Are you self taught or did you formal training?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Ricus.stormfire, Dec 14, 2012.

are you self taught or not?

  1. Yes, I am

    57.8%
  2. No I have had formal training

    10.8%
  3. Yes and no

    29.4%
  4. I don't know what I am doing

    2.0%
  1. Ricus.stormfire

    Ricus.stormfire Member

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    I am self taught, I did not receive any training, I didn't study photography. everything I know comes from books, the internet and trial and error. I really wanted to study photography when I was younger, but the cost involved where too high at the time....so I taught myself. How about you?
     
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  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Mostly self taught.
     
  3. rjhelms

    rjhelms Member

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    Pretty much entirely self-taught. My high school had some photography and darkroom courses, but I didn't take them - convinced one of the teachers to give me a crash darkroom course but didn't do anything with the knowledge for over a decade.

    Came back to it this past summer and have been entirely self-taught with lots of time at the library, online, with my camera and in the darkroom since. Still a long way to go.
     
  4. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I have almost no formal education in photography. I took a summer school class when I was twelve and that set the hook. The rest has all come from reading books, practice and most importantly, I think, taking notes. I didn't really learn much until I started taking notes.
     
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  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Self taught in just about everything I do now.


    Steve.
     
  6. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Completely self-taught. Started reading books about photography when I was 15, later learned a lot through the web.
     
  7. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon,

    Still continuing the process.

    My teachers were the popular photo magazines and photo annuals of the 1960's, numerous extremely helpful Kodak publications (RIP) and data sheets, an occasional book on basic darkroom procedures, very useful information from Calumet Photographic catalogs, a lot of trial and (mostly, I suppose) error, and probably a few other things I can't recall now. Issues of the old International Photo Technique could always be counted on as an incentive for technical improvement.

    Konical
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I've taken some instruction at a local community college, an introduction class of sorts, learning basics about film processing, printing, and a little about composition and so on. Pretty much an oral version of Henry Horenstein's 'Black and White Photography' handbook.

    Ever since then it's been about seeking information, from books, and others. I've been blessed with knowing lots of really knowledgeable people, with possibly hundreds of years of experience between them, which has been invaluable to me. And, I don't ever intend to stop learning.

    I believe some formal training is good, especially if there's room for a lot of soul searching and internal exploration.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Basically self taught although I had some very basic guidance aged about 9 or 10 while at schoool. later I worked in the same building as a top advertising photographer. Aged about 19-20 I went on a college coarse but knew more that the tutor about developing & printing, I had been teaching basic photography while at school aged 16 after being approached by the teashing staff.

    My bibles in my teens where Kurt Jacobson's Developing, and also Enlarging, and they still remain the best books of their type today.

    For my sins I do have an MA (Masters Degree) in Photography, so taht's a formal qualification but based on my art rather thantechnical background.

    Ian
     
  10. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    A little bit of an introduction starting in Grade 11 in a high school camera club ,of how to expose, and devlop film, and make rudimentary prints.

    Then I found a copy of The Craft of Photography by David Vestal in my smaller city public libray circa 1986, checked out maybe three times before I found it.
    This was back in the days when there was a renewal reminder sticker inside the front cover, and rubber stamped dates applied. I think I checked that book out and renewed it or got it out again about 25 times in the next three years.

    Then it was reading Popular Photography bought at the news stand for quite a few years. Then uni- no real time and not much money for all but school, but I moved the darkroom to uni with me in third and fourth year, and got back active again. Haven't really stopped in the intervening 23 years.

    One workshop four years ago. Really good instructors, excellent learning in 'seeing', great critiques. I hope to do more, but middle age, with work, kids activities, etc, well they will have to wait, so the self taught rules I guess.

    In the last two years I have lead a few one night workshop sessiions at a camera club with a communal darkroom. Coating cyanotype, using diffusion and texture screens, combination negative printing and masking, ortholith film etc.

    I find a lot of inspiration and learning from interacting with the participants and having questions posed from other than my own point of view.

    Also having to school yourself up as a bit of the expert, prepare demonstration expanples and stage the workshop to a fixed schedule makes your brain gear up more than the more relaxed domestic darkroom routine.
     
  11. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Both. My father was a photographer. Studied in art school before I was born.

    When I was about ten years old, he loaded up a camera with film, handed it to me and said, "If you break this, I'll break YOU." He kicked me in the butt and sent me off to take pictures.
    He showed me how to develop and print in the darkroom but never had real experience. I just did as Dad said.

    I took some photography classes in high school. (That was back in the old days when kids used to learn stuff in school.)

    I did a lot of my own developing but very little printing during the time between high school and college.

    Second year of college, I took some more photography classes.

    Since college, I've learned mostly everything on my own.
     
  12. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Combination. Community College photography program, some workshops, lots of "self-directed learning." But most importantly person to person and online relationships with other great photographers on this site and other places who have so freely shared their knowledge.

    Oh, and Photostock. I learned lots of bad habits from hanging out with incorrigibles, malcontents, and general rabble-rousers there.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i took photography classes in high school ( 3 years ) then -
    college ( 7 semesters --- directed studies where i was making my own emulsions and coating glass plates )
    architectural drafting and painting too .. ( and lots of art history classes )
    i also assisted architectural and lifestyle photographers before i apprenticed with a portrait photographer trained herself in the 20s+30s.
    other stuff i taught myself ...
     
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  15. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    No one can claim with any authenticity that they are 100% self-taught. I've learned lots about photography by reading books, but I don't consider myself self-taught. Just because I took the initiative to read books on the subject and then apply that knowledge, doesn't mean I'm self-taught. I learned from the people who wrote the books. If you've ever learned something here on APUG, then you're not self-taught, you learned from the helpful people here.

    I think most people use the term "self-taught" to mean "no formal education" and that learning something without a formal education is a badge of honor. Whether you learn from attending a class or from a book, or a combination, what does it matter? Learning takes work no matter how you do it.
     
  16. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    My father taught me the basics of using a manual camera when I was a kid, then I took photography all four years of high school and went on to Indiana University for my BFA in Photography. I've had years of formal education, but schooling is just a framework upon which you have to build. You will never learn everything in school, even if you get a PhD, so I have also learned a lot on my own.
     
  17. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Although my interest in photography started when about 6 or 7 years of age (POP paper exposed on a window ledge), I later became an assistant photographer at 17 to a guy called Eric Penn (not the fashion photographer). At the same time I was doing a college course but then went on to study photography full time for three years at Art College. Here they made me do studio work for long periods of time, using medium and large format. However, when I could, I would take my Leica I out to photograph street stuff. Eric Penn taught me more in a year than I learned in all my time at college. It was only years later that I discovered images by photographers like HCB.
     
  18. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I took one high school class in 95/96. Everything from then on has been self taught, the bulk of which I've learned, and relearned over the last 4-5 years.
     
  19. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I have a BFA and MFA in photography.
     
  20. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Both. No one is totally self-taught, IMO. Follow a set of instructions -- someone else just showed you the way. Read a book -- someone else is teaching you. Look at someone else's print, then that person just taught you something.

    The self-taught and the self-made person is a pleasant myth.
     
  21. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us... except those who don't realize it or cannot admit to that.
     
  22. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    How true.
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    The missing category in the poll is "informally trained".

    I had the benefit of a "non-formal" photographic tutor for a short while; a short period of professional experience; lots of amateur experience; a course or two in related imaging technology; and a lot more amateur experience. Hence: yes and no.
     
  24. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Nothing formal for me either. In college I studied more on the art and photo history side and got degrees in degrees in different subjects (anthropology & business). Learned a little bit of basic darkroom stuff from a friend, and the rest was from books, the web, and self experimentation.

    doh.. I miss clicked on the poll, you cant undo and revote can you? haha
     
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  25. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I've done formal education (Maryland Institute College of Art Continuing Studies program), informal (Center for Alternative Processes, Project Basho, Smithsonian Resident Associates), and "self-taught" (pick up a book, follow the directions, get a result, lather, rinse, repeat).
     
  26. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon Again,

    In my first post in this thread, I neglected to mention that I've been with APUG almost since its beginning; that's added enormously to whatever photographic knowledge I can claim. Many thanks to those who have contributed!

    Konical