Who should teach photography?

Started 10 months ago | Polls
D Cox
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Re: Who should teach photography?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

Any good photography course will have both artists and technical experts on the staff, so that students can learn from both. A student who is mainly artistic by nature needs the technical training most, and a technically minded student needs the artistic stimulus.

In practice, students learn most from each other.

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unknown member
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The first one except the question is flawed and designed to fail
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

You are assuming the photographic "craftsmen" will only know how to produce "boring" photos, which is a strange thing to say.

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bosjohn
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Re: Who should teach photography?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

you have loaded the dice so to speak to get the response you want. I don't think it matters so much if the person teaching is a tech head or free spirit, I care more about if they are a good teacher. A good teacher may not be the best photographer or know the most tech stuff but they do have the ability to stimulate their students to learn. both creatively and technically

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MoreorLess
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Re: Might not...
In reply to Great Bustard, 10 months ago

Great Bustard wrote:

MoreorLess wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Beach Bum wrote:

As much as it pains me to say it, it shouldn't be the guys with all the formulas, graphs, charts, etc.

All of that has more to do with picking a camera than taking a picture.

...some of the "guys with all the formulas, graphs, charts, etc." also have some knowledge about the artistic side of photography? Why do so many assume the two are mutually exclusive?

I'm thinking the best person for the job is the person who is best able to communicate the ideas of both the artistic and the technical to students who are there to learn.

I'd argue that as far as photography forums that's often(not always of course) not those who like to post excessive "formulas, graphs, charts".

Every forum seems to have a few of these guys who constantly butt heads on extremely indepth technical details in threads originally started by a beginner who'se question they've long since forgotten. Even when they do actually answer beginners questions there answers tend to be unhelpfully long winded because they fear a "rival" will challenge them if they offer any forum of simplified answer tailored to the knowledge of the beginner.

Equally while its obviously true that technical knowledge doesn't preclude artistic ability its also true that the latter doesn't automatically justify the need for all of the former. Its perfectly possible for a good photographer to pickup and debate knowledge that's not helpful to his own or others photography.

Auto Mode (A), Auto ISO, OOC jpgs. Be honest -- will that stop a great photo from being great? Will knowing all the tech stuff help a photo that sucks become good?

However, I will say this -- it's hard to overestimate the impact of good PP skills.

Theres a lot of middle ground between using fully automated modes and a sematic argument about the nature of exposure of course. I don't see anything wrong with the latter of course if its limated to its own thread between those who want to discuss it rather than diverting someone elses thread.

I'd agree PP skills tend to be more underestimated although I'd say again the larger underestimation is the application of artistic skill. Understanding the impact of your editing on the photograph and using it to enhance it rather than just sticking it though some standardised workflow/program that might shave 0.001% noise off of the final output.

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Beach Bum
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Re: Craftsmen vs. artists...
In reply to Great Bustard, 10 months ago

Great Bustard wrote:

Beach Bum wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Beach Bum wrote:

As much as it pains me to say it, it shouldn't be the guys with all the formulas, graphs, charts, etc.

All of that has more to do with picking a camera than taking a picture.

...some of the "guys with all the formulas, graphs, charts, etc." also have some knowledge about the artistic side of photography? Why do so many assume the two are mutually exclusive?

I'm thinking the best person for the job is the person who is best able to communicate the ideas of both the artistic and the technical to students who are there to learn.

Maybe we should have a contests, the self-identified craftsmen/technical guys vs the artists. I know I'd route for the former.

Again, you presume the two to be mutually exclusive. Do you mean to have a contest between artistically challenged technically competent photographer and technically incompetent artists? What would be the point?

No, I don't. That's why I said "self-identified".  Which do you identify with more? It it's equal, I guess you can't compete.

BTW, I'm a formulas, graphs, charts guy myself, to the nth degree. I just don't know how well I would do at teaching an artistic pursuit. I'm a purely hard science guy, so I know how tough it is to relate to, how should I put it, the 99% who aren't scientifically inclined.

Let's see if I can't make my position crystal clear. I take a brilliant photo at 50mm f/2.8 1/100 ISO 400 on FF with a prime. If I have instead taken that photo, which we have agreed was brilliant, at 25mm f/5.6 1/200 ISO 3200 on mFT with a zoom, would my photo be any less brilliant?

You're a little defensive about this me thinks, because I'm on your side actually. But you have to admit there's a certain subset that just wants to focus on the entirely artistic aspect and doesn't want to hear much about anything else. For such people, a basic, if potentially incorrect explanation of the technicals is enough. They just want to shoot.

I would think such people would be more prevalent with hands on instruction (i.e. not online) than they would be here.

The whole point of the poll was about teaching not doing. And I took that to mean hands-on instruction.

p.s. Is this jump on BB day or something?

Was that today? Dammit! Someone should have told me -- I could have gotten a few more kicks in!

Lesson learned. Don't participate in poll unless you have everything precisely defined.

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RobertSigmund
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Photography should be taught
In reply to Beach Bum, 10 months ago

by Ken Rockwell!

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Mike_PEAT
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Freeman Patterson Art of Seeing, Tao of Photography...
In reply to Dennis, 10 months ago

Also 1x.com produced a few books on inspirational photography.

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Glen Barrington
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Let the marketplace rule. . .
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

Bad photography doesn't kill people, though it can make people wish they, or the photographer, were dead!  Anyone who thinks they have something to offer should be free to share.  Bad photography teachers do no harm.

Besides, as near as I can tell, photography isn't taught so much as it is learned.

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Macx
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What is the difference between the technical and the artistic?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

Is setting up the light and shadows for your shoot technical or artistic? Is figuring out the tonal curve that has the right amount of contrast technical or artistic? What about choosing the right lens? Is learning how to prevent (or exaggerate) tall buildings from looking like they're falling over a technical or artistic skill? Is learning how to post-process a technical or artistic skill?

It seems to me, that these things and many others are very technical skills that is used to transform a creative vision into a material image. It doesn't matter if it's your creative vision or if you're being directed by someone else's: The better you understand the craft, the better you're able to achieve the vision.

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D Cox
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Re: Let the marketplace rule. . .
In reply to Glen Barrington, 10 months ago

Glen Barrington wrote:

Bad photography doesn't kill people, though it can make people wish they, or the photographer, were dead! Anyone who thinks they have something to offer should be free to share. Bad photography teachers do no harm.

Besides, as near as I can tell, photography isn't taught so much as it is learned.

That applies to any subject. The good teacher gives the student an opportunity to learn, and encourages the student's efforts.

(Bad teachers are different, naturally.)

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domina
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Re: Who should teach photography?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

Art cannot be taught in courses, there is no guarantee that an art student will produce great art upon finishing a course, it's a hit and miss, so it makes no economic sense to teach art. Artists will develop themselves if it comes naturally to them.

The technological aspects of photography can be taught quite reliably and if someone successfully finishes a technical course then it is 100% guaranteed that they will be able to take pictures at the technical quality they were taught. We should focus in the transmission of technical knowledge because we can control it. Definitely photography should be taught by scientists and technicians, because every dollar spent on training will produce results.

I also don't understand why many art courses insist on things like the rule of thirds: who said the rule of thirds makes more interesting pictures? The highest resolution of all lenses is in their center so it makes scientific sense to put your subject on the center if you want maximum sharpness. If you use the rule of thirds to make the image "artistic" then you lose some resolution.

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jkoch2
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Photography should not be taught: "courses" a scam, unless entertainment
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

For the sake of pure entertainment, people can pay for whatever classes, courses, or certification programs they enjoy.  If nothing else, you are apt to meet people who share your interests.

Any person should be free to direct or teach such classes, so long as they can attract and retain paying students.  No other bars or criteria should apply.  None.  It is no different than starting a store-front church: if your spirited preaching fills the hat with enough dollars to cover the rent, hallelujah!

As in the story of "Stone Soup," a person totally ignorant of cameras or photography could be an excellent mentor simply by bringing together people interested in photography.  The first day class could begin, brilliantly, if the know-nothing simply asked the students:  "Hmm. Now what should I say first about photography?"  A sea of hands would rise.  By the time every enthusiast finishes making their remark, and after all the counter-remarks and retorts are duly monitored by the "teacher," you'd have much better success than if a pedagogical craftsman or artist had simply droned about what they think or like.

On the other hand, schools, programs, or institutes that hire under-employed photographers or camera technicians and make pitches to the public that their degrees or certificates will grant people entry to the glamorous world of fashion photography, photo-journalism, or Hollywood are blatant scams.  Any money or time spent should be done with the same discretion that one would give to recreation or a holiday vacation.  There are essentially no jobs to be had, other than by relentless DIY scrounging and self-promotion--talents which also come in handy and tend to yield fruit more easily when selling any service or product other than photography.

Photography is something one learns by trial and error.  If a person is fascinated by photographs, he or she will learn, one way or another.  If a person has no interest, or lacks aptitude for the topic, any classes will be a hopeless waste.

Music is nearly the same, except that no one will be appointed conductor without knowledge of musical score--however acquired.

Yes, there is institutional snobbery galore: preference for degrees from certain conservatories, apprentiseships under maestro or madame so-and-so, mandatory membership in some guild or association, etc.  Barriers of every sort abound.  But the key requisites of success are talent, hard work, and fanatical persistence.  Howeveer, not even degrees and other requisites guarantee a financially viable career.  Best to be borne with a hefty trust account or marry into wealth!

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Mark Scott Abeln
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Someone who is good at teaching photography.
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

The art of teaching photography is not the same thing as the art of photography.

Good teachers ought to understand the capabilities of their students, ought to be able to speak clearly in a way that is understandable, ought to be able to answer questions satisfactorily, ought to be accurate and reliable, ought to be able to encourage and spur the students, ought to have an understanding of the subject and knowing what is important and what is not, and ought to be able to judge progress, adapting the source material as needed. They ought to be able to teach in a way that appears to be effortless, they ought to enjoy teaching, and their students ought to enjoy being taught by them, with the result of them learning and retaining a lot, as well as becoming much better photographers themselves.

While it would be desirable to have a good photographer teaching, perhaps it might be better if the person is first and foremost a good teacher, with a good syllabus, and who has the ability to judge good photography.

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69chevy
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Re: Who should teach photography?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

Photography should be self taught.

Teaching yourself is the most rewarding part.

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Great Bustard
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Re: Might not...
In reply to MoreorLess, 10 months ago

MoreorLess wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

MoreorLess wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Beach Bum wrote:

As much as it pains me to say it, it shouldn't be the guys with all the formulas, graphs, charts, etc.

All of that has more to do with picking a camera than taking a picture.

...some of the "guys with all the formulas, graphs, charts, etc." also have some knowledge about the artistic side of photography? Why do so many assume the two are mutually exclusive?

I'm thinking the best person for the job is the person who is best able to communicate the ideas of both the artistic and the technical to students who are there to learn.

I'd argue that as far as photography forums that's often(not always of course) not those who like to post excessive "formulas, graphs, charts".

Every forum seems to have a few of these guys who constantly butt heads on extremely indepth technical details in threads originally started by a beginner who'se question they've long since forgotten. Even when they do actually answer beginners questions there answers tend to be unhelpfully long winded because they fear a "rival" will challenge them if they offer any forum of simplified answer tailored to the knowledge of the beginner.

Equally while its obviously true that technical knowledge doesn't preclude artistic ability its also true that the latter doesn't automatically justify the need for all of the former. Its perfectly possible for a good photographer to pickup and debate knowledge that's not helpful to his own or others photography.

Auto Mode (A), Auto ISO, OOC jpgs. Be honest -- will that stop a great photo from being great? Will knowing all the tech stuff help a photo that sucks become good?

However, I will say this -- it's hard to overestimate the impact of good PP skills.

Theres a lot of middle ground between using fully automated modes and a sematic argument about the nature of exposure of course. I don't see anything wrong with the latter of course if its limated to its own thread between those who want to discuss it rather than diverting someone elses thread.

Honestly, though -- how often does *any* of it make the difference between a photo that's great and a photo that's mediocre?  I mean, can you cite me an example of a photo that would have been "less successful" if it had been captured instead in Auto or P mode with Auto ISO?

I'd agree PP skills tend to be more underestimated although I'd say again the larger underestimation is the application of artistic skill. Understanding the impact of your editing on the photograph and using it to enhance it rather than just sticking it though some standardised workflow/program that might shave 0.001% noise off of the final output.

That's what I'm saying.

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Great Bustard
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Re: Craftsmen vs. artists...
In reply to Beach Bum, 10 months ago

Beach Bum wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Beach Bum wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Beach Bum wrote:

As much as it pains me to say it, it shouldn't be the guys with all the formulas, graphs, charts, etc.

All of that has more to do with picking a camera than taking a picture.

...some of the "guys with all the formulas, graphs, charts, etc." also have some knowledge about the artistic side of photography? Why do so many assume the two are mutually exclusive?

I'm thinking the best person for the job is the person who is best able to communicate the ideas of both the artistic and the technical to students who are there to learn.

Maybe we should have a contests, the self-identified craftsmen/technical guys vs the artists. I know I'd route for the former.

Again, you presume the two to be mutually exclusive. Do you mean to have a contest between artistically challenged technically competent photographer and technically incompetent artists? What would be the point?

No, I don't. That's why I said "self-identified". Which do you identify with more? It it's equal, I guess you can't compete.

You know, I don't really think of it as artistic vs technical but artistic and technical.

BTW, I'm a formulas, graphs, charts guy myself, to the nth degree. I just don't know how well I would do at teaching an artistic pursuit. I'm a purely hard science guy, so I know how tough it is to relate to, how should I put it, the 99% who aren't scientifically inclined.

Let's see if I can't make my position crystal clear. I take a brilliant photo at 50mm f/2.8 1/100 ISO 400 on FF with a prime. If I have instead taken that photo, which we have agreed was brilliant, at 25mm f/5.6 1/200 ISO 3200 on mFT with a zoom, would my photo be any less brilliant?

You're a little defensive about this me thinks, because I'm on your side actually.

I know you're on my "side" in this discussion, but I don't think you know the extent of what my "side" really is.

But you have to admit there's a certain subset that just wants to focus on the entirely artistic aspect and doesn't want to hear much about anything else.

I'll more than admit it -- I'll proclaim it!

For such people, a basic, if potentially incorrect explanation of the technicals is enough. They just want to shoot.

Some are like religious nutters -- they want some kind of framework that makes the universe make sense to them, and just want the easy "explanation" because the correct explanation is too much for them.

Others simply do not care.  They know how to use the camera to get the photos they want, and all this technical mumbo-jumbo for that little bit extra is really just not worth the effort.  Think jpg vs RAW, for example.

I would think such people would be more prevalent with hands on instruction (i.e. not online) than they would be here.

The whole point of the poll was about teaching not doing. And I took that to mean hands-on instruction.

A teacher has a room full of students who want to learn, either because they're interested in the subject or they have to know it for what they want to do.  DPR, not so much -- even less so for threads like these.

p.s. Is this jump on BB day or something?

Was that today? Dammit! Someone should have told me -- I could have gotten a few more kicks in!

Lesson learned. Don't participate in poll unless you have everything precisely defined.

Actually, the lesson "should be" just have fun.  If you happen to learn something, excellent, but rest assured, that happened by accident. 

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sdribetahi
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Re: Who should teach photography?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

Sorry to say, but photography is not brain surgery. There are no boards to pass, no licenses to get, no lives at stake. It can be self taught, or taught by anyone someone's willing to listen too. Don't make it out to be something more than it is. It's about as important as who teaches flower arranging.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Who should teach photography?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

Photography should be taught by hypnosis shortly after birth, and a brand for life assigned according to the subject's astrological makeup.

Anything else is unreliable and deviant.

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robert1955
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Those that can, do; ....
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

...those that can't, teach;

those that can't teach, teach phys. ed.; and I'll now add:

those that can't do phys. ed, teach photography

(this in answer to your option 3]

As for options 1 and 2: you are assuming that technical competence and artistic merit are opposite ends of the same scale. They are not, they are on two different dimensions, that do not need to cross anywhere.

Have you considered the possibility that an image may have great artistic intent, but was executed with such incompetence that its deficiencies totally obscure its artistic enjoyment?

So no. 4 it is

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Who should teach photography?
In reply to Jeff_Donald, 10 months ago

People who themselves consider self, not to be experts, rather students in relentless pursuit of excellence.

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