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Unit outline_

CAEL2042: Photography and the Darkroom

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit of study introduces the principles of black and white photography via the 35mm camera and the darkroom. You explore alternative documentary photography strategies by challenging the role of the camera to simply observe and capture. You experiment with the genres of reportage, street photography and conventional documentary practices, and are encouraged to take an interventionist approach to the urban environment. You are introduced to the 35 mm manual SLR camera, black and white film processing, dark room printing, film exposure and photographic print enlargement.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Sydney College of the Arts
Credit points 6
12 credit points at 1000 level in Visual Arts or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Studio Foundation
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Isobel Markus Dunworth,
Lecturer(s) Amanda Williams,
Isobel Markus Dunworth,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Presentation Project 3
60% Formal exam period
Due date: 12 Jun 2020 at 19:00
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5
Presentation Project 1
20% Week 04
Due date: 20 Mar 2020 at 19:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Presentation Project 2
20% Week 08
Due date: 24 Apr 2020 at 19:00
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found in the Canvas site for this unit.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to the course & project 1. Tutorial - the 35mm camera - exposure, operation & loading film. ** Students to bring along their 35mm camera ** Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1
Week 02 Black and white film processing. ** Students to bring their shot roll of 35mm film for processing ** Workshop (3 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 03 Black & white printing in the darkroom & evaluating negatives. Use of the enlargers, WHS in the darkroom, test strips & printing a proof sheet. ** students to bring their processed roll of 35mm film for printing ** Workshop (3 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 04 Printing project 1 in the darkroom. Lecture - introducing project 2. Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Black and white printing - introduction to enlarging, contrast control and filters Workshop (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Assisted darkroom work. Working on project 2 - proof sheets, enlarging and contrast control ** students to bring all darkroom materials ** Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Self-directed work in darkroom Independent study (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 08 Lecture - introduction to project 3. Discussion of ideas around project 3. Continued work on project 2 in the darkroom Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 09 Introduction to advanced/alternative photographic techniques Studio (3 hr) LO3 LO5
Week 10 Research proposal and presentations due in-class Presentation (3 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 11 Working on project 3 in darkroom Studio (3 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 12 Independent darkroom work and one-to-one feedback sessions Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 13 Working on project 3 in the darkroom with lecturer feedback Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, photographing, indepdendent darkroom work, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Your readings can be accessed via the eReserve library link in Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. gain technical and creative skills to generate and produce black and white photographic artworks
  • LO2. undertake research that is historically and conceptually tied to studio practice
  • LO3. develop critical skills to communicate your ideas through visual presentations of your work
  • LO4. critically and technically evaluate images
  • LO5. generate ideas into photographic artworks.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered

Additional costs

Students are required to purchase their own photographic darkroom paper and film after week 1. It is also advised that students procure their own 35mm film SLR camera for this course, although a limited supply can be loaned from the AV Store.

Work, health and safety

Students are required to comply with local WHS expectations and undertake inductions and related quizzes in order to access the darkroom workspaces required to work.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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