One story, two tails

The past few years the sophomores have worked on a small group project in their Current Imaging II class illustrating a short story using photography.

The goal of the assignment is to get the students thinking critically about what kind of images to create to match the text and make them apply skills learned in the classroom to outside situations. On top of that, it gets students reacquainted with classmates.

The results are always interesting, they often make the viewer look at the short stories, words that almost everyone has heard, in a new way. The following pieces are well done and very interesting – they showcase the same story in two different ways.

Looking for alumni work

Bismarck State College’s literary magazine, More Tales From the Wasteland is looking for alumni art submissions to publish to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication. Submit artwork to: The submission deadline is March 19, 2017.

It never really happened

The idea of green and blue screen special effects is common in movies, but it’s widely used in the world of photography as well. It sounds easy, but it is a very tricky undertaking. It’s difficult to match lighting scenarios, perspectives and even the relative size of subjects to the backgrounds.

The subjects in these photos were shot in the BSC Graphic Design and Communications photo studio against a green screen, then inserted into the image.

GDC on display

The sophomores finished up the redesign of the display cases outside the Graphic Design and Communications classrooms the week before the holiday break.

Each fall for the past four years the sophomores have undertaken the group project. The work involves serious doses of the creative process, collaborative work and production skills. It allows the students to dig into concepts like large format printing and working with three dimensional objects.

One group of sophomores chose to illustrate the creative process by showing the steps that a small candy company might go through in creating a new logo while working with a design agency.

The other group focused on the history of consumer photography from about 1900 to the present.

The results speak for themselves – each year the displays get more elaborate and look better.

If you weren’t hungry before you started reading, you will be

Food photography has been a staple of the BSC photography curriculum for quite awhile. Food is a tricky subject – it takes a lot of preparation and planning, but it never complains, argues or gets nervous. The intensity of shooting food and beverages makes it a perfect preparation for other studio photography.

This year’s sophomore class created some amazing food images, the bar is set high for the next class.

Shooting wide

The sophomores’ photography education centers around working in the studio with a couple of exceptions, one of them being a panoramic assignment.

The photos are created by stitching together six or more images in Photoshop to build a photo that can be incredibly large – often more than five-feet wide in its original format.

A short story

Children’s’ stories almost always use illustrations rather than photos to tell a story.

This sophomore assignment was just the opposite – choose a short story and illustrate it using photography and Photoshop. The exercise was meant to get students comfortable with their tools after the summer and to build creativity. The results are amazing.

Click on the thumbnails to view a .pdf of the project.

muffin-man hskt

Final freshmen project

The last project of the spring 2016 semester in the GDES 111 class was creating a poster promoting the Graphic Design and Communications program to send to high schools. The project was a major success, the students did a great job and rather choosing a single poster, we opted to use several of the 27 posters submitted. Check out some of the posters we chose to output and mail below.


The work is in

Last week I posted thumbnails of a sophomore assignment. The assignment was to photographically illustrate a common saying. The task wasn’t easy, several students talked with me about the challenges with the assignment. The process of both shooting and compositing images is challenging, even for experienced professionals. The images below are some of strongest student work. See if you can decipher what is saying is that goes with the photo.

A surprise visitor


Today we had a surprise visitor – Donna Vallarano. Donna is a retired faculty of the Graphic Design and Communications department (Commercial Art while Donna was teaching). She was also one of the instructors that taught all three of the current GDC faculty. To clarify that, she taught Sean, Tom and Jason about graphic design at BSC.

Donna took time to give a quick hand lettering demonstration that the students watched closely. After 16 years of retirement, Donna still knows how to talk to a class and deal with students.

Spending time with Donna was definitely the highlight of our day.