(Current) Assignment #5: The Narrative

Required for Completion: 1 narrative photograph

Due Date: April 29th

Objective: This assignment is designed to utilize all of the technical and creative skills we have established in ART 143 and thus far in ART 290.

Definition of a Narrative: The dictionary definition of “narrative” is “The representation in art of an event or story.” (Webster.com) Specifically a narrative in photography is telling a story utilizing photographic imagery.

Points Possible: 50

Grading Rubric For Assignment:

Accomplished assignment objectives 30
Participated in critique / discussion 10
Image titled (Lastname#5) ready for critique 10


  • You may work on your own for this project or if you choose you may work with one partner. Working with a partner may be beneficial because you will be able to share equipment, creativity and assist each other when shooting. If you choose to shoot with a partner, each person must turn in their own images with their own edits.
  • This assignment requires high production values. This means time must be taken in each step from planning to finished image to insure best possible quality. Some steps you might take include: researching ideas of possible narratives, researching possible locations, understanding how the sun interacts with location (scouting), proping, staging, shooting with highest image quality in mind (tripod), using lighting, getting property and model releases (included in information) etc.
  • You may work in several ways. You may find a location and wish to come up with a narrative that will work in that location or vice versa. The narrative you create may come from a variety of subject matter: books, news, dreams, fables or your own creation. The narrative can be open ended meaning it does not resolve itself in the photograph, in fact this sometimes makes the best narrative photographs.

Artist Examples for Assignment #5

Gregory Crewdson

Jeff Wall

Jeniffer Zwick

Julia Fullerton-Batton

Ellen Kooi

Sandy Skoglund

Amy Stein


Assignment #4: Portraits

Required for Completion: 5 Photographs

Due Date: April 8th

Objective: Create 5 portraits of 5 different people that work together in a series.

Points Possible: 50

Grading Rubric For Assignment:

Accomplished assignment objectives 30
Participated in critique / discussion 10
5 Images in a folder (Lastname#4) ready for critique 10


  •  Come up with a concept for a portrait and use that same concept for all 5 portraits. For example, you could photograph 5 strangers, or you could photograph 5 people against the same background or backdrop. You should have a common theme or overall concept in all 5. I have included a wide variety of examples, some posed some candid, either is fine.
  • Another powerful tool to help relate all the portraits is how you choose to display them. You could shoot them all horizontal or vertical. You could crop all of them the same size and dimension. You could decide to make them all black and white or color. Be thinking of this as you start brainstorming for the project.
  • The portraits can be close-up, similar to a mug shot or they can show more of the environment, similar to the portrait project we did in ART143. The assignment is open to your creativity, have fun with it! Think beyond a traditional portrait.
  • If you wish you can choose to use lighting or light modifiers to enhance your portrait. Please contact your classmate who currently has the light kit to arrange for pickup. I have sent you the class email list so you can contact each other. If you have the lights currently, please respond and work with others who might like to use them. If you do choose to use lighting, make sure it enhances and does not take away from the imagery.

Artist Examples for Assignment #4

Richard Avedon | The American West

Alec Soth | Sleeping by the Mississippi

Amy Stein | Halloween in Harlem

Andrew Bush | Vector Portraits

Andrew Phelps | Higley, AZ

Jill Greenberg | End Times

Loretta Lux

Rineke Dijkstra

Diane Arbus


Assignment #3: Landscape / Cityscape

Required for Completion: 5 Photographs

Due Date:

  • 2 Working Images DUE: Monday, March 4th
  • Project DUE: Monday, March 18th

Objective: Choose either a landscape or cityscape theme and create a series of 5 images that work together.

Points Possible: 50

Grading Rubric For Assignment:

Accomplished assignment objectives 25
Submitted 2 Working Images by DUE date 15
Participated in critique / discussion  5
5 Images in a folder (Lastname#3) ready for critique  5


  • Decide on a landscape or cityscape to photograph. You can either choose to create your images from one area, for example the Superstition Mountains or 5 separate landscapes or cityscapes that work together.
  • The images you capture of your landscape or cityscape can be a variety of wide or detail views. You might choose to create all 5 from the same perspective.
  • If you wish you can incorporate the digital techniques (Panorama & HDR) we implemented in ART143
  • You are not limited to traditional ideas of landscape or cityscape photography. Feel free to take this as far as you want to go! Please see some of the examples below for inspiration.

Artist Examples for Assignment #3

Lisa Robinson

Micheal Kenna

Berenice Abbott

Brett Weston

Chris Sisarich

Brad Moore

Edward Burtynsky


Assignment #2: The Architect

Required for Completion: 5 Photographs

Due Date: Monday February 25th

Objective: To approach an architectural structure as your subject and photograph the most interesting elements forming a series of images based on your structure.

Points Possible: 50

Grading Rubric For Assignment:

Accomplished assignment objectives 25
Submitted 5 images from off campus shoot 15
Participated in critique / discussion  5
5 Images in a folder (Lastname#2) ready for critique  5


  • Using what you learned from the “Democratic Forrest” assignment, create 5 photographs using a structure as your subject. Remember, try and “look beyond the obvious” when approaching your subject and try to seek out the most interesting angles and elements that make up that structure.
  • Any structure will work, new, old, big, small, beautiful, strange etc. Find one that interests you. When photographing your structure, plan for the best lighting. Go once or twice and just explore, looking for the best angles and compositions. Make notes as to when your compositions will have the best lighting. Then go back several times and capture the images with the best lighting. You can utilize daylight, early morning and dusk light or even at night.
  • The images you capture for the series can be a combination of wider views and more detail oriented shots. You might consider capturing a series only comprised of detail images or only of wider views. It is up to you but try to shoot with the series of 5 in mind and how they work together to describe that structure.
  • Some things to keep in mind: A tripod will be very useful for this assignment. The images need to be sharp, in focus at the same time keeping the ISO down on your camera. Be aware of where the sun will be. Use online resources to help plan for sunrise, sunset and possible angles. Also, make sure if you choose a building that requires permission to photograph you get that permission before starting. Plan ahead and please let me know if you have any questions.
  • In addition to your 5 images, please submit 5 images from our off campus shoot (Downtown Chandler) by the end of the day Wednesday February 13th.

Artist Examples for Assignment #2:

Julius Shulman

Andrew Moore

Robert Polidori

Bernd and Hilla Becher

Michael Wolf

Bas Princen

Lewis Baltz

Robert Adams


Assignment #1 | The Democratic Forrest

Required for Completion: 5 photographs taken with William Eggleston’s “The Democratic Forrest” reading in mind.

Due Date: Monday, February 4th

Objective: To approach a space, study and analyze it and create a series of photographs that depict subject matter found in that space. Using a critical eye, your fellow students and your instructor, determine which images together make the strongest 5 photographs of all that were captured. In addition to your 5 final images, please include 1 photograph showing the entire space.

Points Possible: 50

Grading Rubric For Assignment:

Accomplished assignment objectives 25
Submit 3 preliminary images 15
Participated in critique / discussion  5
5 Images in a folder (Lastname#1) ready for critique  5


  • Find a space, indoor or outdoor that you will choose to photograph for this assignment. You must use the same space for the entire project. When choosing your space, make sure it is not too big so you can get to know it easily. Choose a space that is easily accessible and close to where you live so you can visit it frequently.
  • Once you have found a space you will photograph, pay attention to elements within the space. Look at the elements that occupy, enclose or make up the space. Watch how the light differs from sunrise to sunset. Watch how unnatural lights like streetlights etc affect the space after the sun goes down.
  • Begin to look at the space creatively and democratically. Photograph what you find interesting within the space. Remember, “look beyond the obvious.” Photograph how light interacts with the space. Photograph interesting objects within the space, doors windows, pathways, etc. You can also focus on how the light interacts with the space. For example, shadows, highlights, patterns etc.

Artist Examples for Assignment #1:

Uta Barth

Stephen Shore

William Eggleston

Mike Slack

Ed Panar

Text from Eggleston’s afterword in The Democratic Forest

I WAS IN OXFORD, Mississippi for a few days and I was driving out to Holly Springs on a back road, stopping here and there. It was the time of year when the landscape wasn’t yet green. I left the car and walked into the dead leaves off the road. It was one of those occasions when there was no picture there. It seemed like nothing, but of course there was something for someone out there. I started forcing myself to take pictures of the earth, where it had been eroded thirty or forty feet from the road. There were a few weeds. I began to realize that soon I was taking some pretty good pictures, so I went further into the woods and up a little hill, and got well into an entire roll of film.

Later, when I was having dinner with some friends, writers from around Oxford, or maybe at the bar of the Holiday Inn, someone said, ‘What have you been photographing here today, Eggleston?’

‘Well, I’ve been photographing democratically,’ I replied.

‘But what have you been taking pictures of?’

‘I’ve been outdoors, nowhere, in nothing.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, just woods and dirt, a little asphalt here and there…’

…The Democratic Forest, that would look over me. It was not much different from Cartier-Bresson bringing the whole world from America to China to The Decisive Moment…

…I am afraid that there are more people than I can imagine who can go no further than appreciating a picture that is a rectangle with an object in the middle of it, which they can identify. They don’t care what is around the object as long as nothing interferes with the object itself, right in the center. Even after the lessons of Winogrand and Friedlander, they don’t get it. They respect their work because they are told by respectable institutions that they are important artists, but what they really want to see is a picture with a figure or an object in the middle of it. They want something obvious. The blindness is apparent when someone lets slip the word ‘snapshot’. Ignorance can always be covered by ‘snapshot’. The word has never had any meaning. I am at war with the obvious.