The Art and Science of Photography is an interdisciplinary course that uses art as a point of departure to learn a bit of physics, and it uses physics as a point of departure to learn some things about art. Photography is the point of connection between the two. The course has five basic goals:

  1. To ask basic questions about how photography fits in as an art, and about the nature of art itself.
  2. To ask basic questions about the nature of physics as part of the study of the natural world, and about the
    nature of science itself.
  3. To gain some practical knowledge that will allow you to more easily learn technical aspects of photography, as
    you need them.
  4. To gain some practical knowledge that will help you more easily learn to be a better photographer.
  5. To be exposed to a set of interesting photographic processes and tools that are not usually covered in a
    beginning photography course.

If you have little experience with photography, this course will help form a useful foundation from which to learn about photography in whatever way that works best for you. If you are a seasoned pro, but looking to set off in a new direction, then you will likely find much in this course that is fresh and inspiring.  No prerequisite courses in photography, art or physics are needed.   The course can be take for UW Colleges credit as either ART 291 (AP/IS) or PHY 291 (NS/IS). 

John Beaver, Instructor.


Positive Image, Negative Light: The Art and Physics of Photography
by John Beaver.  (A digital version of this book will be provided to students for free.)

The Photography Book, by Phaidon Press.

This course runs Summer of 2016 as part of the Wisconsin in Scotland program.  It is a 4-week intensive course taught in Dalkeith Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The course fee includes tuition, room and board in Dalkeith Palace, and a meal plan.

See the preface and table of contents of Positive Image, Negative Light for more details on the content of the course.