Photography Book Reviews

Two Books of Astronomy, 1996. Abelardo Morell


  • Look at photography books in the classroom. You can look at any of the photography books.
  • Find books that are compelling, share with classmates, or ask your teacher for recommendations based on genre (type of photos). Explore a variety of photographers and image making techniques, based on student interest.
  • Write a one paragraph review of each book with, highlighting one or more images that you found particularly compelling.
  • Share your google document with your teacher.


  1. You will look at many images, but are required to write a review of three images of your choice, from four different books.
  2. Use your laptop while browsing books. A google doc has been provided to get you started on the Classroom post.
  3. Explore books. Take several off the shelf that interest you. Feel free to share with friends in the class (recommend books to each other).
  4. Review the book and photographer. For each image:
    1. Take note of the photographer. Also, take note of the page number if there is one.
    2. Why are you drawn to this photo (Like it, or can’t stop looking at it?)
    3. Who, what and where? (What is happening in the image? Who is the subject? Where are we? Also, where is the photographer in relation to the subject?)
    4. How does the photo speak to you? (Ideas? Emotions?)
    5. Think of one word that sums up this photo to you.
  5. Plan to share your favorite images with the class.

Showing project (WRKXFMLY)

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We are privileged to be able to participate in a national photography project, the “Showing (Work & Family)” Assignment.

Description (from the website):

“The Showing (work x family) story could not be complete without the perspectives of young people who live it. We developed WRKXFMLY, an original assignment for high school students formally studying photography, to bring their unique and important perspectives to ShowingIn the assignment, students create pictures and write statements addressing the overlap of work and family in their own lives. We encourage students to consider broad definitions of “family” and “work.” Their photographs are then considered for inclusion alongside professional work in our traveling exhibition. We also offer opportunities for regional student exhibitions.”

Mr. Gooder and Mr. Cataldo will post select work (and what you write about it) here weekly: CCHS Showing Photoblog. Check it to see your work and the work of your fellow photographers! Hopefully, friends, family, teachers and other members of our school community will check it often as your work evolves. Remember, your black and while film based work can be scanned and uploaded too!

If selected, student work may be exhibited in at Framingham State University next year.

Big Ideas & Essential Questions


Untitled © 2015 Desiree Bustos, WRKXFMLY Assignment, Walden Grove High School, Sahuarita, AZ

Big Ideas

  • In the United States, work and family life often overlap in many ways, both obvious and nuanced.
  • There are all kinds of families and all kinds of work. Every family experience is different and valid. There are no right or wrong answers. There is no “normal.”
  • Photography and the written word can express and explain the various realities of work and family life and illuminate how they intersect.

Essential Questions

  • How do work and family overlap in your life, especially for your parent(s)/guardian(s)?
  • How can photographic images and text communicate the ways that family life and work life overlap?

As part of the assignment, a professional photographer, Tsar Fodorosky, will be visiting our students three times: first to explain the project, about a month later to look at student work in progress, and for a final critique. This is a unique opportunity for advanced students to get real world feedback and help with their photography work. See Ms. Fodorosky’s work here:

For more information and student work samples:

Instagram account: @wrkxfmly  #wrkxfmly

Facebook page:

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Q3 Advanced Photo Reflection

A Self Portrait by Vivian Maier, taken February 1955

Students in the B-Block Advanced Photography class have developed four main topics they’d like to explore in reflecting on their photography work in and out of class this quarter. The topics are below. 

Directions: Write a paragraph in response to each of the following: Quality of Work, Effort, Participation and Improvement. Look at the bullet points below each category for specific ideas, but do not write a list–this should be more of a narrative, describing your thoughts about your work in this class so far.

Due Friday April 8 by the end of class. Please share your reflection as a google doc, so Mr. Gooder can comment on it. 

  1. Quality of work
    • Your actual prints (contrast, dodging and burning, composition);
    • Your negatives (good exposures and developing)
    • quality of subject matter
    • fulfilling the assignment
      • Paying attention to the objective of the assignment (and taking it further)
      • Right number of rolls of film, contact sheets and prints
      • Having your work ready on time for the critique
  2. Effort
    • actively taking photos
      • how far did you go out
      • how much effort or planning did you put into your photography
      • do you shoot more than is required?
    • perseverance
      • if a print is hard you don’t give up
      • if a roll of film is not developed correctly do you reshoot
    • taking risks and your ambition
      • creatively
      • subject matter
      • technically
    • attitude
      • during critiques (participation, support for other students, accepting other’s feedback)
      • toward own photography, prints and process
      • toward others at all times–in the classroom, and in the darkroom
  3. Participation
    • on time to class
    • Work throughout the block
    • have a plan to work independently
    • staying on task and using class time productively
    • put in extra time when possible (during available blocks, after school, on weekends (shooting)
  4. Improvement
    • creation of your own style; who am I as a photographer?
    • improve technically
      • better composition
      • cleaner prints
      • more confidence
      • staying organized (includes keeping track of materials and taking notes)

Light, Shape, Shadow and Line

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Essential Questions: 

  • What design elements make a photographic image compelling?
  • How can one design an image specifically for a black and white medium?
  • In the photographic darkroom, which negatives make the best fine prints? What are their specific qualities?


  • Shoot 1-2 rolls of film. 
  • Must be shot off campus (outside of school)
  • Subject and location are up the the photographer, but the images should be visually compelling and use these four elements specifically: light, line, shadow and shape. Experiment, look for bold or subtle examples around you. See the slideshow, which you can download at the bottom of this post, for examples.  
  • make a contact sheet
  • make at least five 5×7″ prints.
  • make one to two 8×10″ prints of your best image(s) (your teacher will help you choose what to print)

Slideshow (shown in class): 

Light Shape Shadow, Line and Text Lecture Intro

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Advanced Photo Quarter 2 Reflection

“Route 9W, New York” by Larry Friedlander, 1969

Advanced Photography – Quarter 2 Reflection

The H-Block Advanced Photography students have discussed what they feel is important to them in this class. They have agreed on three main ideas (listed below). Mr. Gooder agrees to evaluate this class according to these criteria. Students will first write a reflection and share it with their teacher, who will respond in writing.

The reflection itself is an assignment and will be due on Friday January 22 (our midterm block).

Directions: Write a paragraph (5 or more sentences) describing your work in each of the following categories. Please pay attention to each of the bullet points (although you don’t need to make a list). You should cite examples of your (ie which projects or images you excelled on, or specific lessons or experiences, in and out of class), and reflect on ways you can improve as you move forward (things you want to learn, pay more attention to, and so on). 

Optional: The class decided that each student should have the option to suggest the letter grade they feel you deserve in each category. Mr. Gooder will assign his own letter grade and compare them. If they differ, he will split the difference. You may prefer Mr. Gooder to do the grading, and just work on the reflection (without assigning grades). 


  • Excludes outcome of print–more about each student trying to do the best work they can
  • Focus on desire to improve, applying techniques, overcoming challenges, reshoot as needed
  • Use class time effectively
  • Try new things (ie painting with developer, solarization, different print sizes, image cropping, and so on)
  • Open to suggestions from teacher and peers
  • Meets deadlines and gets work in on time
  • Pays attention to teacher’s comments (listening and learning shows up in the work)
  • Attention to detail (doesn’t leave negatives out; uses darkroom notebook)
  • Shoots more than just the assignments
  • Tries to improve and grow as a photographer
  • Prompt and prepared – good attendance


  • Demonstrates good darkroom étiquette:
    • washing trays
    • pushing prints into chemistry
    • moving prints along
    • cleaning up your enlarger station / things organized into drawers
    • cleaning up (ie drying prints) for the rest of class
    • careful with the rotary door
    • Watch the phones
  • Helps other students through:
    • Giving constructive feedback while working
    • Participation in critique when work is done–pays attention, looks at work
    • Insightful comments on other peoples work
    • Respecting other points of view
    • Helping to maintain a non-competitive atmosphere in class, or engages in healthy competition

Quality of Work

  • Demonstrates darkroom skills (dodging/burning; filter choice; focus; easel setup; clean negs)
  • Makes choices about individual style or related to what you are trying to express with the print
  • Develops strong negatives (good values and density)
  • Negatives and prints show originality; effort in terms of finding subjects and locations
  • Negatives and prints show variety
  • Shows a distinct point of view; has a story to tell
  • Note: while art is subjective, we agree that all work should be of high quality according to the above criteria

Assignment: Harvard Art Museum


The renovated Harvard Art Museums combines old and new–both in architecture and the work on display. The museum houses everything from Buddhas thousands of years old to new work by contemporary artists. 

Our assignment at the museum is to:

  1. Partner up! Explore the museum with another student. Visit every exhibit and discuss as you go. Choose a partner you can work well with–remember, you are on assignment! 

Write about your favorite work: 

  1. As you go through the exhibits, take images with your phone of your favorite pieces of art–pieces you would like to discuss/critique/analyze. You need to choose at least six pieces from at least four different exhibits. At least two must be photographs. Don’t forget to write down or take a picture of the  title, artist and date. 
  2.  Create a google doc which you will share with your Mr. Gooder.
  3. For each piece, write one paragraph. Write about why you were drawn to the work. Why does this work inspire or impress you? Is it what it depicts? The emotion it conveys? It’s subtlety or boldness? It’s history? It’s craftsmanship or use of materials?  
  4. Include your image of the work with your paragraph. 
  5. Share your review with your teacher by class time on Monday, December 14th. 

Our goal in going to the museum is to:

  • Be exposed to terrific artwork from around the world
  • Think about and discuss what we see
  • Be inspired in our own work when we return to the classroom
  • Enjoy a well-earned day together as a class to celebrate art

Our essential questions include:

  • How can we apply our critical skills when looking at artwork to work in all media?
  • How do different artists and cultures express themselves visually and through the materials and subjects available to them?
  • How is art work curated (chosen and arranged), and how does this this affects how we ‘read’ artwork? 

Check out the museum before we go: Harvard Art Museum website (Photography students should go to “Collections” and type in “Photography”)

The museum website also features “Hotspots,” which educate visitors about the artworks’ history and context: link to “Hotspots”

Here is a good article on the “new” museum, with a slideshow of images: New York Times Harvard Art Museum



Making Memories

Smith, Eugene - Walk to Paradise Garden, 1946
Smith, Eugene – Walk to Paradise Garden, 1946

Essential Questions:

  • What are key images that represent the most important people, places and things in your life?
  • How can photography be used to preserve or remind us of memories?
  • How does the way an image is shot and printed affect the tone, mood and meaning of that image?
  • What power do photographic images have to tell a personal story? What is not visible in images?
  • How do words–titles, captions and descriptions–enhance (or take away) from the meaning of a photographic image?

Directions: Shoot two rolls of black and white film. You need to capture of the following seven subjects from your daily life…

  • People who matter the most to you (2 or more)
  • Places that matter the most to you (2 or more)
  • Things (objects) that matter the most to you (2 or more)
  • A person, place or thing that will disappear for you in the next three years, or will never be the same (at least 1 image)

Each subject needs to be photographed two different ways (ie, up close and far away; different angles; different light). Remember, every choice you make as a photographer can add to the meaning of the subject in some way. Think about what you know about design from previous assignments.

Keep a journal for this projects (can be on your laptop). Write freely about each of your subjects (people, places and things). What do they mean to you? Why did they deserve to be preserved or remembered through photography?

Printing: You need to print the following:

  • Two contact sheets (one for each roll)
  • One image of each subject (you may choose your best shot)–so, at least seven images
  • 8×10″ standard size for all images
  • One 16×20″ print per student optional (if you haven’t printed one yet, you must print one for this assignment!)
  • At least one lith print (choose one image to reprint using lith developer…so you have a normal black and white print, plus the lith print to compare)
Bonnie, Shotgun Lounge by Alec Soth
Bonnie, Shotgun Lounge by Alec Soth