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MMEDIA 3PC3 Photo Collage&Composite Images (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2020

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Chris Myhr


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 328

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23930


Office Hours: Wednesday 9:30-11:20

Course Objectives:

MMEDIA 3PC3 is a hands-on studio production course that will explore the theory and practice of collage and composite image-making (both material and digital) in the context of historical/contemporary art. Students will develop a series of creative projects that will emphasize serious engagement with compelling ideas and themes, as well as independent experimentation, the development of critical awareness, and creative responses to project parameters. Students will be encouraged to challenge and expand on their existing skill sets, and explore personalized approaches in developing a unique and engaging aesthetic sensibility.

Technical demonstrations, workshops, and in-class exercises will provide students with a wide range of versatile approaches and strategies. Studio production and experimentation will be complemented by lectures, readings, and discussions aimed at developing conceptual foundations, and awareness of historical/contemporary discourse.

Students enrolled in this course should be proficient with DSLR photography and Adobe Photoshop. It is highly recommended that Studio Art students complete ART 2DP3 (Digital Practices) before enrolling in this course.

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Outline and articulate creative/research interests in a clear, effective, and professional manner
  • Understand and engage with historical/contemporary movements in digital photography and photomontage/composite imaging
  • Demonstrate and apply an understanding of how meaning is generated through the organization, juxtapositionand manipulation of image and aesthetics
  • Communicate ideas through complex and nuanced aesthetic gestures and visual language (i.e. motif, metaphor, abstraction)
  • Achieve effective synthesis between ideas, intent, and technical execution
  • Develop and refine creative projects over the three stages of digital imaging (capture, manipulation/refinement, output)
  • Understand and work effectively with various forms of source imagery and materials (both physical and digital)
  • Work with advanced techniques in Adobe Photoshop and ACR
  • Understand and apply techniques and strategies for large-format print output
  • Actively engage in critical dialogue with peers, and integrate feedback to further develop and refine ideas and creative work

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • External/USB storage drive (Minimum 16GB formatted exFAT or FAT32)
  • DSLR camera (provided by department if required)
    • This will cover the cost of professional-quality printing, and other materials necessary for completion of the course

Method of Assessment:

Unless otherwise stated, classes will be begin in TSH 201. For more detailed information, consult the Course Schedule below. Be sure to check A2L News items for weekly updates.

Although time will be allotted for in-class project work, students will also be required to dedicate a minimum of 9 hours/week developing techniques and strategies introduced in the course, conducting independent research, completing assigned projects, and preparing for discussions and presentations.

Students taking this course will be expected to arrive on-time at the start of each class, and be sufficiently prepared to work on projects and participate in class activities. Attendance is essential in a dedicated studio course. Unexcused absence(s) will have a negative impact on project and final grades. See the “ASSIGNMENTS & LATE PENALTIES” section for details.

Students are expected to demonstrate an attitude of respectful criticality and active engagement at all times, and contribute to a collegial and productive learning environment. Student participation will be based on performance during peer critique/presentation and formal screening/reading response sessions. It is recommended that students read the assessment_proposals_critique.pdf document posted on Avenue to Learn for more details on criteria and expectations.

The use of cellphones, messaging, and/or social media sites during class time will not be tolerated.

Final grades will be determined through the assessment of studio work, as well as the quality of student contributions to discussion and presentation/feedback sessions. The breakdown is as follows:

30% Project 1 and 2 (Hybrid collage series integrating image transfers, scanning and macro photography) Due Feb 3, 12:00pm

20% Project 3 (Large-scale cinematic collage project deploying David Hockney’s “Joiner” method) Due Mar 9, 12:00pm

30% Project 4 (Photorealistic collage series responding to theme of “Utopia/Dystopia”) Due Mar 23, 12:00pm

20% Participation and Professionalism

Each assigned project will include a description (posted on A2L) outlining overall objectives, specific considerations, submission requirements/formats and deadlines. Final work will be submitted to A2L Assignments. Student work will be evaluated in terms of:

  • Technical proficiency
  • Conceptual focus and rigour
  • Synthesis and presentation
  • Work ethic and personal investment
  • Time management, productivity, and project refinement as evidenced throughout studio production process (both in-class and independent)

Successful projects will clearly demonstrate effort and attention to the three key stages of studio production:

  • Research and planning
  • Experimentation, development and creative problem-solving
  • Refinement and resolution

For more information on the assessment of project work, see the rubric pasted below, and the assessment_proposals_critique.pdf document posted on Avenue to Learn.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments are designed as frameworks for creative investigation, and will incorporate the techniques and content outlined in-class. Students are encouraged to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skill sets. Detailed descriptions of all assignments will be uploaded to Avenue to Learn.

A penalty of 5% per day will be deducted from assignments submitted late, or those not presented in the required format. Assignments will not be accepted after seven days without official documentation (see the MSAF section for details), and will receive a grade of zero.

Studio work will be considered late and incomplete if not accompanied by required written work (i.e. project proposals, etc). Late studio and/or written work will not receive detailed verbal/written feedback from instructor and/or peers. Extensions for late work, or accommodations for missed tests or tutorials, will be granted only upon the recommendation of a student's home faculty: please take such requests directly to your home faculty's office.

Each absence (or early exit) from a scheduled critique session will result in a letter-grade penalty on the overall Participation and Professionalism assessment.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:

The outline below is for orientation purposes only, and is subject to change. Please consult the full and definitive syllabus posted on Avenue to Learn for any potential updates.


Jan 10

Course outline and work space orientation

Historical/Contemporary practitioners related to Projects 1&2

History of photo collage/montage

Project 1 and 2 introduction

2D/3D scanning demo

Jan 17

Preliminary scanned images due

History of photo collage/montage

Close-Up/Macro photography and lighting

Photoshop 1

Consultation/Work Session

Jan 24

Preliminary close-up/macro images due

Analog image transfers

Printing digital images

Photoshop 2

Consultation/Work Session


Jan 31

Analog/digital manipulation

Photoshop 3

Consultation/Work Session

Project 1 and 2 due (Feb 3 - 12:00pm)


Feb 7

Project 1 and 2 Critique (Round 1)


Feb 14

Project 1 and 2 Critique (Round 1.5)

Project 3 introduction

Photography for Joiners (best practices)


Feb 21 (Midterm Recess)


Feb 28

Project 3 source images due

Digital Joiners

Photoshop 4

Project 4 introduction

Photography for photo-realistic composites (best practices)


Mar 6

Project 4 background images due

Lighting for photo-realistic composites (best practices)

Photoshop 5

Consultation/Work Session

Project 3 due (Mar 9 - 12:00pm)


Mar 13

Project 4 foreground images due

Integrating elements for photo-realistic composites

Photoshop 6

Consultation/Work Session

Mar 20

Advanced finishing for print

Photoshop 7

Consultation/Work Session

Project 4 due (Mar 23 - 12:00pm)


Mar 27

Projects 3 & 4 Critique (Round 1)


Apr 3

Projects 3 & 4 Critique (Round 2)

Other Course Information:

If you require special accommodation for learning or have any special needs please let me know of them as soon as possible in order that arrangements can be made. Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with the Centre for Student Development.

The detailed and definitive version of the syllabus will be posted on Avenue to Learn. Students are responsible for consulting this document for the most up-to-date information on scheduled activities, rubrics, etc.

In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn for the submission of written material (i.e. project statement forms, etc) as well as digital image files. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.