Planning Backwards Model*

MCAD Teaching Artist Practicum

Name of Project: Film Combination Workshop

School/Teacher/Classroom or Arts Organization/Mentor: MCTC John Johnston

Grade Level or Age of Participants: Undergraduate College Students

MCAD Teaching Artist:  Tom Bierlein

Number of Students: 8

Overview of Project

Students work in the Darkroom combining two negatives they have created into 1 image. There are 2 different processes taught: the first one called Overlay and the second one, 50/50. Overlay is simply overlapping two negatives printing onto the paper. 50/50 is one half of the image is created through one negative and the other half created with the second.

“Big Ideas”/ Essential QUESTION(s)

 How can we take  creative license when dealing with a medium that “truthfully” depicts our world? What does this offer the artist and viewer?

 Student Outcome Objectives

Students will:

1. Implement technique of dodging and burning to abstract the photograph

2. Generate a compelling composition using multiple negatives

3. Critique work on both technical and conceptual merit

Prior Knowledge

Students must be proficient in darkroom printing before they can create combination images. 

Lesson Preparation Timeline

2 Week prior to Workshop

            meet with John Johnston ( lead instrutor)  to lay out plans for workshop

            create at  2 physical examples of each printing technique

            create short, 5 minute slide lecture to introduce Jerry Uelsmann and combo printing

            purchase necessary materials for workshop

1 Week prior to Workshop

            give introduction to presentation and propose the workshop to interested students

            instruct students to consider existing negatives they may wish to use, or create new negatives for the project

Examples of Artwork

 Jerry Uelsmann’s photographs - 

Personal examples


Students will critique each other’s photographs both on technical exploration of both techniques and conceptual development and merit of the work.


35mm Negatives – 4 per person

R.C. Paper – 10 sheets of 8x10 per person

Darkroom supplies

Masking tape – single roll

Physical examples of project- 4

Learning Activities and Timing  add timing to list below to check yourself

1.     Introduce project – via powerpoint introduction to Uelsmann’s work.

2.     Outside of the darkroom, show the students how to overlap negatives into film holder

3.     Move into the darkroom: project overlapped film onto easel

4.     Create a test strip, explaining the need for a lower aperture due to the density of the negatives

5.     Put test strip through chemistry

6.     While the test strip develops, explain the 50/50 printing process

7.     Demonstrate how to create tape markings for identifying where to dodge

8.     Demonstrate dodging 50% of the image

9.     Replace first negative carrier with the second and dodge the other half

10.    Instruct students set up their stations

11.     Check negative carriers and enlarger stations before students begin printing

12.    PRINT.

13.  Conclude class – describe expectations for next class

 Teaching Artist Reflection

The biggest problem I see happening is students not getting through both techniques in the amount of time due to complications in the printing process. Because this is a more complicated printing method, sometimes students take quite a while to produce a successful image.

 The project works well in a college Photo 1 class because they have learned all of the steps of traditional darkroom printing and can apply that knowledge into the assignment. It’s a very good way for students to consider composition within photography in a new light.

I will be receiving feedback on my teaching and quality of student work from the instructor, John Johnston, after the workshop as well as with my own teacher, Lynda Monick-Isenberg