New course offering: Photo 2

Tom Cheng

Art department adds new Photography class for next year.

Photography 2, the continuation class to Photography 1 (formerly Black and White Photography), will be officially open for the 2009-2010 school year to students who have completed a previous year of Photography 1.

Brian Chow, department chair for the Art department, expects the class to be a permanent addition to the MVHS course list as the budget and student interest allows. In Photography 2, students will further develop their photography skills and learn more advanced techniques. According to Chow, emphasis will be placed on taking creative pictures, in both content and meaning, and students will encounter more digital post-production work. Students will leave the class with professional skills that will ultimately benefit aspiring photographers, and anyone seeking a career involving some sort of photography.

According to Chow, grades for the class will be more portfolio-based compared to Photography 1, where students will be expected to have a certain amount of pieces completed by each grading period. Thus, the class offers a more open time frame than Photography 1 does, where students are guided project by project. As Chow emphasized, students cannot skip Photography 1 for Photography 2, as in any other art course, although there have been unique exceptions made for graduating students who were interested in an art career.

“This is not junior high school. This is not a summer course,” Chow said. “This is a well-mapped out course where we have specific things we want students to learn and, with having a second level, there is a sequence.”

Funding for the new course was made possible by visual and performing arts funds granted by the governor. According to Chow, the Art department started saving up for the new class three years ago. Replacements and repairs for camera equipment will be expensive, and further considering the new computers required for digital work, costs can run especially high. The projected spike in the number of students entering the Art department will also bring more financial stress. In these cases, money from the Art Boosters program is expected to offset the maintenance costs.

“This is not new money that is coming out of a new pocket,” Chow said. “This is money that is saved up in our account.”

As for course integration into the Art department, Chow is looking into either one full class (one period), or “combination classes” where Photography 2 students will be integrated into the Photography 1 classes.

A draft of the course curriculum has been sent to the UC board for approval. As of May 15, UC credit is pending with no estimate on when the draft may be approved.