LINK > to current week - Link to current week in schedule

Room 23

Class Schedule:
MON.-FRI.PERIODS 1st and 2nd

  John Sappington - email address:

PHONE: 707-332-0987 MOBILE / 528-4822 CLASSROOM

Syllabus (this document)


Welcome Letter and Program Guidelines - this document and


Welcome and Welcome back! to ArtQuest Photography and the 2017-18 School Year!

Dear Parents and Students, 

I’m John Sappington and I am the AQ Photography Teacher for the 2017-18 school year.
I am a working artist, photographer and educator working primarily in digital photography and digital media. I graduated with a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute - both in photography. My art work within photography and image making draws from a range of diverse influences beyond Photography, Digital Arts, Contemporary Art, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Semiotics, Linguistics and Sociology. I have been a working photographer, artist, educator, curator and IT Specialist for the past 23 years.

The AQ Photography syllabi, as well as my credentials and portfolio are available online at:


AQ Theme 2017-18 – “… and still we rise”
As a cohesive programmatic theme this year we will work with the concept of “… and still we rise”. AQ uses a theme each year to connect the various arts and core-related classes and to create an overarching artistic dialogue throughout the program about various topics and ideas, some relevant to a particular time or context, some focused on a specific performing or visual art work, some humorously thoughtful about the human condition, and some a serious investigation of political or social issues. Interpreted in a wide array by teachers and students, and the projects, events, other activities and outcomes generated have been delightfully surprising. Past AQ themes have been: Its not about the Destination, its about the Journey (2015-16), The Other (94-95), The Coexistence of Order & Chaos (95-96), No Theme ? (aka It’s a Mystery!) (96-97), What is Real? Is it Real? (97-98) etc…  


Friday August 18 : Forms & Lab Contributions deadline.

Back to School Night September 14th - 6:30-9pm

October 5, 6:30 pm: “ArtQuest 23rd Annual Fall Showcase of Programs”, beginning at 6:30 pm in the Auditorium.  This is an evening for prospective students and families, to find out more about the opportunities ArtQuest has to offer, as well as current ArtQuest families to learn more about the program.  Please plan to attend and also help us spread the word. Early application is highly recommended due to limited space. 

Tuesday October 17th to November 9th , “Shadowing”, ArtQuest offers students interested in the ArtQuest program the opportunity to "Shadow" a specialty for a day. Shadowing is by appointment only. Call (707) 535-4842 for more information and to schedule your student. Monday through Thursday.

ArtQuest Application Deadline for Fall 2017 Entry Priority Deadline is November 13, 2017

PLEASE DON’T FORGET to return the field trip and donation form by Friday August 18.

Program Guidelines

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you ArtQuest Photography. All the ArtQuest teachers are excited about the opportunity to meet each and every one of our unique students. Our goal is to help each student grow as successful individuals in the classroom and beyond. The following packet of information is to explain a little bit about what students might expect from this course and provide some guidelines for success in this award-winning program in general and Photography in particular. Welcome (& welcome back) to school and to the SRHS ArtQuest Photography program. Please read these next 3 pages carefully and place it in your sketchbook for future reference. I require that students and a parent or guardian sign and date the information sheet at the bottom of the last page and that the student return it to me no later than Friday, August 18, 2017. Hopefully this outline of the course description, expectations and rules will help to answer questions. Parents/Guardians are welcome to email me with any questions or concerns. John Sappington:


Photography has been the most powerful visual art medium and form of communication since the 19th century. The purpose of this course is to develop an expressive visual language utilizing the medium of photography and to exploring the ways in which photography has impacted our lives. Questions about what photographs do will be explored as well as how we can make photographs that will impact our society. Problems and assignments are structured to develop a personal vision and to build a working knowledge of photographic materials and methods.

The five components of the California Visual Arts Framework are an integral part of the fine arts curriculum. Development of content (message or concept), artistic vision and style, critical thinking, judgment skills and technical skills will all be emphasized. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to meet local fine art and commercial photographers to interact and learn more about photography as a course of study and/or profession. ArtQuest Photography classes will incorporate the California State Department of Education Framework for the Visual Arts at the appropriate levels.

The State Framework is organized around the following five core competencies:

• Artistic Perception - Perception of art and identification of structures and functions of art, using the language of visual arts.
• Creative Expression - Making art works and developing skills with the variety of media and processes, expressive of personal experiences or responses
• Historical and Cultural Context - Exploring the role of art in culture and human history, including themes and style.
• Aesthetic Valuing - Deriving meaning from art works through analysis, interpretation and judgment.
• Connections, Relationships and Applications – Making connections and relationships across the curriculum and/with vocational applications of problem solving skills and technical expertise toward diverse careers in the visual arts.

It is assumed that students who have applied and have been accepted to the Photography program have a deep interest in the convergence of Art and Photography and some experiences in making art work.

What this all means is that we will look at art in various forms and from many cultures. We will study and engage with elements and principles of art. We will develop and refine skills utilizing a variety of software. We will make artworks on paper and on the computer. We will discuss and make artwork in response to historical and contemporary cultural issues as well as artwork addressing more personal issues. We will investigate the interrelationships of art and technology as well as the relationship of art to other aspects of contemporary culture.

Course Description

The course curriculum is designed to make each photography student competent in both the technical and aesthetic aspects of the medium.

Technical aspects include the use of the camera, film, and film processing and printing. An emphasis will be placed on craft and presentation. Students will also develop an understanding of photographic image in terms of light, shape, form, and organization of the 2D plane. Beyond this, each student will be encouraged to use photography to develop a personal vision and to explore an autobiographical concept in his or her work.

Class attendance is mandatory for individual development and for the valuable contributions that each class member has to give the group. These contributions of opinion, information, and discovery are an essential element for a stimulating studio environment. Tardiness will affect the entire class’s progress, thus affecting the student’s grade.
Students are expected to arrive to each class on time and be prepared to engage with the curriculum for the duration of the class period. Attendance will be taken by either roll call or visual observation at the beginning of each class. Excessive unexcused absences or tardies will result in a lower grade.

Grading Criteria

You will earn a grade for every assignment. In addition, you will receive grades for the work in your sketchbook. Incomplete and/or late work will result in lower points for each day past the due date. For Example: A project grade of A- becomes a B+ if handed in by the next class meeting an A- becomes a B if handed in by the second class meeting past the due date, etc. In addition, grades will reflect the student's:

Ability to demonstrate a grasp of curriculum material through the creation of exceptional artwork.
Originality in execution of high quality ideas.
Ongoing dedication to developing creative/artistic growth, techniques, and visual library.
Desire to analyze, implement, and challenge suggestions received during all critiques.
Quality of craftsmanship and degree of professional presentation.
Appropriate use of lab and equipment during school hours.
Appropriate use of time during lab hours.
Effectively meeting or surpassing any requirements of this course.

While I do not grade on behavior, I do grade on your level of participation. Complete all assignments to the best of your abilities and submit them on time.

Everyone should be working diligently, and that doesn't leave a lot of time to ponder the rules. If you are thinking, researching, working, reworking and so on, your behavior will take care of itself. Of course, you must follow all school-wide rules and they are detailed for you in the SRHS Student Handbook. Make sure that you have a copy.

Our classroom rules are simple, and they revolve around respect and responsibility.

• Respect other people and their work. Keep a noise level that allows others to work. Be honest, but kind during critiques. Don't tamper with other people's work.
• Respect yourself and your own work. Consistently do your best. Take care of your work.
• Respect the environment, supplies and equipment
• Be responsible in all that you use. Use equipment appropriately. Keep everything in the studio in good repair. Clean and organized. Don't take anything that doesn't belong to you.
• Be responsible regarding the expectations for each assignment.
• Be responsible to produce the best work you can and turn it in on time.

At the completion of this course, students will be able to do the following:
Demonstrate how to use a 35mm SLR manual camera; process black and white film, enlarge prints from the negatives and have a basic understanding of SLR cameras, filters and print presentation.
Students should be in the process of developing a photographer’s eye by exploring the history of photography through photographers who have made a difference. Students will also explore their own style through a variety of photographic assignments.
Recognize the importance of personal experience and express it in visual terms.
Explore a variety of content issues including current cultural and world events, school, community and personal issues that are meaningful to the student.
Explore alternative photographic processes.
Research and recognize prominent photographers, their artworks, movements and styles from various times and cultures.
Consider how photography has influenced the world and is influenced by society today. Identify the effects of media on our culture. Consider what role photographers have played in our culture.
Develop critical thinking skills that enable one to describe, analyze, interpret and judge photographic works in writing as well as orally. Develop this into an artist statement about their work.
Visit several galleries and conduct a formal gallery review of artworks.
Present and discuss work in a portfolio review.
Keep all photographs and written work, lesson plans and graded rubrics organized and accessible in a binder.

Personal Phones

I do allow students to have their cell phones on (*ringers off) during class. I know that there will be
times when parents will need to contact their children. If I am notified in advance that a student has
an emergency situation that requires they make or maintain contact with a parent during my class they
may do so. Please keep these calls to a minimum. Calling your child during appropriate times
(brunch, lunch) is strongly suggested and is very much appreciated. Student phones are on during my class as an additional resource in completing projects or for important parent contacts and emergency purposes only. If distracting or an impediment to learning in any way – phones will be collected.

Learning or Physical Disabilities
If you have a learning or physical disability that requires special classroom modifications, please
schedule a meeting with me as soon as possible to discuss the condition and any requirements
necessary for you to successfully participate in this program. For example, if you can't see the material being projected you need to let me know. Remember, I am here to help you succeed

We use many high quality materials in this course. There is a lab materials contribution of $120.00 per year. We are asking for this to be sent in as soon as possible so supplies and materials can be purchased. The donation covers the cost of the darkroom chemistry, sketchbooks, photographic paper and other misc. supplies required throughout the year.

The Camera

Beginning AQ Photography students are required to have a 35mm, manual Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera with a 50mm lens. We have a limited number of loaner cameras that may be checked out for a day or two to complete an assignment on condition that an Equipment Contract signed by the student and parent/guardian is on file.
35mm Single lens reflex
Adjustable aperture (f stops)
A selection of shutter speeds
A means of focusing (preferably not automatic focus)
A view finder
A point and shoot camera can be used for some of the assignments if a 35mm single lens reflex is not an option. Encourage your child to borrow a 35mm SLR if possible. This will allow for optimal learning in the course.
Make sure your camera is in good working order!

Additionally students are required to have the following:
Black and white film is $4.00 per roll. (All students should purchase their film through this photo department. This is to alleviate the multitude of mistakes that students make each year by purchasing the wrong film.)
Plastic negative/proof sheets for each roll of film are $.75 each.
Presentation materials $2.00 per print.
Negative Storage Binder
Scissors (small, blunt tip)
Flash Drive

All students will be provided a journal or sketchbook. Do not underestimate the value of your journal/sketchbook and its impact on your artistic development and your final grade. Frequent out of class research assignments documented in your sketchbook will be required. The instructor strongly suggests that students dedicate a minimum of 5 hours of sketchbook a week (1 hour a day) in addition to the 10 hours of regular class lecture/lab time. Sketchbooks are not only for drawing but for storing concepts, quotes, significant historical information, images from magazines, writing down dreams, pasting your fortune from a fortune cookie, etc. Your sketchbook is your vault of ideas. Make the sketchbook your constant companion. Don't come to class without it! I will be asking to see the progress in your sketchbook every week. Bring it home to work on assignments and to every Photography class. Leaving your sketchbook in your locker is not acceptable. You will be graded for the effort made in your sketchbook each week. In other words, the use of your sketchbook is mandatory.

Photography Classroom Rules

No eating, drinking or chewing gum in class.
No CD players, iPods, cell phones or other electronic distractions during class time.
Cell phones must be turned off during class time.
You may not leave classroom without a pass.
No writing on desks or in books. This is “Destruction of School Property” and is a serious offense.
Certain equipment requires prior permission before use. When in doubt-ask.
Return all equipment (including developing tank and components) to their proper place clean (and dry if possible).
Pick up all trash around and in desk.
Wash desktops with spray and sponge at the end of each class.
Stack seats at the end of each class.
Knock before entering Darkroom Door .
No more than 3 people at a time through door.
Pass through doorway without any stops.
Do not stop rotation of door from classroom or darkroom.
Do not lean on door walls.


Sign up for an enlarger at the beginning of the period.
Use only the enlarger to which you have been assigned.
No visiting in the darkroom.
Anyone entering darkroom must get prior permission to do so from teacher.
Always use the proper tray when transporting a wet print or test strip.
Fixer stains, so dress accordingly.
Do not play with Eye Wash.
Make every effort to retrieve all test strips and prints before the end of class.
Clean up the enlarger area after use
Put away all equipment.
Wash down baseboard
Return enlarger to a height of 16 inches
Zero out the timer
Empty drawers of all unused test strips.
Clean up trash both around the enlarger and on floor.

This is a great classroom/darkroom and we want it to stay as clean and efficient as it is for many years. Please do your part!

Please mark your calendar for these important dates: Wednesday August 31 : AQDA forms & Lab Contributions are due.
Please contact teacher for scholarship information or extensions. 

Back to School Night September 14th - 6:30-9pm

October 5, 6:30 pm: “ArtQuest 23rd Annual Fall Showcase of Programs”, beginning at 6:30 pm in the Auditorium.  This is an evening for prospective students and families, to find out more about the opportunities ArtQuest has to offer, as well as current ArtQuest families to learn more about the program.  Please plan to attend and also help us spread the word. Early application is highly recommended due to limited space. 

Tuesday October 17th to November 9th , “Shadowing”,
ArtQuest offers students interested in the ArtQuest program the opportunity to "Shadow" a specialty for a day. Shadowing is by appointment only. Call (707) 535-4842 for more information and to schedule your student. Monday through Thursday.

ArtQuest Application Deadline for Fall 2017 Entry Priority Deadline is November 13, 2017


Online Photography Resources

CURRENT News and Events Blog:

Class Notes

Generalized Selection of Photo resources available online and local

A broad spectrum list of working/historical photographers

A recommended reading list centered around photography and imaging

basearts selection of resources lists

Weekly Lecture/Lab Schedule
(subject to change)

Week 1

Syllabus Overview - Expectations, Requirements, Objectives, Best Practices.

Lecture: Department and Facilities Policy Review and Tour
Begin fundamentals of visual phenomenology / camera technology
Basic Camera Operation


Critique / Review 5 images of influence.



Bring in 5 Images either of your own or from public media sources
that best represent your interest in photography.

Bring in Camera * practice framing

Initiate Journal - 5 pnts.


Review Online Syllabus
Review Internet Resources

Chapt. 1


Henri Cartier Bresson
Robert Frank
Ansel Adams
Robert Adams

Week 2


Camera Fundamentals
Beginning Exposure


Darkroom Orientation
Preparations for printing- Photograms


Man Ray
Jerry Uelsmann
Olivia Parker


Photograms - object compositions - 10 pnts

Consider an assortment of objects that you would like to construct 3-5 compositions with ... translucent and reflective objects make for interesting shadow and outlines, light streaks etc...

Reading / Review:

Photograms and Montage works... <--Online Click Here

Moholy-Nagy - From Pigment to Light - 1936

Optional Assignment for Extra Credit Pinhole Camera

Oatmeal Box Pinhole Photography by Stew Woodruff
How to Make and Take Pictures With Pinhole Cameras Made from Oatmeal Boxes

The Pinhole Gallery


Jo Babcock

Week 3


Continued Exposure...
Download and Print:

Printing Quick Reference


First Exposures - roll film

Film Development Quick Reference

shoot / print


Bracket Roll (first roll) - Shooting and Developing - 10 pnts.

Bracketing Exposures - Choose a 2 subjects and make 5 bracketed exposures of each.

1st exposure according to meter reading with a gray card.
2nd + .5 half step greater aperture selection or more exposure (over)
3rd + 1 whole step (full stop) greater aperture selection (over)
4th .5 half step smaller aperture selection or less exposure (under)
5th - 1 whole step smaller aperture selection or less exposure (under)

*Be sure to make notes of the exposures in your journal.

With the remaining exposures experiment with the shutter speeds + and or - one shutter speed is equal to a full stop.


Film Development Quick Reference

Chapters 3 & 4 - Short Course


W. Eugene Smith
Minor White
Pablo Ortiz Monesterio
Sophie Calle

Week 4


Continued Exposure...


First Exposures - roll film

Film Development Quick Reference

Printing - Contact Sheets - Photograms



Leaflet, Written for Los Angeles Museum - Edward Weston

ARTSEDGE: Formal Visual Analysis: The Elements & Principles of Composition
Formal analysis is an important technique for organizing visual information. In other words, it is a strategy used to translate what you see into written words. This strategy can be applied to any work of art, from any period in history, whether a photograph, sculpture, painting or cultural artifact.

Photo Alliance

The Lomographic Society -
Welcome dear photo-adventurer. you are just about to discover the most interactiv, vivid, blurred and crazy face of photography worldwide. we heartily and most warmly invite you to dive into our unique online photo-features, to taste our cameras and -most of all- to become a lomographer. help us to simply build the biggest snapshot portrait of our planet and to revolutionize the picture communication from the hip. prost.


Karl Blossfelt
Eudora Welty
Stephen Shore
William Klein

Week 5


Printing Procedures :

Contact Sheets
Test Stips
Multi-Contrast Filters
Burning and Dodging
Multi-Contrast Filters



First Exposures - roll film

Enlargement - Printing from Negatives


Contact Sheets of Bracket rolls - 10 Pnts

Shoot 1 roll minimum per week
Work Prints now through week 8


FIRST CRITIQUE - Contacts - (5 points)



Chapter 6 - Short Course

Printing Quick Reference


John Baldessari
Sally Mann
Sherry Levine
Moriyama Daido

Week 6


Working with
Ambient / Artifical Light



Light and Shadow - 10 pnts.\

- pick a location and photograph it on a recurring basis throughout the course of one day.
36 exposures minimum. Make photographs which illustrated the changing conditions of the
light and shadow in this location.



The Decisive Moment - Cartier-Bresson

Other readings :



Harry Callahan
Immogen Cunningham
Nan Goldin
Richard Misrach
Mark Klett

Pushing Film allows you to shoot in lower light situations.

This solution essentially fools the light meter by setting it at a
higher ISO or ASA rating and then overdeveloping the film in
order to compensate for the underexposure.

Although your experiences may vary somewhat - here is a good starting base for pushing:

400 ASA pushed to 800 ASA - 50% overdevelopment - 10 minutes normal development time = 15 minutes.
400 ASA pushed to 1600 ASA - 100% overdevelopment - 10 minutes normal development time = 20 minutes.

Week 7



Object of Art - Total point = (10 pnts)

Select an object- must be larger than 1/2 your body size, no larger than you are able to carry.. Choose a location for placement of said object and photograph. Includes developing a written thesis of the object and how you have photographed and presented it. Alternative methods in the final presentation are incouraged with review and approval by instructor.

Make a minimum of 36 exposures of the object of art from a variety of vantage points, angles /lighting situations or conditions, utilizing various lenses if required or desired. Utilize any tool at your disposal in both the shooting, development, printing, or presentation processess.


Reading/ Discussion:

Harold Edgerton
Irving Penn
Bruce Weber
Dieter Appelt

John Divola

Uta Barth

Week 8


Legal / Copyright Issues

Protecting your images

Presentation / Mounting

Final Portfolio Expectations - see final for description.

SELF Portait - can be interpreted entirely by you... -( 10 points)



J. John Priola
Aziz and Cucher
Michael Light
Regan Louie
Linda Connor
Henry Wessel

Week 9

Final Portfolio = All prints, contacts and negatives should be presented in a binder.

All assignments should be represented by a contact sheet and negatives

3-5 Contact Sheets w/Negatives
2 - Photogram Composition

5 - Final Prints
(An agreed upon choice of images may be substituted for the print requirement in each shooting assignment.
2 prints - Light and Shadow
2 prints - OBJECT OF ART


Final Critique - 25 points

Margaret Bourke-White
Annie Liebovitz
Yosuf Karsh
Lee Friedlander
Richard Prince
Fredrick Sommer
Duane Michaels
Mary Ellen Mark
Fall Art 36 A/B Ends Here

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Week 15


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Week 17