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Students create their own blueprint for photography assignment


Photography students had the opportunity to create their own blueprint for a photography assignment. The photographs from the assignment are currently on display in the Student Research Lab on the second floor of the Fanshawe library.

Jen Doede | Interrobang | News | December 4th, 2017

Fanshawe professor Phil Bell gave his second-year photography students free range when deciding what subject matter would become the focal point for their first photography assignment of the semester. The submitted photographs for the assignment are currently on display in the Student Research Lab on the second floor of the Fanshawe library.

The free choice assignment required students to create blueprints for their photographs and to meet with Bell to develop the roadmaps that would take their ideas and facilitate their transformation into finished products. Bell organized these meetings in order for him to give the students advice and confidence before starting to shoot their subject. The one restriction given to students was that the photo must be taken this semester.

Bell explained that most students from his practical photography 3 class were very excited for the chance to create their own blueprint upon learning about the assignment.

According to a poster in the library regarding the assignment, the expectations were for students to demonstrate the ability to conceptualize and execute according to their blueprints using fundamental digital camera skills, exposure, white balance, focus, sharpness and composition. In addition, students were graded on their work’s visual impact and how they are able to produce a strong composition akin to a piece in a gallery.

Bell explained that when professors give structured assignments to students, the goal is to have a learning outcome from the process. However, this can cause the photos to all look very similar. “The minute you give a free choice assignment, individual input is there, their own style comes to the front and you see their personalities come through in their photos,” Bell said.

Leah McKeiver, a second-year photography student at Fanshawe, submitted a photo of a Disaronno bottle placed in the foreground with whips of smoke filling the remaining space. McKeiver explained that in the first few semesters of the program, students are given detailed guidelines for their assignments and do not have a lot of freedom regarding what to photograph. However, McKeiver said that the skills learned from these previous assignments help prepare the students for assignments like the one issued by Bell, in which student get to create a blueprint.

“It was hard work, but in the end I thoroughly enjoyed having the artistic freedom to do what I want,” McKeiver said in an email interview.

Bell explained that he has given out similar free range assignments in the past. The students will also have the choice to choose their subject matter for their final photography assignment of the semester; however, the final assignment will have a more detailed blueprint and layout.

“The Free Choice assignment has a layout/blueprint. That is very common in the workplace for photography. Clients have a very specific idea as to what they want and it is drawn out in a contract, an email or a proposal where it’s written ‘this is what we are looking for’,” Bell said.

He further explained that giving the students an opportunity to create a layout of their own helps them to better understand their future clients.

“It does prepare them for what’s to come once they are done at Fanshawe,” Bell said.

CREDIT: Leah McKeiverCREDIT: Leah McKeiver
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