DMA 160: Special Topics In Design | Media Arts: Introduction To Photography - Fall 2018


Special Topics In Design | Media Arts: Introduction To Photography


Serge Hoeltschi |
office hours: by appointment.


Julian Stein |
office hours: by appointment.


Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am – 11.50am with a 15 minute break.
Broad 4220

SYLLABUS: 160_F18_syllabus.pdf


This course explores different genres of photography and it’s importance in the 21st century.

- We will examine the social, political, and cultural impact of photography on the public opinion — in news, lifestyle, fashion, and art.
- We will explore the differences between candid environmental street and portrait photography to conceptual work in fashion and art.
- How can we create impactful emotions and stories in photography?
- What are the different approaches of capturing a split second, to stop time, to commit moments into eternity?
- How to use photography as a medium of self-expression.

The students will learn how to execute their vision from a concept to the final picture in a hands-on method, taught in workshops where the students learn the fundamentals of studio lighting and professional photography.

Classes will consist of lectures, demonstrations, practices, cooperative projects and group discussions / critique. If there are any kind of concerns or struggles with the material please inform the instructors as soon as possible.


A high degree of creative freedom is encouraged, therefore each lesson requires a strong personal engagement and self-motivation. Students are expected to contribute to discussions and critiques.
Ask questions, share your ideas, and give one another thoughtful feedback during critiques.
Let’s work together to keep our class free of distractions and to remain present for one another.
That means laptops closed and smartphones tucked away during critiques and lectures.
Smartphone use or checking personal e-mails, social media, massaging during class will reduce your participation grade.


Attendance is mandatory and is taken very seriously. Absences require teacher notification and permission before class. Absences will not be excused after the fact except in extreme circumstances.
Illness requires a doctor’s note.
Unexcused absences and tardies will affect the attendance grade (1 unexcused absence will reduce the numeric score by 0.5)
Class starts at 9:00am. If you are over 10 minutes late, you will receive a tardy. Three tardies is equivalent to one unexcused absence.


Students will complete 4 projects. All projects are evaluated on how well they demonstrate an understanding of the material, as well as their conceptual and aesthetic qualities. The project grade will be evaluated on the quality and originality of the concept, how the shoot was prepared and executed, as well as the quality of post-production.
Projects must be completed in order to pass the course. Late assignments will reduce the project by a full grade (i.e. from a A to a B)
Assignments are only considered complete when accessible from the DMA cloud site.


Class grade will be assessed by completion of work, participation in discussion, engagement in assignments and attendance.

Quality of assignments 60% (project 1, 2, + 3 are 20% and project 4 is 40% of the total project grade)
Creativity/concept of work 10%
Class Participation 10%
Engagement and self-motivation 10%
Attendance 10%


Project 1: Street Photography
Due Tuesday October 11, 9am
Capture a moment of real life which will create an emotional impact on the viewer.
Take pictures to stop time, to commit moments into eternity. Make human nature tangible.
1 to 4 photographs — uploaded to the DMA cloud

Project 2:
Due by Tuesday October 30, 9am
Create a picture from scratch in a studio environment with a simple background.
You can use props, structures for foreground or background.
The subject can be a still life, a portrait or an experimental art/fashion concept.
The goal of the project is that the student will learn how to translate his vision into reality, by using the tools of photography and explore his creativity in the process of the execution of the project.
Students can either work with strobe lighting in the showroom or create a curated environment using controlled (natural or practical) light sources.
You can shoot on a location as long as it is used as a simple backdrop for the concept.
1 to 4 photographs — uploaded to the DMA cloud

Project 3:
Due by Thursday November 8, 9am
This project is similar to project 2. This time the student creates a picture from scratch in a practical location environment which has to be in a relation to the subject of the picture.
The subject can be a portrait, an experimental art concept or a curated fashion/life style picture.
The goal of the project is to further practice the use of the photographic tools to translate the students vision into a final edited photograph.
1 to 4 photographs — uploaded to the DMA cloud

Project 4:
Due by Tuesday November 27, 9am
For the final project students are free to choose any format or genre of photography.
This project will be either displayed in print or in a booklet that we will show to the public.
The students have to decide first if they want to show their project as large format prints or as a booklet to choose their concept.
Print: 1-3 pictures, booklet: series of 6-40 pictures. Upload documentation to the DMA cloud.

Projects have to be uploaded as JEPG’s in a high resolution.
Please create a folder with first and last name.
Upload the pictures to sub-folders named project 1, project 2, project 3, project 4

Commitment to Diversity & Safer Spaces:

We understand the classroom as a space for practicing freedom; where one may challenge psychic, social, and cultural borders and create meaningful artistic expressions. To do so we must acknowledge and embrace the different identities and backgrounds we inhabit. This means that we will use preferred pronouns, respect self-identifications, and be mindful of special needs. Disagreement is encouraged and supported, however our differences affect our conceptualization and experience of reality, and it is extremely important to remember that certain gender, race, sex, and class identities are more privileged while others are undermined and marginalized. Consequently, this makes some people feel more protected or vulnerable during debates and discussions. A collaborative effort between the students, TA, and instructor is needed to create a supportive learning environment. While everyone should feel free to experiment creatively and conceptually, if a class member points out that something you have said or shared with the group is offensive, avoid being defensive; instead approach the discussion as a valuable opportunity for us to grow and learn from one another. Alternatively if you feel that something said in discussion or included in a piece of work is harmful, you are encouraged to speak with the instructor or TA. *Statement adopted from voidLab at:

Center for Accessible Education:

Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Accessible Education (CAE) at (310) 825-1501 or in person at Murphy Hall A255. When possible, students should contact the CAE within the first two weeks of the term as reasonable notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. For more information visit

Mental Health & Wellness:

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, depression, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. UCLA offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, consider utilizing the confidential mental health services available on campus. I encourage you to reach out to the Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) for support. For more information visit:
Phone: (310) 825-0768. An after-hours clinician is available 24/7.

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