History of Photography Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Location

Parcells Hall 313B

Office Hours

TTH 330-430, or by appointment

Course Information

COVID-19 Protocols

Recording Policy

Disability Statement

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Disability Services facilitates access to all programs and services according to the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as other federal and state laws.

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If you find you are unable to access material in an accessible format please contact the Disability Services Office at (806) 345-5639 . This office will work in conjunction with other campus resources to address and accommodate your issue in a timely manner.

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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, feeling down, 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. Amarillo College 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, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus by calling the AC Counseling Center at 806-371-5900. The AC Counseling Center website is https://www.actx.edu/counseling/ . Also, if you are in need of social services (affordable housing, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, medical/dental/vision, legal), please call the AC Advocacy & Resource Center at 806-371-5439. The AC Advocacy & Resource Center website is https://www.actx.edu/arc

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The Tutoring for Success policy applies to any student whose grade or performance in the course falls below a departmentally determined minimum threshold. In either of those cases, the instructor will direct the student to the appropriate tutoring service, which may be faculty-led, discipline-specific, and/or general. Under this policy, the instructor will follow specific departmental guidelines governing the use, duration, and grade component of the tutoring need.

Administrative Drop Policy

Students who do not attend class on or prior to the census date will be administratively dropped. Effective Fall, 2016

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Students who wish to withdraw from a course must complete all steps indicated on the Academic Withdrawal Request form by the course withdrawal deadline.

NOTE: Students who are attending Texas institutions of higher education, for the first time fall 2007 and later, may not withdraw from more than six courses during their academic career. This withdrawal limitation does not include dual credit or developmental classes (Senate Bill 1231 Rule 4.10.) For more information on Drop and Withdrawal Policies, please visit the Registrar's Office Web site.

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PHTC-1313-002 History of Photography


Prerequisite: ARTS 2356

Course Description

A historical survey of the technical and aesthetic development of photography. Topics include the beginnings of the medium, inventors, development of photographic equipment, styles of the creative masters, aesthetic themes and the social impact of photography.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at https://melodiegraves.youcanbook.me

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(3 sem hrs; 3 lec, 1 lab)

Class Type


Syllabus Information


Required Textbook - Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography

By Gretchen Garner


The lab practicums will vary depending on which options students choose for each module. Students may produce digital projects and submit them online or they may choose analog projects that require darkroom supplies. Some supplies for analog work will be provided. Consult with the instructor before buying materials.

Student Performance

End-of-Course Outcomes:  Describe the aesthetic and technical evolution of photography; distinguish and identify historic and contemporary image-makers; and perform research on a photography or historic theme. (WECM)

Specific Student Outcomes:

Students will

  • Demonstrate knowledge of photographers, processes, and trends in the history of photography
  • Conduct research utilizing library and internet resources
  • Identify compositional devices used in photography
  • Analyze photographs using appropriate terminology and articulate these thoughts effectively in writing (and/or in oral presentation)
  • Understand and refrain from plagiarism
  • Present work for grading in a professional manner, as directed by the instructor
  • Participate meaningfully in critique
  • Maintain a professional and respectful attitude
  • Maintain classroom facilities and shared supplies

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at https://acconnect.actx.edu .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

Class Policies

Course & Conduct

AC Connect (Blackboard)
The syllabus, assignment sheets, screencasts, videos, quizzes, and other documents are located on the AC Connect web page for this course (also referred to as Blackboard). Students should contact AskAC with questions regarding log in. Students are responsible for downloading and printing documents as needed.
Attendance & Participation Policy
Due to Covid-19 it may not be possible to attend class or to meet in person. Therefore there is no attendance policy for the course. Materials will be available online to successfully complete the course. All in-person activities are optional. Students are required to participate online with the materials and submit projects by the due date.
Zoom Participation: During Zoom class meetings students are expected to have their cameras on during class discussions, lectures, breakout sessions, and work in progress critiques. Students may use a background image if they do not want the space they are in visible. Cameras may be turned off during videos and screencasts. Students should be available to respond at anytime, and should post a comment in the chat room if they need to leave for a moment.
The preferred method of correspondence is email: rwest@actx.edu.

Announcements: This will be used for big events such as schedule changes, class cancellations, and extra credit opportunities.
Calendar: All relevant course information will be listed on the calendar. Students should check the calendar for the lectures, activities, due dates and other important information. The calendar will be updated to reflect changes to the schedule.
Email: I check email in the morning and then later in the day. Students should expect a response within 24 hours. I do not regularly check email on the weekends but will respond as soon as possible.
Grading: Generally speaking, students can expect project grades to be posted with one week of the due date. Grades are released when all student projects have been graded and some take longer than others.
Phone Calls:  To speak by phone, please schedule an appointment.
Office Hours:  My Zoom account will be available. After the first person, a waiting room will be enabled so that students are not interrupted. Zoom meetings may also be scheduled for questions, discussions, and tutoring. (Please see top of page for more details.)


Copyright Notice
Students must be aware and responsible for the Copyright Notice for the course: The materials on this course website are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for the purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.

Email Policy
The preferred method of correspondence with the instructor is email. Please use rwest@actx.edu. When sending email to the instructor, please include the name of the course in the subject line. The instructor and Amarillo College will use student’s Gmail account and AC Online for correspondence. For this reason, students are responsible for checking both on a regular basis. Students cannot submit photography assignments as email attachments; the image file size is too large. Please use WeTransfer (wetransfer.com) to send large files.

College Disability Statement
Any student who because of a disabling condition may require some special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact Disability Services (SSC 119, Phone: 371-5436) as soon as possible.

Drop Policy
Should the need arise; the student is responsible for dropping a course. See the Amarillo College master calendar on the AC website and the course calendar for the date of the last day to drop a course. 

Coursework & Exams

Exam Policy Each module has a quiz at the end of the section that covers materials from the module. Quizzes are available on Blackboard. On-line modules open at 9 am on Tuesday mornings: To earn full credit lectures, quizzes, and responses should be completed within 14 days.

Homework Policy Although some open lab time is scheduled during class, successful completion of this course will require work outside of class. To receive full credit for projects students must have assignments completed at the start of class on the scheduled due date.

Make-up Exam Policy Tests (quizzes and exams) are available online during the module (14 days). In order to be fair to students who take the test as scheduled, failure to take tests by 11 pm on day of the exam will result in a zero for that test score. Since quizzes are open for two weeks during each module, there will be no other dates scheduled.


Photography Policy
Throughout the study of photography, students must make new photographs for each assignment; this ensures that students are using their cameras on a regular basis and refining their visual thinking and technical skills. Submitting old photographs or photographs created for another class will earn a zero for the project. Appropriation of images, regardless of the source, is plagiarism (refer to Plagiarism Policy).
Lab Policy
Only students currently enrolled in photography classes are allowed to use photography labs. Do not invite friends and family into the labs. The computer labs, darkrooms, and studios require students be enrolled in a course, or have taken specific courses, before using those areas.
Plagiarism Policy
It is crucial for students not to pass off the ideas or words or images of another as their own, to do so is considered theft and will be treated accordingly. When paraphrasing or quoting another source always use parenthetical citation to credit the source, and include all websites and/or books reviewed in the bibliography. In fairness to other students who worked hard on their essays and photographic projects, students caught plagiarizing will earn a zero for the project and may be subject to additional disciplinary actions by Amarillo College.

Grading Criteria

Grading & Percentages

Grading Format / A-F (100-0%)

A = Excellent 100-90%

B = Good 89-80%

C = Adequate 79-70%

D = Weak 69-60%

F = Unacceptable 59-0%

Grading Criteria/Grade Scale

The grade percentages are as follows:

Lectures / Quizzes 20%

LABS Lecture based visual response - 30% (6 at 5% each)

Written Responses (midterm / final) 30% (15% each)

Visual Research Portfolio – 6 images 20%

Refer to handouts for the requirements of each assignment.

Grading Policy

Assessment is based on the following:

  • Attends lectures, labs, and demonstrations
  • Participates in in-class activities, discussion boards, and critiques
  • Demonstrates the ability to conduct research
  • Comes prepared for class, stays on task, and brings appropriate materials
  • Displays an understanding of the concepts discussed
  • Discusses ideas and asks questions
  • Writes in an academic style that is coherent and conveys an understanding of the topic
  • Utilizes the vocabulary of photography
  • Submits essays with sources cited, bibliographies included, and does not plagiarize the material of others
  • Presents projects on time and meets the requirements of each

Late Work Policy
Projects considered on time will be ready for presentation at the beginning of class on the scheduled due date. In fairness to students who finish projects on time there are penalties for late projects. Late projects submitted within one week of the critique date receive a 10% deduction in total points for the assignment, and projects submitted within two weeks there is a 20% deduction in points. Projects not submitted within two weeks are not accepted.


Attendance & Participation Policy
Due to Covid-19 it may not be possible to attend class or to meet in person. Therefore there is no attendance policy for the course. Materials will be available online to successfully complete the course. All in-person activities are optional. Students are required to participate online with the materials and submit projects by the due date.



Daily Schedule

This schedule is subject to change throughout the semester. We will meet on Zoom unless we need to meet in person for demonstrations, and those meetings will be posted on the class calendar. Students should watch the lecture and read the assigned materials before the start of class. Class time will be used for discussions, demos, questions, and feedback.






Meet on Zoom: Getting Started - Blackboard / Syllabus / Overview of course



Module 1 / Inventions & Advancements / Quiz

Visual Response Introduction (images and portfolio)



Module 2 / Early Fine Art / Read Chapter 1 / Quiz



Module 3 / Turn of the Century Trends / Read Chapter 2 / Quiz

Written Response (midterm and final) Introduction



Module 4 / Fine Art Redefined (Europe) / Chapter 3



Module 5 / Color Photography / no assigned chapters



Module 6 / Documentary and Journalism / Chapter 4



Module 7 / Magazines and Fashion / Chapter 5

LABS 1-3 Due, Upload to class folder in Google Drive



Spring Break, no classes this week



Module 8 / Spirit & New Paradigms / Chapters 6&7

Written Response Midterm Due (by the end of class)



Module 9 / Street Photography / Chapter 8



Module 10 / Photography about Photography / Chapter 9



Module 11 / New Landscape and Portraiture / Chapter 10



Module 12 / Subject Self & Invention / Chapters 11 & 12



LABS 4-6 Due, Upload to class folder in Google Drive



Visual Response Portfolio Due Upload to class folder in Google Drive



Written Response Final due (by the end of class)

Additional Information

Refer to class webpage on Blackboard for details.

Syllabus Created on:

01/17/22 1:53 PM

Last Edited on:

01/17/22 1:57 PM