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Introduction to Black and White Film Photography

Photography's omnipresence makes it familiar, transparent, seemingly akin to sight. Yet sight itself is rife with complexities and complications, much more than just a physical act or passive reception. This course will introduce black and white photographic techniques so as to interrogate photography in its materiality as much as its philosophical, political, and social rubrics. You will learn the basic tools of camera operations, film exposure, black and white film processing and print development so as to interrogate the vast and varied range of possibilities this medium portends. Photography's rhetoric necessarily involves not only what a photograph "means" but how it "means"; that is, how photography has taught us to see, and the kinds of knowledge it engenders. Assignments facilitate an exploration of basic ideas and are only intended as starting points for further investigation. Discussions and critiques addressing both class and outside photographic work, as well as selected readings of photographic history and critical discourse will augment and expand your work.

Course Code

ARTV 24000




High School Students
UChicago Undergraduates
Visiting Undergraduates


Visual Arts

Class Day(s)

Mon Wed Fri

Class Start Time


Class End Time


Primary Instructor

Laura Letinsky


Session I

Start Date

End Date


  • Eligibility: current high school sophomores and juniors, 14 years and older (unless clearly stated otherwise); current College undergraduate students; and visiting undergraduate students.
  • The Priority application deadline is February 2. Students who apply by the Priority application deadline will have their $50 application fee waived. Any applications received after the Priority deadline will be admitted using rolling admission and will require a $50 application fee. 
  • International students who will require a visa to attend, applications will be considered no later than April 2 in order to allow enough time to complete the visa application process.
  • Rolling admissions: courses fill quickly, so submit your complete application as soon as possible.

Additional Details

  • Enrollment limit is 15.
  • Students will need a fully manual (focus and exposure) film camera and should be prepared to spend a minimum of $200 on film and paper.
  • Special note to High School and Visiting Students: A University of Chicago ID card is required to access the photo development lab.
  • Orientation for high school students is June 16-17.

Cost & Aid

Tuition is $4,085 per course. (Full-time registration is two courses taken during the same session.)
Additional fees apply; housing and dining costs not included.

Complete Cost & Aid Information (including housing and other fees) for high school students can be found here.
Complete Cost & Aid Information (including housing and other fees) for undergraduates can be found here.