Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit

Unit rationale, description and aim

In a world of easily reproduced digital imagery, the ability to create your own original photos can be highly competitive. This unit focuses on developing practical skills to generate original photographic imagery and challenges students to rediscover photography in the age of the jpeg.

This unit is designed to develop concepts, processes and techniques as they relate to projects from photomedia. It focuses upon production methods including computer generated imagery but with increased attention on the conceptual contexts that arise as a result of making photographic artworks. In order to develop a personal aesthetic, students will first demonstrate knowledge in their technical project. Photographic concepts will be underpinned by researching contemporary practices in the photographic series and this knowledge will be expanded by applying their understanding of social, cultural and political perspectives through the final assessment task.

The aim of the unit is to focus on the students’ ability to generate their own ideas for set projects through experimentation, research and critical analysis. It also focuses on developing confidence with image making, presenting and discussing photographic processes and ideas in order for students to make critical insights about their own work and that of others.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Explain the central issues pertaining to a range of photographic practices (GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Interpret the social, cultural and political conventions of a range of Australian and International photographic practices and contexts (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO3 - Apply the theory, practice and methods of photography towards the development of an individual problem-solving creative practice (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively

GA5 - Demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession

GA8 - Locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information

GA9 - Demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media

GA10 - Utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively


This unit consolidates the students' understanding, knowledge and skills about the practice of making photographic images as well as helping them to examine issues and trends pertaining to contemporary photography in the context of the students' own emerging practice. The content of art history and theory units studied concurrently with studio-based units will serve to inform students of the historical and theoretical contexts which underpin their own practice. There will be a focus on issues of health and safety for the professional artist. Drawing on analogue and digital methods of production students will examine the notion of the captured image. Students will undertake an examination of image making within a media saturated culture, its history, visual conventions, and operation relative to photography. Critical considerations of the role and history of photographic image making within the context of art and design will inform this unit. Students will examine the notion of the captured image in light of their own creative input. They will investigate analogue and digital techniques of production and image finishing, mindful of the inception of photographic practice to provide a working knowledge of photographic practice in current use.

An introduction to key principles and developments within photography, including:

  • Camera obscura and the continuing desire to ‘fix’ an image. Overview of major theoretical and historical practices and concepts within photomedia.
  • Photography that demonstrates an ability to control exposure, aperture and shutter speed.
  • Present, edit, sequence and review of printed work for display.
  • Introduction to contemporary photographic practice within the visual arts via study of current production of digital and analogue photography and conversion of the still image into movement.
  • Use of digital photography techniques to edit, optimise and manage the output of photographic images using digital editing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom.
  • Presentation within fine arts and commercial contexts.
  • Analyse and synthesise research of related cultural, historical, theoretical and aesthetic perspectives acknowledging the broader field of photography to generate an original and innovative photographic series.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with photographic practices in a series of on campus lecture style classes. Students are required to attend facilitated tutorial classes to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge with other students so as to develop a level of understanding to produce photographic imagery with a personal aesthetic and conceptual underpinning.

Students are also required to attend a series of workshops in which they learn systematically as their knowledge develops. This approach appeals to students with a preference for learning within a physical social environment and allows for essential skill development with expert support. The strategy for this unit is to develop both a core conceptual and a core technical understanding of the camera as a visual medium that can be applied to any device. The role of the photograph will be assessed in relation to contemporary cultures.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The selected practice-based assessment tasks facilitate specific learning objectives while developing both a core conceptual and a technical understanding of the camera as a creative visual medium. The assessment tasks are designed as creative responses to briefs. These briefs emphasise both the technical and conceptual aspects of image making. The assessment strategy allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to produce their own self-directed suite of images. In order to develop this level of creativity, students first demonstrate knowledge in their technical project, further develop their photographic concepts in relation to contemporary practices and cultures in the photographic series and apply their understanding through the final assessment task.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Technical Project

Requires students to explain the central issues pertaining to a range of photographic practices.


LO1, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Photographic Series

Requires students to interpret the social, cultural and political conventions of a range of Australian and International photographic practices and contexts.


LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Suite of Photographic Images

Requires students to apply the theory, practice and methods of photography towards the development of an individual problem-solving creative practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Ang, T. (2017). Digital photography masterclass (3rd ed.). DK Publishing.

Batchen, G. (2020). Negative/positive: A history of photography. Routledge Publishing.

Campany, D. (2020). On photographs. MIT Press.

Durden, M. (2014). Photography today: A history of contemporary photography. Phaidon Press.

Gibbons, J. (2007). Contemporary art and memory: Images of recollection and remembrance. I.B. Tauris.

Moffatt, T., King, N., & Moffatt, T. (2017). Tracey Moffatt: My horizon. Thames & Hudson Inc.

Perkins, H. (2010). Art + Soul a journey into the world of Aboriginal art. The Miegunyah Press.

Marien, M. W. (2011). Photography: A cultural history (3rd ed.). Laurence King Publishing.

Rexer, L. (2009). The edge of vision: The rise of abstraction in photography. Aperture Foundation.

Wang, H. (2015). From darkroom to daylight. Daylight Books.

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