Q&A from the Jan 6 Workshop

FotoFika Awesome people! I’ve consolidated down the Q&A from our workshop. I hope you’ll find it helpful. Thanks to everyone who contributed.



Q: Fewer assignments and fewer prints does not seem unusual during this time. What strategies might you be employing to still have rigor in your classroom? Or can you? Does less work mean better work for all?

A: To keep some rigor, in-progress critique has become much more important for my classes this year than in the past. More in-progress critiques also helped check student understanding (and misunderstanding), esp. when communication is weird… students coming in and out… some on hybrid plans, etc.

– I usually do 4 projects, this fall I did one semester long project so that everything they did was working towards one thematic direction, there was structure build on technical skills and conceptual readings but gave a lot of flexibility on any potential issues related to covid as well as conceptual flexibility for students to approach the project with their own interpretation

My class size and se-up is similar to Tom’s. I’ve cut assignments in half and requiring both digital file and prints, with an emphasis on the files. Scanning will be covered in the second week and the students learned to convert a color file into black and white in-depth last semester.

– Yes. I agree there is a loss. why do we teach B&W when we can’t be in the darkroom? Most schools already have a separate digital photo class.

– (Re assignment load/change) The project was called “The Poetics of Noticing”. I gave them readings from the White Chapel “The Everyday/ Documents of Contemporary Art” as well as readings from Georges Perec, they also did observational writing exercises they presented along with their work. I had 3 in-progress critiques and they had to meet certain technical benchmarks for each one. The main premise was based on being a slow and intention observer and to question how and what they allow themselves to notice in their day to day lives


Q: I’ll be teaching totally on campus with a very small class so there is room to do everything we normally do but I wonder if anyone has ideas about what to do with students who get quarantined for two weeks.

A: I’m wondering if I should give alternative “at-home” assignments or just let them make it up when they come back.

– I am arts dept chair for a boarding high school and we all pre-packed “two-week kits” for kids who have to go home to quarantine. For darkroom kids, they went home with a (full – yum!) Pringles can to convert into a pinhole viewer – no film or paper loaded. Couldn’t really grade that work, just hoping that they could have an art-related experience during a time that would be stressful/difficult for them.

– I had pre written quarantine assignments that allowed for homework to replace an in-person exercises.

– I assigned everyone to do “at-home experiments” and had a long list of possibilities: Lumens that aren’t fixed, pre-coated cyanotypes with ecodye, a camera obscura in your bedroom, etc. Every student had to do one over the course of the semester and if a student had to quarantine for 2 weeks, they made up the in-class work by doing an additional “at-home experiment”. I had great results and pre-planning for students missing days was essential because we were doing things like wet plate collodion in the classroom and I wouldn’t let a student do any of that at home.


Q: What are the best apps for being able to control F-stop and Shutter speed with iPhone? Arizona has the highest per capita infection in the world. I think we may need this option for spring semester.

A: There is no app that controls shutter speed on an iPhone bc it does not have a shutter.

– I have found the Lightroom app gives some control

– LE Calculator App may work


Q: Does anyone have a good way to replicate a Gum Bichromate print in Photoshop

A: Camera Sim (old version is free) https://camerasim.com/camerasim-free-web-app/


Q: What kind of assignments and how are you conducting analog classes?

A: Made head mounted camera obscuras, lumen, cyanotype, anthotypes with turmeric.

– At UArts for Spring Semester, we just added another section (that is now full) of our black and white analog, Intro to Photo course. We are 100% remote and offering 4, at capacity analog/film courses! Our program at UArts is partnering with a local service bureau to process and scan film (that is mailed in and sent back to student as well as scanned film files sent to student via dropbox) and promoting a creation of  black/white analog catalog of negatives that will be used (fingers crossed) for printing in darkroom in Fall 2021.

– Similar to UArts, we’ve been able to include film again, but have the students drop it off for myself and our lab assistant to develop and scan in for them. I definitely don’t get paid enough to babysit the scanner but the students are thankful.

– We’ve been totally remote here at UW since the end of March, and the past two quarters I had students make pinhole cameras for long exposures and most students really enjoyed the assignment and got great results. Some even experimented with shorter exposures and caffenol developer.

– I’m using the app Massive Dev (free). It takes the student through the complete film processing procedure, film type, ASA/ISO, dev. type/dilution, then the complete dev, stop, fix timed process, with timer and sounds for agitation etc.

– For students who cannot come to campus, we do outsource our 4×5 to ACCL in Akron Ohio- they ship us the film and our work studies scan the negatives this semester – it’s going to be quite the challenge
Thanks everyone for the insight + I really appreciate this 🙂


Q: Has anyone used any of the cellphone film scanning apps?

A: I have. I find its good for a quick preview of negs but not anything else really. “Filmbox”

– At UArts our students have used Neg Pro software that worked well during fall semester and also FilmBox scanning App (phone)for quick scans for critiques and presentations.


Q: Which light meter app do you prefer?

A: LightMeter or myLIghtMeter are both free

– Light Meter (WBPhoto)

– I like Pocket Light Meter.

– Lux (free and paid versions)















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