Alternative Photographic Processes

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 116

       Course Name: Alternative Photographic Processes

       Credits: 3 (0 lecture; 6 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ART 115 or ART 117 or consent of instructor.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course utilizes basic photographic principles and tools and deals with development of manipulative and experimental nature of medium. Focus is on student’s work. Studio work outside of regular class time is required.  *See Note.

*Note: Students are expected to buy their own film and paper. Total cost of these items is approximately $150-200 in addition to the regular lab fee. The student who does not own a camera, tripod or light meter may borrow these items from the College by paying a refundable deposit fee. Deposits will be retained when equipment is damaged or not returned on the specified due date.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate understanding of basic color theory, both the additive and subtractive, by controlling the use of color in photography.
  2. Produce images that could not otherwise be seen with the naked eye through methods discovered in class.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the concept of post-visualization by making images that happen by chance.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the concept of transformation by creating forms from reality.
  5. Distinguish the different types of images that could be made using the techniques of manipulation.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Plastic Cameras/lenses (Calculating Exposure, Modifications)
  2. Pinhole
    1. Leonardo
    2. Build one yourself (Construction, Calculating exposure)
  3. The negative
    1. Infrared (B&W, color)
    2. Type 55
    3. Cross processing
    4. Arista Halftone
  4. Camera manipulation
    1. Something in front of the lens (mirror, mylar, prism, filters)
    2. Movement of the lens or camera
    3. Something in front of the film
    4. Double exposure
  5. Darkroom manipulation
    1. Mechanical manipulation
      1. double printing
      2. multiple printing
      3. easel distortion
      4. hand coloring
      5. painting
      6. collage/montage
    2. Chemical manipulation
      1. gamma infinity
      2. reticulation
      3. alternative developers
      4. solarization
    3. Toning
  6. Image transfers
    1. Polaroid (impossible project) emulsion transfer
    2. Polaroid (impossible project) emulsion lift
    3. Lazertran
    4. Laser printers
    5. Ink jet water transfer
  7. Hand applied emulsions
    1. Liquid light (paper, wood, metal, glass, fabric)
    2. Tintype
  8. Cyanotype
  9. Kallitypes:
    1. Brown print
    2. BVD

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Media Presentations of work in black and white manipulation and previous student work in the areas being studied.
  2. Demonstrations of shooting techniques such as multiple exposure and movement in the class.
  3. Critiques of student work, both in progress and at the end, to develop standards and evaluative criteria.
  4. Studio assignments for the student to solve problems.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online Attend all classes.

Attend all classes. Complete all assignments/projects. Attend all review sessions. Demonstrate proficiency of techniques explored.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Source book: “The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes” by Christopher James.
Supplies: The student must purchase a Holga, about 20 rolls of film, and about 100 sheets of 8x10 photographic paper. The student also must purchase dry mount tissue and 11x11 mount board. The college supplies the student with a facility, which includes enlargers, chemicals, and studio equipment. The college also provides color paper and chemicals.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Technical Quality, fullest possible range of tones
  2. Craftsmanship-neatness
  3. Visual simplicity-strength of organization of images
  4. Color correct print

The final exam is based upon color and technical black and white manipulation.

XI.   Other Course Information

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.