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MMEDIA 4F03 Topics:Multimedia Productions (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2020

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Robert Hamilton


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 315

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27955

Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:30 am – 11:30 am

Course Objectives:

This course explores contemporary art photography. We will view and reflect on the work of several recognized art photographers. We’ll reflect on technologies, communication and culture in relation to a photographic practice. Students will develop a critical understanding of contemporary art photography. Students will create original art works and participate within group critiques. Students will engage in a photographic practice and attend art exhibitions. Students will articulate and reflect on concepts discussed in class and further developed in their artwork and artist statements. The course will explore the work of Cindy Sherman, Andreas Gursky, Milton Rogovin, Vivian Maier, Saul Leiter, Garry Winogrand, Dorothea Lange, Jeff Wall, Diane Arbus among others.


Course Format: The class will be a mixture of discussions, lectures, screenings and demonstrations.  


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Text:


Reading materials will be circulated in class.

Materials and fees 

Suggested equipment: portable storage drive, a camera (a DSLR will be provided by the department, if required), access to a printer. Tutorial will be conducted in the Multimedia lab. This course will use Adobe Creative Cloud applications. If there is a field trip, students will be expected to cover their own transportation costs. 


Method of Assessment:

Detailed descriptions of individual assignments will be presented in class. You are encouraged to begin working on assignments well in advance of their due dates.


Project 1, 20%, January 28

Street Photography: Create  a series of 10 still photographs that examines the  neighbourhood where you live. Using a DSLR, explore the details, the people and the landscape that give a strong sense of the place where you live. Upload your project to your own blog.


Project 2, 20%, March 3rd

Portraits and Light: six photographic portraits utilizing different types of light: artificial, natural and a combination of the two. Upload your project to your own blog. 


Final Project, 30% March 31st

You will have three options: documentary,staged photography or montage. 1. Picturing a story: documentary photo essay about a community, event or issue. 2. Create 10 photographs using staged environments and directed performer(s). 3. Create 8 collage/montage images using Photoshop.


Presentation 20% 

You are to choose a photographer from a provided list to present and discuss in class. You will present a historical overview of the artist, examples of their work and discuss why you find their work interesting.


Attendance 10%

Regular attendance is required to successfully achieve course outcomes.


Students are expected to contribute to a supportive and critical atmosphere during class.


Grading Criteria: 


Each assigned project will include a description (posted on A2L) outlining overall objectives, specific considerations, submission requirements/formats and deadlines. 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


Please Note: Students must be the sole author (or authors in the case of group work) of submitted images. All photos must be taken during the period of the assignment - not before. Students must be prepared to submit original photos as taken from the camera or Photoshop files with layers intact, on request - not doing so will result in a zero for the assignment.

Project Requirements

Detailed project requirements will be reviewed in class and then posted on Avenue to Learn.


Completed student work is to be submitted to Avenue to Learn for grading. Hardcopies may also be required to submitted in-class along with digital files for grading. Grades will be posted to Avenue to Learn. For more information on project submission and assessment, please see detailed guidelines on Avenue to Learn. 

Work submitted in this class must be completed between January 7th and April 7th, 2020 and cannot be completed for another class. 

There is no final exam for this class, meaning that term work may seem more intense than in courses with a final exam. 

You are responsible for making sure you understand the project parameters and are encouraged to begin working on projects and exercises well in advance of the due date. You are responsible for material covered in class including those classes for which you are absent. 


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Regular attendance is required to successfully achieve course outcomes. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to complete any work done in class. All work must be submitted via A2L by the due date. Late assignments will only be accepted with prior consent from the instructor.


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:



Topics and Readings




Jan. 7

- Intro to class





- Students present their own photos

 - Discuss student presentations, sign-up 

 - Assignment 1 presented    

 - Milton Rogovin, The Forgotten Ones doc. 

 - Milton Rogovin lecture

- DSLR basics – in class tutorial, bring your camera!

- Walkabout




- Student Artist Presentations

 - Photo tips

 - Manovich: Media After Software      

 - DSLR basics – in class tutorial, bring your camera!

 - Walkabout

 - Street photography lecture 1: Winogrand, Maier, Frank

- Photoshop basics




- Vivian Maier doc. 

 - Student Artist Presentations

 - Terry Barrett: Criticizing Photographs

 - Assignment 2 presented     

 - Lighting basics, bring your camera

 - Street Photography lecture 2: Lange, Eggleston, Meyerowitz

- Image enhancement 1

- Lighting basics, bring your camera




- Student Artist Presentations

 - Homes: New Media from the Neolithic to Now

 - Lighting basics, bring your camera

 - Portraiture Lecture 1: Arbus, Karsh, Avedon

- Image enhancement 2


Project 1



Feb. 4 

- Everybody Street doc.

 - Student Artist Presentations

 - Assignment 3 presented

 - Lehmann: Colour Goes Electric    

 - Project 1 Review      

 - Portraiture Lecture 2: Frazier, DiCorcia, Parr

- Colouring a black and white image




  - Everybody Street 2 doc.

 - Student Artist Presentations 

 - Cotton: On “Photography”     

 - Staged Photography: Sherman, Crewdson, Demand

- Masking/editing images 



- Possible Field Trip

 - Student Artist Presentations      

 - Art Photography 1: Wall, Hayeur, Goldin





- Project Presentations

 - Student Artist Presentations

 - Cole: Strangely Enough

 - Art Photography 2: Prince, Paglin, Burtynsky 

- Collage 

Project 2




- Project 2 Review 

 - Student Artist Presentations

 - Project Presentations     

 - Design elements and photography

 - Hoelzl, Marie: From Softimage to Postimage     

 - Digital Images: Colour lecture 

- House collage





- Student Artist Presentations

 - Project Presentations

 - Paglen: Art for a Post-Surveillance Age 

 - Future directions lecture

 - Project Presentations

- Design elements and photography

- Final Projects in lab





- Project Presentations

 - Future directions lecture 2

- Final Projects in lab




- Review



Final Project


April 7

- Final Project Review




Other Course Information:


In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, usernames for the McMaster email 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 dis- closure please discuss this with the course instructor. 

Online Access (A2L):

In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn for the submission of written material (i.e. project statement forms, etc). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, usernames for the McMaster e­mail 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.