Who should teach photography?

Started Sep 26, 2013 | Polls thread
Dennis
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Re: Teach who what about photography ?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, Sep 27, 2013

Jeff_Donald wrote:

I never claimed to be unbiased, just as none of the other recent polls were unbiased.

Other recent polls are all sorts of things, biased being the least

I'm not arguing against anyone and I'm sorry if I left that impression.

Fair enough - everyone comes into threads having read something and not knowing what someone else has read - thinking you're talking about X because it sounds like X but you're talking about Y which I haven't read ... gets a liitle crazy !

I use that quote all the time in many of my classes. Yes, he was a techie, but he stated his photographic sojourn knowing next to nothing and created great art before he created technically correct negative and prints. In other words, he was creating great photos long before he and Fred Archer created the Zone System and before he wrote his books, Camera, Negative and Print.

Sounds like you know more history than I.

I attended a workshop through GAPW years ago.  Mostly stereotypical nature photography enthusiasts; middle-aged or older white males shooting Canons with white lenses.  (The staff was all shooting Nikon; GAP being sponsored by Nikon at the time).  I was the lone Minolta shooter and one guy there had a Hasselblad.  But amidst all the testosterone, there was one young woman carrying a Canon Rebel, a "little black zoom" and shooting handheld.  While everyone else was shooting the coastline, she was meandering around the rocks.  There was no overnight processing lab, so instead of critiquing stuff we did during the workshop, we all brought slides from home.  She brought different stuff, but really the most interesting stuff there.  You had your Peggy's Cove at dusk shots and all the other cliches.  And she brought sparks flying off a camp stove, really well done.

But I think that's what happens when an artist picks up a camera.  I believe that the average person picking up a camera is clueless about both the art and the craft, and can advance in the craft much more quickly than the art.

But then, I'm going off personal observations, whereas you're involved in teaching (based on your sig) so I'd love to know more about your experience in teaching people creative aspects of photography.

On the other hand, I recommend Nick Kelsh's books ("How to photograph your baby", etc.) to new parents or friends who just want "better pictures" without learning photography. His approach is pretty formulaic (it assumes the reader is using a point & shoot): turn off the crummy on board flash & don't worry about noise, get close, don't take just one shot and so on.

That's some of the best advice I've seen posted recently.

I love his books.  He assumes his reader wants to know absolutely nothing about photography and proceeds to tell them how to take better pictures in layman's terms.  He shows a couple contact sheets from pros, showing lots of attempts before a couple of successes, just to get readers past an assumption they might have that they should be able to get the shot in one take.  Actually, as an experienced amateur photographer, I'd love to see more examples of pros at work; to see how photography is done.  So much of what many of us do is reaction to what we see, while so much pro stuff is calculated, contrived, created, and we tend to think there's some magic, when it's really hard work and know how (that isn't taught in books !)

2) Get closer to your subject. I love quotes and I'll use one here, "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." - Robert Capa

Yep - he shows a sample of a typical parents snapshot of kids playing in a room, taken from the doorway, versus a shot where you sit down on the floor next to them.

3) Don't worry about noise. The techies have drilled in the concept of low noise = better images that many beginners lose great shots because of blur, caused by too low of ISO.

At the risk of dragging the ISO/exposure stuff into yet another thread, I think that this is one of the lessons that I learned as a result of moving the emphasis from ISO to exposure in my shooting - I've come to realize that noise isn't to be avoided at all cost; it's to be avoided within reason.

- Dennis

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