#storyf17 photography assignment

Assignment Overview

The goal of the photography assignment is to hone your photography skills and build a community of people on Instagram who are interested in similar subjects as you are.

While Instagram is often used for selfies and celebs sharing pic of their cats, like the 10th most liked Instagram photo of 2015

swift picit is also used for more serious endeavors. For example, Matt Black, winner of Time Magazine‘s 2014 Instagram Photographer of the year award, used Instagram to photograph the geography of poverty:

black pic

Or, Ruddy RoyeTime Magazine‘s 2016 Instagram Photographer of the year, who exposes “the difficulties of . . . black men, women and children across America” in stunning, often wrenching photographs, complete with illuminating captions:

Ruddy Roye photographs

Further, in September 2015, Getty Images awarded three Instagram photographers $10,000 each for the work they are doing to record the results of various tragedies. The photographers, Ismail Ferdous, Adriana Zehbrauskas, and Dmitry Markov create amazing portraits of life and place and humanity. And news organizations, like @NPR, are using Instagram to create short photo stories that lead viewers to the larger story on their web site. Particularly wonderful are the 15 second stories by @nprmusic.

So, like all media, Instagram has been used by people for a variety of purposes. In #storyf17, we’re going to try to use it for more profession and educational purposes (with the occasional cat or #vinyl photo in there for the fun of it, of course).

This assignment is informed by the following course objectives:

Objective 3: Communication Design
Students will be able to identify and employ a range of effective communication strategies to navigate audience, purpose, and context and will understand and apply human centered design approaches to communicating through digital media.

Objective 4: Risk-taking
Students will know what it feels like to step out of their comfort zones and take risks with their approaches to and understanding of investigation, design, and digital storytelling.

Objective 5: Reflection
Students will develop their understanding of the important role of reflection during the investigation, design, and communication process.

Assignment Specifics

To get started:

  1. If you do not yet have one, create an Instagram account and install the app on your phone.
  2. Follow @billwolffsju and everyone in the class on Instagram:
    1. @richbellsju, @jakestoryf17, @brendankileystoryf17, @averymarzsju, @danielleprioleau, @eruvo, @asinatoresju, @jsphotog, @beyondblessed32_, @elenazecchinocom, @gina.oliveri, @kellymahoneysju, @nn618504, @pattyflans14
  3. Link your Instagram to your Twitter stream

Using the required text, The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs, I would like you to complete the following, in this order:

  1. Chapters 1, 2, and 3: Complete and compose a blog post in which you discuss your results to the assignments. Chapter 3 doesn’t have a specific assignment, but you can write about what it was like to read the manual.
  2. Chapters 6, 7, 14, 15, 17, 22, 26: Complete and post results to Instagram with #storyf17 hashtag.
  3. Choose any additional 10 chapters and post results to Instagram with the #storyf17 hashtag.

For each photograph, include the following:

  • the #storyf17 hashtag
  • a photo title followed by what number the photo is of the total you’ve taken for this assignment, for example: “The Tree” (photo number 5)
  • a description of the lesson (or the lesson chapter title)
  • a description of what you were trying to capture with the photograph
  • what you thought worked and what you might improve upon
  • relevant hashtags that could introduce the photo to a larger community


For the majority of these photos, I would like you to use a DSLR, not your phone. The lessons ask you to shoot on manual settings, not auto. As a COM major you have access to cameras through the Gear Room. Specifically, I recommend you use the following Gear Room gear:

You can also use your own DSLR, if you have your own. Get used to using a tripod, as they are essential for many of the lessons (not just lesson 53).

I recommend you read the A/V Gear Policy well ahead of time and reserve the camera you will be using.

Do not wait to do all these at the end of the semester when the weather will be much nastier than now. You will be required to incorporate some of your images into your Story of Learning.

When you start to get into your investigation, I’d like all the photos to be connected to that work, but for the first few weeks of the semester, you can choose your subjects.

Due Dates

Please begin your work starting week 2 and finish by the end of week 10, which gives 10 weeks to complete the assignment. Create a schedule for yourself of 2 – 3 images per week so you are not doing them all at the end.

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