the assignment, as well as provide an outline for completion of your work. Use these rubrics to your advantage. If you follow the rubric, you will almost assuredly get a good grade!

There are rubrics for Discussion Board Posts, Weekly Assignments,the Mid Term and for the Final project. These rubrics are formulated to give you, as learners, a deeper understanding of the criteria used to evaluate your work. These rubrics offer a transparent grading function, with as little subjectivity as possible.

The total number of points available for this course is 1,000.


Rubrics Back to Top

Module Assignment Rubric: 100 points possible for each module

Area Evaluated

 

Requirements Not Met

(0-10 points)

Requirements Partially Met

(11-25 points)

Requirements Mostly Met

(26 points)

Requirements Fully Met 30 pts

Shooting Assignment:

45 points possible

Assignment is not turned in or presented after deadline. . Assignment is presented on time. Assignment addresses assigned topic. Assignment fulfills all requirements. Images are of outstanding quality. Assignment meets all criteria

Photojournalist Interview

15 points possible

Interview is not presented. Interview transcript is presented after deadline. Assignment is completed on time. Transcript/ discussion lacks detail. Interview does not focus on clip being discussed Interview fully explains the clip presented.  It is presented on time and on topic.  Interview meets all criteria

Clip Presentation

15 points possible

Assignment is presented after deadline. Clip is improperly presented. Clip is not relevant to class topics. Assignment is presented on time. Clip is properly formatted. Clip is relevant to course discussion. Clip fulfills all requirements. Clip contains timely, socially relevant subject matter. Image selected is of outstanding technical quality Clip meets all criteria

Discussion Board Posting


25 points possible

Posting is not made or made after due date. Posting is made on time.Posting is incomplete, or does not address topic appropriately. Student posting fulfills all requirements.Post contains timely, relevant subject matter. Discussion Board Posting meets all criteria

Mid-Term Assignment Rubric: 250 points possible for this assignment

Area Evaluated

 

Requirements Not Met

(0 points)

Requirements Full Met

(100 points)

Timeliness:

100 points possible

Assignment is not presented, or is presented after deadline. Assignment is presented on time, at or prior to the due date.

Area Evaluated

 

Requirements Not Met or only Partially Met

(0-40 points)

Requirements Full Met

(41-50 points)

Cohesion

50 points possible

Pictures lack cohesiveness. Subject matter or topic is not obvious to the viewer or audience.

Pictures are cohesive. Topic is easily determined by looking at the photographs.

Quality

50 points possible

Picture quality ranges from low to uneven or inconsistent. Picture Quality is consistently high. Images demonstrate a grasp of photographic technique and aesthetic principals.

Final Assignment Rubric: 250 points possible for this assignment

Area Evaluated

 

Requirements Not Met

(0 points)

Requirements Full Met

(100 points)

Timeliness:

100 points possible

Assignment is not presented, or is presented after deadline. Assignment is presented on time, at or prior to the due date.

Area Evaluated

 

Requirements Not Met or only Partially Met

(0-40 points)

Requirements Full Met

(41-50 points)

Story Telling

50 points possible

Story lacks cohesiveness. Images do not tell a complete story, or leave the reader guessing about the project’s topic.

Story is  cohesive. Topic is easily determined by looking at the photographs.

Visual Variety

50 points possible

Story lacks visual variety. Too many images show same perspective, lens choice, lighting, etc. Picture Quality is consistently high. Images demonstrate a grasp of photographic technique and aesthetic principals.

Module Assignments Back to Top

Module Assignments

Each Module consists of five elements.

  1. Reading Assignment:
  2. Discussion Board Post
  3. Shooting Assignment
  4. Clip Presentation
  5. Photographer Interview

Reading Assignment

The first part of your module assignment will be to read, either form the text or from designated course materials. How well you understand the material and whether you have completed the assignment will be measured by your participation in the dicussion board. Complete the reading as soon as possible, so you will have the theoretical foundation you will need to complete the other parts of the module

Discussion Board Posting

The second part of the weekly assignments will be readings from the course text. These readings will be the basis for discussion forum posts, and comments from peers. These posts are due on the Thursday following the Monday class meeting in order to give peers time to read and comment.

Shooting Assignment

Included in this syllabus is a list of 10 unit assignments which each student will interpret, shoot, process, upload to Photoshelter and be able to discuss in detail. The assignment will be due at the beginning of the next class meeting after the assignment is given. Students will be assigned a broadly defined topic or subject matter that you will explore photographically. The subject will follow the guidelines in the assignment briefing posted in that unit on the course site in Blackboard.

Clip Assignment

Each student will turn in a mounted newspaper or magazine clip (mounted on 11x14 black mounting board) of an image or series of images which move the student in some way. The student is expected to be able to discuss what impact the image has and why.

Photographer Interview

The student is expected to post a transcript of an e-mail or phone conversation with the photojournalist who shot the piece to the Interview Discussion board post on the course Blackboard site. The instructor recommends each student choose local newspaper or magazine clips so that contact with the photojournalist is easier. Ask the professional what are the situations or circumstances around the picture, the story and how the picture was made, including technical information and any other information which will contribute to the class understanding the piece. The instructor can assist with contacting the photojournalists.


Midterm & Final Assignments Back to Top

Midterm Assignment

DUE

Each student will conceive, propose, shoot, report, process, print and present a picture package.

The subject matter of picture package can be almost anything. It is the student's choice. I do have one restriction. You must shoot people you don’t know. No roommates, friends, or family members. The reason for this restriction is: one of the most important skills a photojournalist needs is the ability to put his or her subjects at ease, and work collaboratively, even though the photographer and subject do not know one another well at all. Photographing strangers puts you outside your comfort zone, and you will begin to develop techniques and mannerisms that will instill confidence in your subjects. Other than that, it is a free for all. Just remember to focus on the visual! The midterm will be uploaded to Photoshelter so we can share our work in class.

Instructor's Note: Please Read!

The Midterm Assignment is worth 200 points – 100 points meeting the minimum project requirements explained in the rubric. 100 additional points are available based on the quality of execution and delivery. Late Midterm projects WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED and the student will forfeit the entire 200 points.

Final Assignment

DUE

Each student will conceive, propose, shoot, report, process, print and present a picture story. The subject of the picture story must be timely and socially relevant. A social issue, politics, social reform, drugs, medicine, AIDS, homelessness, etc. This is your opportunity to take everything you have learned in this course and put it to work. A chance to create work that will WOW your classmates, instructor, and anyone who sees it. The final assignment will be presented as a portfolio of images in Photoshelter.

Instructor's Note: Please Read!

The Final Assignment is worth 200 points – 100 points meeting the minimum project requirements explained in the rubric. 100 additional points are available based on the quality of execution and delivery. Late Midterm projects WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED and the student will forfeit the entire 200 points.


Academic Honesty Back to Top

Students in F.A. 3273: Documentary Photojournalism are expected to conform to the Kean University Academic Integrity Policy.

All work turned in for this class must be created expressly for this class. Reusing work from other classes, or turning in any work previously graded by this or any other professor is unacceptable. Any work found to violate this policy will receive a grade of zero. Below are some of the definitions, quoted from the university Academic Integrity Policy, which I will use in determining if work does not conform to established academic ethical standards.

Please refer to the full Kean University Academic Integrity Policy for explicit university rules, policies, punishments, and support.

If you have any questions about the ethical; nature of your actions, ask before you act. Once work is presented or published, taking it back is impossible.

Kean University Academic Honesty Policy


Accommodations Back to Top

To request academic accommodations for a disability, contact Professor Rainey at 908-442-3258. Students are required to provide documentation of their disability and meet with a Disability Specialist prior to receiving accommodations. Information about a disability or health condition will be regarded as confidential.


Class Schedule Back to Top

Class Meeting Date Assignment Due Lecture Topic Practicum Subject
1 09/14/09 First Meeting/ No Work due Activity & Perspective No Practicum
2 09/21/09 Activity/Perspective Capturing Movement Camera Settings/ Shutter speed/ Using a Tripod/ Time Exposure
3 09/28/09 Movement/ Mid-term picture package topic due. Len Choice & Visual Variety To be determined
4 10/05/09 News The Art of the Portrait & Using Light Portrait Exercise
10/12/09 No Class Meeting: Columbus Day!
5 10/19/09 Portrait The Scavenger Hunt Small Group Feature Hunt
6 10/26/09 Feature Picture Package Presentation of Multi-photo packges
7 11/02/09 Mid-Term Project Due! Final Project Proposal Due Sports Photography No Practicum
8 11/09/09 Sports

Veteran's Day

Discussion of Final Project Proposals
9 11/16/09 Veteran's Day Community Journalism Presentation of Community Journalism
10 11/23/09 Community Journalism Covering a Recurring Event: Thanksgiving Review of Final Project Proposals: Be prepared to show progress.
11 11/30/09 Thanksgiving Expressing your Personal Vision Question & Answer Session/ Student Request
12 12/07/09 Personal Vision Story Telling Guest Speaker: Aristide Economopolous
13 12/14/09 Final Project Due No Lecture Questions/Concerns/Discussion
14 12/21/09 Student Survey Student Multimedia No Practicum