Photographic Lessons Learned - Part I

March 14, 2023  •  1 Comment

As a student, working for a top-notch theatre impresario turned out to be a stroke of luck.  Being able to attend many theatre productions, sometimes several times a week, gave me quick insight that artists were just like most of us. They often looked at the world from a slightly different angle. Sometimes they peek through a different prism. That allows them to uncover things most do not see or simply provide a different perspective. Not surprisingly, most artists focus on some aspect of daily life, something the audience or the viewer can relate to, something to connect with. For most of us, the world and life are not something abstract.

Photography is often called a primitive language, yet accessible to various cultures. Just like sentences in most languages, photos leave some latitude in interpretation. Szymon Brodziak, a famous Polish photographer stated, ‘You are what you see’.  Understandable, but there are variations on that theme.

Most art academies or universities, contrary to what most may think, no longer teach photography as a subject.  Prior to being accepted into the institution, applicants demonstrate with their portfolio that they have mastered the camera and nearly everything that is related to the technical aspects of the lightroom (or darkroom for the hipsters and related lovers of analogue techniques).

These students will not learn many aspects of photography that all of us can learn in books, online courses, or YouTube videos. It begs the question, what do they learn?

In better schools, they will learn to use light, space, and various aspects of post-production. Therefore, it can easily be argued that theatre is more related to photography than most other forms of art. The use and constraints of space and light are obvious in theatre.

They will not be thought about composition. I hope you do find that as surprising as I do. Most certainly do not lack this skill, as they must have demonstrated and mastered that to a significant extent when they submit that portfolio.  But it is an extremely important skill set.

Composition, use of space and light are important concepts. Highly recommended is an outstanding book addressing nearly all these aspects, Michael Freeman’s The Photographer’s Eye and the companion book ‘The Photographer’s Eye, A Graphic Guide’.  The various chapters teach how to make better photographs, by effectively using space and light in the composition.  

More about my personal photographic background and more insights relate to photography in the second part. 

 


Comments

Bernd(non-registered)
a good idea to write this blog.
May be I have heard about this ;))

I have used part of it in my little lesson at photoclub Laubegast.
Thanks again.

Bernd
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