HM 220 - Black and White Photography 




An introduction to Black and White Photography, this class offers a pertinent look into the most critical concepts of Black and White photography. Not only will students learn the art of image capture on a manual SLR camera, they will also acquire the skills necessary to develop their own B+W film and print their own images in the darkroom. Topics covered in this 10-week intensive are: SLR camera operation, lens selection, metering, f-stops, shutter speeds, depth of field, perspective, contrast, the zone system, and color theory. The class will conclude with an exhibition, student critique, and an in-depth discussion and understanding of how all of these techniques apply to our current use of contemporary digital cameras and computers

Students must have their own 35mm SLR film camera with the following qualities:

1. Manual focus only (no auto focus cameras)

2. Removable lens(es)

3. Built in light metering system

4. At least a 50mm lens, or a short zoom lens that includes 50mm within its scope. 50mm is ideal, but short zooms like 35-70mm, 28-70,, are OK. Most 50mm lenses will be either f1.4, f1.7, f1.8 or f2.0.

Black and White Photography Syllabus 

Spring 2013 

Instructor: A. Perry Heller  Contact: 802-472-1727    E-mail:

Office hours: Appointment-based consultations will be made available. Please contact Perry Heller via email or phone to schedule a date and time. Meetings may take place on the 3rd floor of Kane Hall.

Course Description: Students will study camera operation, basic theory, materials and processes, film exposure and developing, contact printing and enlarging, filters, and various printing techniques. This course equips students with the technical, conceptual, and creative skills essential in creating a photograph.

Required Textbook:

Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual, Second Edition, Revised by Henry Horenstein 

Equipment and Supplies:

Each student is to possess their own 35mm camera with sufficient controls over exposure i.e., lens openings/apertures, shutter speeds, manual focusing, and very important: light metering.  Each student will be initially provided with 4 rolls of Kodak Tri-X 400 Black and White Film (35mm, 36 exp.), and one packet

(25 8x10 sheets) of RC Multigrade Photographic Paper (pearl surface).


Teaching Methods and Evaluation Instruments: The general method of teaching will be initially through class lectures, and later through time in the darkroom.

Assignments: Students will have several assignments for which they will have to shoot, process, and print numerous photographs.

Critiques: Upon completion of the final assignment, students will be expected to show and talk about their own work as well as talk about the work of others.

Portfolio: At the conclusion of this course, students will hand in a portfolio containing all of their work from the semester. This portfolio will be returned to individual students. 


Assessment and Grading Tools: 
As with most studio courses, the final grade will be based primarily on the total collection of work presented in a student's portfolio. Photographic assignments are not graded individually, but rather as a whole at the end of the semester when a clear representation of the student’s total performance in the course is visually evident. Grades will also reflect such things as class participation in critiques and lecture sessions, technical expertise learned and practiced, craftsmanship, and individually creative solutions of assignments, as well as their timely completion. Through feedback and critiques of each assignment, students should be able to self assess their performance as compared to others in the class. Along with the presentation of the final project, there will be a short written test at the class's designated exam time. Timely completion means completed by the beginning of class on the due date.

Students are responsible for reading assignments in the assigned textbook.

Grade Composition:

Portfolio (containing all assignments) = 40%

Timely completion of assignments = 30%

Class participation = 10%

Technical Expertise/Craftsmanship = 10%

Individual Creative Solutions = 10%

Total = 100%

Grading Scale:

A = 90-100%

B = 80-89%

C = 70-79%

D = 60-69%
F = 0- 59%

Attendance: Students are expected to attend all class sessions unless excused by the instructor for legitimate reasons. If you miss more than three (3) classes you should drop the course or you will receive an “F.” Because this is an introductory course of a complex medium, we will rapidly cover a lot of information. The importance of attending class is paramount. If you are more than ten minutes late to class you will be counted absent. If you miss a class, you are responsible for getting the information covered and assignments given from a classmate before the next class. If you are going to miss a critique, please make arrangements with your professor to turn your work in ahead of time.

Extra-Credit and Late Work: As much as 20% of extra-credit can be obtained from turning in an extra full assignment for a critique before the final examination date. Contact your professor for details. All late work must be turned in within a week of its due date or a date that has been agreed upon between the professor and student. One extension per student per semester can be granted, when properly submitted in writing at least 48 hours before the critique. If there are personal emergencies that require extensions or make-up work, see or call your professor immediately.

Schedule: Technical processes may vary in the time they take and problems may necessitate changing day to day procedures. Therefore, assignments deadlines, and day to day working procedures will be announced weekly or well enough in advance so that students have more than adequate time to meet all the conditions of the course. Students will be responsible for keeping track of all announced deadlines and critiques dates. The semester will roughly work out under the following schedule:





Syllabus review, Art House facilities and rules, understanding film, the camera body, the camera lens, and exposures. Meet at The Trustees Room in Mager Hall.

Read pgs. 3-13, and 18-42.
Read Art House Agreement that will be emailed to you.


Extra Credit Answers. Understanding apertures and shutter speeds. Review and sign Art House Agreement Form. Meet at The Trustees Room in Mager Hall.

Read Chapter 5 pgs. 43-67


Extra Credit Answers. Understanding metering and exposure. Hands on cameras: metering. Logs. Written exam today. Meet at The Trustees Room in Mager Hall.

Read Chapters 6 + 7 pgs. 68-100. Shoot one roll of film.


Extra Credit Answers. DARKROOM DAY at Art House Annex. Develop film together. Discuss chemistry and cleanup.

Read Chapter 8 pgs. 101-112, 138-143, and 207-211. Email Perry your time avail. for DR.


DARKROOM DAY. Make contacts. Discuss chemistry, trays, and cleanup. Schedule time for darkroom use.

Read Chapter 8 pgs. 113-137 Print Contact Sheets.


DARKROOM DAY. Make enlargements. Schedule time for darkroom use.

Darkroom time making 2 8x10 enlargements showing depth of field and shutter speed.


Shoot roll of film during class. Finish roll(s) on your own. Meet at The Trustees Room in Mager Hall.

Develop film, make contacts and bring contact sheets to next class.



Darkroom time making tripych for final critique.


How analog B+W photography relates to modern digital photography. Meet at The Trustees Room in Mager Hall.

Darkroom time making tripych for final critique.


Display + Critique. Hand in final portfolio. Meet at The Trustees Room in Mager Hall.



Final Exam, discussion, and Q+A. Meet at The Trustees Room in Mager Hall.


Note: The schedule and procedures of this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.