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Course Spotlight: Photographing Architecture in the City


Images by instructor Richard Langendorf

This spring, we will be offering a new course with instructor Richard Langendorf, Photographing Architecture in the City. A unique offering, this course would appeal to students interested in photography, architecture, art and art history, and urban planning and design. The diversity of backgrounds and experiences should make for an interesting array of creative projects.

Each student will work on a self-initiated project,  selecting a site for the focus of his or her work in the course. The place may be anywhere in the Los Angeles region – urban or suburban. It may be a work of architecture, an urban space, the urban edge, or the like.  This work will proceed in stages, examining the site from varying perspectives, including light, detail, documentary, and poetic interpretation, and ending as a portfolio of photographs that express the qualities of a particular place, sequenced as one or more stories.

Below you’ll see a list of class lecture topics, technical demonstrations, and creative assignments. To enroll, click here, or call (310) 825-9971.

Lectures on Architectural Photography
Early History, Wonders of World, American Topographic Views
Pictorialism, Modernist Views-Europe & US
Documentary: Progressive Era & Reform, Great Depression
Modern View: Experimental, Rise of Color Art Photography
Arch. Journals, Modern Arch. Photographers (Commercial), architecture without architects; architecture in color, landmarks & special events
Dusseldorf Academy, New Topographics, Learning from Las Vegas, Modernism reappraised
New Documentary: DATAR, etc.; architecture- from commercial to art photography
Post Modern: where architecture and photography merge
Man-altered landscapes, cityscapes of change
Constructed, Staged, and Invented Image
Final Project, no lecture or future of architectural photography

Select Demonstrations/Technique

Equipment selection
Checklist for planning and shooting
Shooting: lens selection, aperture-shutter-ISO trade-offs, etc.
Shooting: composition, parallax and parallax correction
Shooting: low light, twilight, night photography, TPE
Shooting: HDR and Pano, and post in ACR/Lightroom
Post: working non-destructively
Post: ACR-basic panel, curves, lens correction, and FX
Post: noise reduction, sharpening, mixed light conditions
Post: HDR and Panorama, Photoshop and other software
Post: enhancing/replacing sky


Assignment 1: Site Proposal
Assignment 2: Getting Started, Research Paper
Assignment 3: Detail
Assignment 4: Time
Assignment 5: Light
Assignment 6: Context
Assignment 7: Poetics / Interpretation
Assignment 8: Documentary
Assignment 9, Post-Modern
Assignment 10, Outline, Final Project
Deadline to update Previous assignments
Assignment 11:Final Project
Assignment 12 Print Version, Final Project


Exploring Street Art visits Christina Angelina Studio

On one of their recent field trips, instructor Lizy Dastin was able to arrange a meeting at Christina Angelina studio for her students in Exploring Street Art. They met with the artist to hear about her work and process, as well as get a close-up look at some works in progress.

From her website: Christina Angelina is an internationally renowned artist who was born, raised and is now based in Venice, California. Her rigorous work ethic led to the completion of 54 murals in 2014 alone.

Angelina’s favorite projects typically take place in remote locations, off the beaten path. She strives to provide a source of inspiration in communities relatively untouched by art. Her interactive process engages and forms lasting relationships with locals, which she then channels into a finalized piece. A thirst for adventure keeps her on the road, traveling and working.

While her highly sought-after work has beautified urban landscapes, it’s also strengthened surroundings for the following clients: Nike, Nylon Magazine, Microsoft, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, CAA,






Interview with DCA Graduate Aneesha Bharadwaj

In UCLA Extensions we have many inspirational graduates who are pushing towards development. Meet Aneesha s DCA graduate who shares with us some of the projects she has worked on after UCLA Extension certificate program. If you wish to learn more about Aneesha, visit her online portfolio at https://www.behance.net/Aneesha_Bharadwaj.

What brought you to the DCA program?

I have always been interested and curious about what makes good design. Questions like who is the user? What does he/ she like? Why am I designing this product for them? Why will they use my product? What will they be feeling and experiencing when they will use my product? These are important things I keep in mind and hope to answer with each of my designs.

Having my background in product design and design strategy it was interactive-projectreally challenging to create design that engages the user and keeps him/her excited. My prior work experience in India was to get user research for consumer electronics. Find out why the existing product is failing and how our new design could help solve the problems. Then come back to the table after gathering data and map out user journeys. That’s what got me excited and more interested about user and interaction design because in the end if your user likes your product and continues using it without complains it is successful.

I was attracted to the DCA program at UCLA Extension for the variety of courses being offered. The advantage of joining the program is that there are various choices of electives which include Visual Design, UX, Web Design, Interaction Design and more.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I have taken lot classes at Extension from Visual to UX to Interaction design. The instructors have been inspiring and motivating me to push my limits. I found design with electronics most fun. Playing with Arduino circuit boards and designing user interactions is the most intriguing. To a designer you want to hear from your user/s that your design is purposeful and solves the problem what they previously had. spatial-typography

In the end of the day I want to combine my prior and new skills towards designing a product/ service that keeps my user/s participate and excited with my design.interactive-project2

How have the UCLA Extension classes helped improve your work, and or expanded your professional development in the field?

The DCA program has taught me to be more professional, dedicated and passionate for the art and design industry. To work in a team, generating ideas, presenting in front of them and getting valuable feedback. Showing your enthusiasm by not just delivering what is needed but doing much more that gives it the extra edge.

I was fortunate to get an opportunity to work at the Getty Museum during my study here. Also events with AIGA constantly kept me in contact with other designers and events.

Passionate about design, storytelling and technology, I have a created variety of work in the field of interaction design, visual design and UX. My aim is to create compelling design to enhance user interactions. I thank the DCA faculty and the program for being so diverse.

Explain the current project with Silicon Beach.

This project called ‘in type 2016’, was in collaboration with AIGA Los Angeles held at Looking design studio. There were 10 students from different schools across Los Angeles. Each of us had to design a typographic poster showcasing a selected neighborhood.











My chosen neighborhood was Silicon Beach.  From my initial idea I wanted to achieve the tech feel from Silicon Beach, the motherboard one where the type ‘silicon’ is set. My concept was to show the poster infused with tech and innovation. Materials used were rivets which led to the formation of the the grid structure of 1 inch squares. I used red strings for the type to stand out from the base.


I used materials like rivets, red string, and card paper on a white background.

We had formal photo-shoot of our work done in the photo lab. It was an amazing workshop weekend. Productive for the limited 2 days to finish off the poster.

And we are going to exhibit our work at the A+D museum on Nov 5, 2016.












If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream design job, who are they, where do they work, and what’s the job?

My dream job would be designing solutions that have long term impact. Be it digital agencies and design studios where I can keep learning and growing as a designer and focus my skills to enhance better user interactions. I am fascinated to work at places where the focus on building purpose and creating impact is through collaboration, creativity and innovation. If I had to name one company it would be IBM interactive experience and the the job would a visual interaction designer

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

Five years from now I see myself as an interactive design director still very much passionate about design, technology and my work.



Interview with DCA Graduate Amy Lynn Grover

Amy Lynn Grover is a true artist that enjoys photography and design. In her interview she shares with us the work she has created with the skills she attained through UCLA Extension DCA certificate program. To learn more about Amy and her work visit her website amylynngrover.com

What brought you to the DCA program?

Deep interest and commitment to art & design, plus a great imagination… I was a amy5professional model for sixteen years and  was looking for a change in life.. After many frustrating encounters with web designers, I taught myself to write code and learned how to do many things on my own. Something clicked… “This is what I am supposed to be doing!” I wanted to explore my passion for art design and photography; I knew it could be so much more.

What were your favorite courses and why?

I thoroughly enjoyed taking all of the courses; I learned a great deal from all my teachers and from class assignments. I found the projects the most useful in my learning experience.

As a designer, what does a potential project need to have for you to feel passionate about it?

Anything inspirational. I am especially drawn to work in the organic food, health, fitness, wellness, lifestyle and fashion arenas.





How have the UCLA Extension classes helped improve your work, and or expanded your professional development in the field?

The entire process. Design process, My process. Perspective…. Building blocks in working projects, taking things step by step.

UCLA Extension class assignments and projects were all imperative for my learning process; understanding concepts, experimenting and having the space to practice and make mistakes.

The most beneficial was the critiquing of assignments— this gave me perspective, looking at my own work as well as classmates. I learned a great deal from watching and evaluating others, as well as getting really great useful feedback on my work (things I needed to improve on and things I nailed).

As I continue to work as a stand alone freelance artist, (and greatly miss having 20 people around me nightly to critique), I value the importance of opinions; I continue to ask friends and family for their opinions; to get the perspectives of others. I also have found that my perspective changes once I step away and work at it later time. Assignments were like a sequence of many small fun jobs, the timeline, being pushed from all sorts of angles is all part of the job.


If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream design job, who are they, where do they work, and what’s the job?

I am a freelance artist; I like space and freedom to work on a variety of projects that either interest or inspire me… I really enjoy figuring things out… problem solving. I love complexity.

What are you working on right now?

Aside from a new food company I am a part of creating and clients–  I have been working on some personal projects which entail a lot of photography.  I spend a lot of time playing and working in my garden— hands in the dirt growing flowers, vegetables and raising 50 chickens (the garden is my favorite place for inspiration).

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

Professionally… Art Directing, Designing and Photography. Personally… Holding space for a lot more art (photography, graphically and the combination of the two).





Interview with Photography Graduate Christian Alarcon

Christian Alarcon just finished his photography certificate at UCLA Extension. Below he shares with us his academic and professional experience. To see Christian’s work check out his portfolio at christianalarcon.com .

Tell us about how you got interested in Photography, and why you chose the UCLA Extension Photography certificate.

I came to UCLA Extension a few months after High School in Spring 2011. I originally enrolled aiming for the Design Communication Arts ch2certificate. About mid way through the program, I decided to take Photography II as an elective. The day after I signed up, I went out and purchased my first camera, a Canon Rebel T3 equipped with an 18-55mm lens. I was HOOKED! That camera was in my hands everywhere I’d go. I didn’t even know how to properly use it, I would click the button and just hope I’d make a photo. Once the Photography II course began it was like I entered a new world. I would sit in class viewing slideshows of work and listen to my instructor Masood Kamandy and fellow classmates talk about exposure, shutter speeds, ISO’s and I had no idea what they meant. Clearly going straight into Photography II wasn’t the smartest decision, but it’s what motivated me to learn more about my camera and the art of Photography. I took a break from the DCA program and continued taking photos and learning as much as I could about photography on my own. As soon as I felt more comfortable operating my camera, I enrolled myself in the Photography Certificate program and that’s when my passion really began to grow.

For someone who is new to photography, what should they know about getting started?

img_7363_2Be very patient! Being patient with art is so important because then you’re achieving what you really want to achieve. Experiment with different styles and find what gives you that rush of emotion. Photography isn’t a competition. There will be times where you look at other peoples work and think to yourself “why don’t my photos look as good as theirs?” Don’t compare yourself to other photographers; instead look at their work as inspiration to help you get better. Put your passion into the craft and develop your own style. The most important thing is to always have fun and remember that you can never really fail if you’re doing something you love. The last crucial piece of advice I can give is learning how to save and back up all of your files. One day you will go deep into your archives and find some hidden gems that at the time you did not think were so great. And learn how to edit your work non-destructively. You will go through many different editing phases, and you will be very upset when you want to edit a certain old photo differently but you damaged the original copy.


What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?

I enjoyed all of my classes at Extension, but I’ll have to say Street Photography was definitely my favorite. From the moment I got my camera, Street Photography was an art that always fascinated me. Taught by the legendary John Weiss, this class really opened my eyes to the different elements of capturing great photos in the streets. Three of our class sessions were field trips, which consisted of us meeting at a certain location in the city and shooting together as a group. This gave us the opportunity to be out in the field while getting advice from our instructor, which I thought was really special. Weiss shaped me to become not only a better photographer, but also a professional. His passion and craft towards the art is truly something amazing and I can only hope to reach such a pinnacle one day. It was an honor being taught and guided by John Weiss, and for that I am very thankful.


Where do you hope to take your practice in the future?

There are so many things I wish to accomplish with Photography. My biggest dream of all is to travel. I would love to experience and capture the many different cultures of the world. Seeing the work of the greats like Steve McCurry, Alex Webb, and my former instructor John Weiss is what keeps that dream alive. I also hope to open my own studio here in Los Angeles, a creative work-space where I can offer my services and showcase my work. The possibilities with Photography are endless; as long I have a camera in my hands I’ll be happy.


What are you working on right now?img_5445

I am currently just taking my work day by day. I go out into the city with my camera every chance I get. Los Angeles is an amazing place to live and find inspiration. Everyday is a new story worth capturing. In today’s age people are so caught up in their daily routines and social medias that they don’t find the time to go out and experience the greatness their city has to offer; the people, the culture, the architecture, the food, and so much more. The work I continue to curate will eventually become a book where I can share all of these elements that make our city of Los Angeles such an iconic and historical place.

Interview with DCA Graduate Brenda Castillo

Brenda Castillo just finished a mentorship with Anya Farquhar, a DCA instructor/mentor, who helped her launch her stationery company called Sweet Llamita (www.sweetllamita.com). Below she shares with us how she developed her greeting card designs and how her experience in taking DCA courses prepared her to launch her idea.


What was your inspiration for this project?

Shortly after I graduated from college I was looking for premium-quality greeting cards for my parents, who are Hispanic and Spanish-speakers. Unfortunately, I could not find cards for them that I liked – none of the cards were in Spanish and a few funny or clever ones referenced sayings or jokes that were not relevant to them. This experience was the impetus to launching a greeting card company originally focused on just Spanish speakers; however, over time I noticed that there was also a need for people who are bilingual and who are members of mixed families, which is why I also design cards in Spanglish.


What was the process of developing it like?

The process was a lot of testing and exploration. Before I started the DCA program I was teaching myself how to use Gimp and Inkscape (the open-sourced versions of Photoshop and Illustrator, respectively) and exploring designs and messages. After starting the DCA program and becoming comfortable with design tools and jargon, I used my homework assignments as ways to explore design styles, color palettes, and even branding styles. As I got feedback from my peers, instructors (mainly my mentorship instructor Anya Farquhar) , and friends, I was able to refine my designs and slowly but surely align what I had originally envisioned early on with something tangible like the cards and brand assets.


What were the greatest challenges and greatest triumphs?

My greatest challenge was finding the design style for the cards. After only six months into the program, I was set on publicly launching my website but right before I made the jump friends told me my cards seemed more appropriate for young children versus my key demographic – bilingual women. At that point, I decided to delay the launch and keep on exploring my design aesthetic, which was the best decision I could have made. The process has been difficult because I want to make something unique that stays away from the common images and color palettes we often see geared towards the Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. I want to challenge that and show that the language you speak in the U.S. does not always determine a design aesthetic and it cachiquita-pero-picosa-tapatio-frontn still appeal to my target consumer.


My greatest triumph so far is just being able to launch this project overall. My plan was to work for a couple of years post-college, go to business school, and eventually start a business down the road. However, after a few life events after college, this idea kept on coming back. For some time I thought it could be a side hustle but eventually, I realized I wanted to fully dive in and that’s when I enrolled in the DCA program.


What are your goals as a designer?

My goal is to keep on developing my skillset and expanding my design horizons. I try to read designs books to review what I learned through the DCA program and to expand my knowledge. I also want to keep on pushing my boundaries as a designer and try new design methods or aesthetics to create a unique brand that it still authentic to my key customer but also cool and timeless. It’s kind of an oxymoron but I want to explore it.



Course Spotlight: Design IV: Advanced Design Practice with John Beach

Raw Sugar Hand WashesIn this capstone course, DCA students get a chance to pull everything they’ve learned together to create collaborative design work, very similar to what they will soon experience in the “real world.” Outstanding Instructor award-winner John Beach shares more about it:

What brought you to this field?
In hind sight, after over 25 years in the field, I have discovered there were many things that brought me to the Graphic Design world. Whether it’s problem solving, building a brand for a client, helping someone realize their dreams, or just making something beautiful with image and typography, I get a huge amount of enjoyment doing what I do. I guess it all boils down to passion. Graphic design is a wonderful fusion of story telling and communication with problem solving. Under the best of circumstances, it’s always something new. I never get bored.

bodum_shotTell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.
This sounds a bit cliché, but I try and find reward in all of my projects. A successful project to me is one where I have accomplished something I have never done before. Is it a growing experience? For instance, when Starbucks approached me to design a French Press for Bodum, I had never done anything like that before. The entire process was a learning experience that developed into a great product for both clients (Starbucks and Bodum), and I personally discovered what it takes to source materials, work with metals, and work within strict corporate guidelines, but still create within my own creative process. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also get a great deal of pleasure discovering ways to make design for the  world around us. When I was starting out, I did a huge amount of nonprofit work. It may not be the best paying sector of the design world, but it is rewarding. Even today, one of my on-going projects is a line of body care products available in Target. The client has built in a feature that gives back to the community. It’s basically called “Buy a Bar, Give a Bar”. For every product they sell from their line, they donate a bar to a family in need. It’s a small gesture, but one that makes you love your job even more.

Why is your course, Design IV: Advanced Design Practice, important for my Design education?
This course is important for a couple of reasons. First of all, we will structure the course to resemble as much as possible a “real world” experience, both as a studio environment, and as you relate to the client. We will work as small groups on problem solving for a real organization in need of “rebranding”. This doesn’t mean just building a new logo, but in fact, looking at an organization (of your choice) and finding a way to build equity in that organization. Does that involve fund raising? Building brand awareness? Probably both, but as we will see, that might just be the tip of the ice burg. Again, problem solving and story telling join together to create a unique experience through the principles of design.

Do you have a sample assignment?Non Profit
Throughout the quarter, each team will be working with the same organization of their choice. Starting with a brand assessment, then building a creative brief and mission statement that describes their goals (as an on-going process), we will look to see how well each team is utilizing their design skills to rebuild the mission of their organization. You will spend the semester assessing and implementing change through real life contact. You will also be building a brand book/style guide for presentation on how to best solve these issues within your organization.

Thanks, John!

Enroll in Design IV: Advanced Design Practice today!

Interview with DCA Graduate Arunima Dhar

What brought you to the DCA program?

Since my childhood I was a very creative cat. I am a kind of person who would like to mess around with little stuffs like colors, paints, glue, etc, and create something new and unique out of it.  I started learning to sketch at a very young age and I kept digging deeper day by day. When I grew up I realized its time for me to go digital and I should create good designs for my living. I love creativity and that’s how I got into this field. I did a post graduation degree in graphic design back in my home country, India. I always wanted to study in an accredited university in the US. DCA program is not where you learn only the tools of graphic design but its a hand on practical training which I really wanted to experience. It helps to think strategically and prepare yourself for a competitive market. That brought me here.

What were your favorite courses and why?f04f3937560483.576f41c6acd05

My favorite courses were Drawing for communication, Design 2, Publication Design and Advanced Typography.I still do remember how Henry used to make us draw a straight line so many times in Drawing for communication class. I love to draw and I enjoyed the class since day 1. Design 2 is  a great course and everyone should take it. After all your hard-work for 12 weeks, the outcome is worth it. You get your own creative freedom and you create something where your both strength and weakness blends. I learned so much in advanced type course that I became interested towards print design I thank my instructor Anya, all the projects she gave us were very interesting I kept improving.

As a designer, what does a potential project need to have for you to feel passionate about it?

I would say a potential project has to be very creative, should have good content, strong ideas and concepts. However I feel its more fun to work on project that you are not aware of. Where there is no idea how to begin or end but you push yourself hard enough to use your strongest skills to create something successfully which you have never done before.

If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream design job, who are they, where do they work, and what’s the job?


My dream job would be to work as a magazine designer at a renowned fashion magazine company. Responsible for creating everything when it comes to designing a beautiful magazine.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working as a digital graphic designer at a hi end fashion jewelry company.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I see myself as a senior designer with a lot of experience leading my own team and mentoring aspiring designers.



Interview with DCA graduate Kelly Cobb

In an interview with a Design Communications and Arts graduate Kelly Cobb, she shares with us the skills she attained by taking UCLA Extension courses. Below she shares some of the work that she produced after the certificate program.

What brought you to the DCA program?
I was working at UCLA in event planning and marketing and when my job took on the sudden responsibility of designing brochures and flyers for events which soon became the favorite part of my day. I looked into many continuing education graphic design programs but quickly found that UCLA Extension was one of the best. It had knowledgeable teachers who are currently working in the industry and had classes that fit my work schedule.

What were your favorite courses and why?Kelly.C_3

I loved most of the courses at UCLA Extension but my favorites were Packaging Design, Branding, and Photoshop. I think I got the most out of these classes because they were the most challenging. All of the material was really packed in over the 12 week period and was fun to challenge myself to stay creative and create inspiring projects on top of just merely completing the assignments. I felt like that really prepared me for a real agency setting because there is always going to be a deadline and you need to keep the creative juices flowing.


As a designer, what does a potential project need to have for you to feel passionate about it?df5a1134816821.56e2b8507eddd

For me there needs to be more of a “why” than a “what”. Anyone can create a product and go out and try to sell it but for someone who has passion and drive behind their product/project and truly try to create a community is something that I’m really drawn to and helps get me motivated to be apart of it.


How have the UCLA Extension classes helped improve your work, and or expanded your professional development in the field?

Not only did I learn an immense amount of technical and software skills, I learned the concept of design thinking. I definitely see the progression I made from my first academic quarter to my last just because I started to incorporate the lessons that I was learning in class. Additionally, I not only made great connections with many classmates but also with my teachers, some of whom I still stay in touch with.

If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream design job, who are they, where do they work, and what’s the job?

I’m incredibly lucky and this has already happened. I came home to Colorado for an internship at Interact, a packaging and branding design agency in Boulder, CO, and I was offered a job at the end of my internship! I love what I do and I wake up excited to go to work. I have loved diving into the world of package design because it is so complex and I am learning new things every single day.

What are you working on right now?


Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

I would love to be in a Senior Designer role in 5 years. I want to try to keep my hands on the projects as long as possible before moving up to a Creative Director position later in the future.

Interview with DCA Grad Katrina Gem Paray

In an interview with a DCA certificate graduate, Katrina Gem Paray shares with us her experience in taking UCLA Extension courses.

What brought you to the DCA program?

I started designing graphics around the 5th grade for fun and continued on and off for several years. It wasn’t until I graduated from college (I took up hospitality Kristina.G_01management) and after designing and selling stationery that I started getting serious about doing graphic design as a career. I wanted to get formal education on graphic design but didn’t want to do a 4-year program. My best friend happened to be enrolled in UCLA Extension around that time and suggested checking to see if there’s an art program – that’s when I learned about the DCA program.

What were your favorite courses and why?

My favorite classes were Packaging Design with John Beach and Design 2 with Henry Mateo. Both were challenging and worked with branding and collateral which is ultimately what I want to get into. 

Kristina.G_01editAs a designer, what does a potential project need to have for you to feel passionate about it?Kristina.G_MassKara

For me, every project have their own challenges, and some that you may not necessarily be into at first can become something fun/interesting down the road. I’d say that anything new and/or has an inspiring story with passionate people behind them is always extra motivating and exciting.




How have the UCLA Extension classes helped improve your work, and or expanded your professional development in the field?

They definitely gave me a better understanding in how and why we choose design elements to successfully communicate visually. The projects I did for the classes, particularly Packaging and Design 2, gave me my best portfolio pieces and helped prepare me for my current job.Krstina.G_11x17blendgreenteabiger

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently freelancing in New York doing packaging work for a healthy food brand.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years? 

Definitely still designing with a whole bunch of work under my belt as well as having more responsibility. I’d like to have a side business, too.





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