Seeing is Believing

a Discovery Core Experience

BCORE 104 (Arts & Humanities)

About This Course

Seeing is Believing, introduces students to both the science of light and the photographic recording of light for personal expression. During the course, students will be introduced to the following topics and concepts: photography as a means of communication and an art form, the physical properties of light and its effect in the natural world, philosophical and early theories on light, and historical and contemporary photographers.

The course will include in-class labs, demonstrations of physical properties of light and photographic principles, a class presentation exploring a scientific phenomenon of light, and culminate with a personal photographic essay/series for the final project.

Why Should I Take This Course?

You’ll get to explore the concept of light artistically, scientifically, and philosophically. In the course, we’ll connect the science of light with the art of photography. In addition to learning the physical properties of light, we’ll explore early concepts of light, its use in our contemporary world, and as a form of artistic expression. Additionally, you get to work on projects capturing light yourself as a form of personal and artistic expression.

Selected Texts & Films

  • “Treatise on Light (or The World)” by Rene Descartes
  • “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson
  • “Light Science – Physics and Visual Arts” by Rossing and Chiaverina

Fun Facts About This Course

The Latin roots of the word “Photography” mean “the study of light.”

Professor Howard Hsu (he/him/his)

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences


  • B.S. Biology, University of Washington
  • Master of Journalism, Documentary Photography, University of California, Berkeley


My courses explore the ability for the photograph to humanize and foster empathy, to convey cultural perspectives, and to capture movements, current issues, and historic events.

Professor Hsu