A Photo Teacher |

Vistas Fijas | Scenic Views – a Photographic Portfolio of Mexico

Posted in USD-Guad | ART 160V, USD-Guad | ART 353V by Paul Turounet on May 16, 2010

© Paul Turounet, from Tierra del Sol


los figones celeste y las cantinas solferino, el olor del aserrín sobre el piso de ladrillo, el mostrador espejeante, equívoco altar en donde genios de insidiosos poderes duermen encerrados en botellas multicolores;

y el cruce de la calle, sin razón, porque si, como un golpe de mar o el ondear súbito de un campo de maíz, como un sol que rompe entre nubarrones : la alegría, el surtidor de la dicha instantánea – ah, estar vivo, desgranar la granada de esta hora y comerla grano a grano!;

las parejas en las bancas de los parques o de pie en los repliegues de los quicios, los cuatro brazos anudados, árboles incandescentes sobre los que reposa la noche,


the azure of the lunch-stops and the solferino of the cantinas, the smell of sawdust on the brick floor, the mirrored bar, ambiguous altar where genies with insidious powers sleep captive in the multicolored bottles;

and crossing the street for no particular reason, because it is, like a surge of sea or the sudden ripple in a field of corn, like a sun breaking through a thick layer of cloud : happiness, fountain of instantaneous joy – to be alive, to crack open the pomegranate of the hour and eat it seed by seed!;

the couples on the benches in the parks or standing in the nooks of doorways, the four knotted arms, glowing trees on which the night rest,

© Octavio Paz, from 1930 : Vistas Fijas | 1930 : Scenic Views


Once the artist has identified their subject matter in combination with their own sense of vision, aesthetic approach and technical execution, it becomes necessary to develop and produce work that challenges this subject matter visually, intellectually and emotionally. How does the artist challenge these considerations and progress so that the work doesn’t become static and repetitive? When does the artist know or realize that he/she has exhausted all conceptual possibilities in relationship to their sense of photographic vision?

Thinking about your conceptual concerns and what to photograph, I would propose you gravitate towards what your interests and curiosities are. How would you approach those concerns photographically to reveal what they would look like as a series of photographs? In addition to their visual engagement, what do you want the photographs to reveal, suggest or evoke, intellectually and/or emotionally, in relationship to these ideas and perceptions? Consider how your use of the camera, photographic aesthetics and materials as well as your technical execution will be utilized in making photographs that begin to suggest and inform these curiosities and ideas.



Shoot photographic images that reflect focused attention on your curiosities and interests through your photographic vision and sense of technical execution and craftsmanship in preparation of developing a conceptually cohesive portfolio of 10 (ten) photographs of Mexico.


Give particular attention to the following:

  • ART 160v | Introduction to Photography – all photographs are to be in black & white | grayscale
  • ART 353v | Color Photography – all photographs are to be in color


  • Use of the photographic frame, vantage point, moments of exposure and the role and use of light to reveal your interpretation of the thing itself and details.
  • Various visual strategies and points of view, including the compositional possibilities with a single frame, multiple-image sequences, the juxtaposition of images (diptychs and triptychs) and multiple-image series (typology – conceptually and/or visually).
  • Correct controls of the camera, image exposure and processing, use of materials (color, black & white and/or alternative materials), and photographic printing.
  • Edit and sequencing of work in the portfolio. Avoid duplication of similar types of imagery unless it is a function of your conceptual concern.
  • Consistent image sizing, material sizing and use of materials.
  • Refined sense of technical craftsmanship, including correct image density and contrast, color balance and print finishing (retouching).


Photographic print sizing is 6″ x 8″ with white border.

It is essential that your idea reflect a sense of considered thought, active visual and intellectual exploration and is articulated with a cohesive vision and voice. As suggested in the previous shooting assignments, I would encourage you to follow-up with me regarding your ideas and conceptual development by meeting with me with edited contact prints | prints in an effort to propose a greater sense of visual clarity and interest.



For the final project, please present the following:

Ten (10) finished photographic prints that reflect focused attention on a conceptual concern/interest/curiosity through your photographic vision and sense of technical execution and craftsmanship.  Photographic print sizing is 6″ x 8″ (minimum) with white border.

One-page artist statement (typed or submitted online) that discusses the work presented in the final portfolio, including why you were inspired to develop the subject matter, how you utilized your photographic vision and use of materials to reveal and articulate your conceptual concern(s) and intentions, as well as the interpretive possibilities you want the viewer to consider.  If the artist statement is not completed at the time of the critique, there will be a 10% grade / point reduction from the overall points earned on the Final Project.  For review materials, click on Writing About Your Photographs.

See course calender for due date.  Final projects will be returned on the date of the Final Exam.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: