Skip to main content
Photography at The Roeper School encourages students to learn and explore an entirely different type of creative expression. Like all the arts at Roeper, photography instruction strives to create a classroom environment where creative expression though risk-taking is embraced on every level. Whether in the darkroom or the Technology Lab, students learn how to hone their creative interests and use their extensive problem solving skills to produce the finest images possible. In both the darkroom and computer lab, students work independently and come together for group discussions and critiques. The darkroom classes place an emphasis on chemistry and process; the digital classes place an emphasis on navigating challenging computer skills.
The middle school photography class gives students an understanding of the concepts of basic black and white photography. Students construct pinhole cameras and use their cameras outside to expose 8 x10 photographic paper producing a negative image. The students confront the issues of subject matter, depth of field, and exposure time. Once they master these technical aspects, they focus on the aesthetics of photography. There is an emphasis on darkroom techniques, working with chemicals, learning how the enlargers work and how to make positives from their paper negatives. The skills acquired in this class give each student a good foundation for future photography classes.
The middle school digital photography class encourages students to explore a type of photographic process different from the existing middle school “wet lab” photographic offering. This class takes students out of the darkroom and places them in a situation where they are obligated to incorporate technology with image-making. There is an emphasis on aesthetics as well as computer skills. Students shoot Nikon digital cameras and alter their images using the most current Photoshop program.
Upper school photography is geared toward teaching the student the techniques of standard black-and-white photography. Students are instructed in the fundamentals of camera operation, black-and-white film processing and black-and white enlarging. A portion of the semester is devoted to alternative processes. Students are encouraged to develop their own personal vision within the medium. Class time involves darkroom work, group and individual critiques, demonstrations of new techniques and discussions of prominent issues in the medium. Once the student completes two semesters of regular photography, there is an advanced photography option. The advanced upper school photography class is designed for students who have exhibited the need to be challenged intellectually and creatively by a more rigorous and demanding course. The students in this class are given much freer reign in terms of setting assignments, choosing what they photograph, and determining how they complete coursework. The students are compelled to take the initiative and the ensuing control of their work; and while there is an emphasis placed on manual camera techniques and darkroom proficiency, the greater goal is for students to see themselves as photographers. There are set projects that include some of the following processes: toning of black and white prints, solarizing, emulsion and image transfers, use of Kodalith film, negative sandwiching, distortion, and the use of liquid emulsion.
The digital photography class has a shared emphasis between creativity and computer expertise. Students use digital cameras to take photographs and the most current Adobe Photoshop program to work with the images they have taken. The digital photography class teaches photographic concepts as they apply to digital technology and the use of and ethical considerations when using digital imaging software. After one semester of regular digital photography, students are able to take the skills they have mastered to a new level. The Advanced Upper School Digital Photography class begins with a continuation of the Digital Photography class and then branches out to the creation of self-directed projects. Each semester a new syllabus is created by the students and the instructor. The created syllabus is predicated on the knowledge that the skills necessary to produce advanced work have been mastered, and there is an expectation that the students in this class will draw upon both their creativity and their personal vision as they approach their work.