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  1. #1

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    What do the photography programs teach? Looking for a curriculum

    I found a medium that I like.
    I have the equipment which I like.

    I don't know what to shoot.

    I don't have a purpose to trip that shutter.

    Subjects and themes turn me away for different reasons... starting from "it's been done" to "this will only excite me"

    So, I would like to make a curriculum for myself.

    I wanna know what kinds of assignments are given out to photography students. What kinds of courses and what books they read.

    Do you have any information on the subject?

  2. #2
    Neanderman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrey View Post
    I wanna know what kinds of assignments are given out to photography students. What kinds of courses and what books they read.
    Well, let's see.

    One was to team up with a partner. One would be blindfolded, the other not. The blindfolded one was to take pictures, the other one was to keep the blindfolded one from stepping out into traffic.

    Another was an assignment to pick a spot somewhere and take a photo. Then you were to take 5 steps and shoot another one. Repeat until you run out of film.

    Yes, these sound ridiculously absurd, but you'd be amazed at what you can learn about photographs from doing them, especially the first one.

    As for books, we only had one: Swedlund, Photography: a handbook of history, materials and processes. A great book. We didn't do much reading as my professors weren't much into theory. The idea was, you looked at a LOT of photographs and then went out, made some on your own, brought them back to class and talked about them as a group.

    I still think you'll learn a lot more about photography by looking at and making pictures than you'll ever learn by reading about it. I also recommend seeing lots of films and reading other things -- for me, it was literature.

    Learn to think in pictures.

    Ed
    Last edited by Neanderman; 01-25-2008 at 04:41 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling
    "I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary's laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography." -- Lee Friedlander

  3. #3
    Gary Holliday's Avatar
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    The assignments are very broad which give you scope to take whatever you want, there's always a category for it! You must be interested in something....photograph what you know.

    Think of a project; mine at the moment are all the photos I see on my way to work each day. I'm just planning how to bind them together into a body of work and how they will be printed. Ideas flow together once you get started.
    Last edited by Gary Holliday; 01-25-2008 at 05:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4
    Robert Hall's Avatar
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    Do you consider yourself a conceptual artist or perceptual?

    If you need a concept, find something that is important to you, or something that could educate others through your photography and go to work on images and perhaps text and sound bytes.

    If it is perceptual, go find things to photograph that you can make beautiful through your eye and the camera.
    Robert Hall
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    Technology is not a panacea. It alone will not move your art forward. Only through developing your own aesthetic - free from the tools that create it - can you find new dimension to your work.

  5. #5
    wheelygirl's Avatar
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    O.k., Andrey, here is what my instructors assigned:
    In my b & w course last semester, we were to go out with our cameras, sit for 5 minutes. Using all 5 senses, take photos to represent each sense. For me, the sense of taste was rather easy: a photo of a near-by restaurant.
    Another assignment entailed each of us acting as a "typical" tourist, with all of their usual photographic goofs, for 1/2 the roll; the other 1/2 we were to act as though we were "professional" photographers. This, was the most fun.
    This semester, in my Color Photography, so far, has been to get better acquainted with our cameras 'normal' f/stop, by bracketing. This week, the assignment is of warm & cool images--warm tone image and cool tone image using local color & warm tone image and cool tone image using optical color.
    [FONT=Verdana]"the real truth of a photographic image is in its ability to evoke emotion."--Bryan Peterson[/FONT]
    [COLOR="DarkOrchid"]My Muse wheels Herself about in a wheel-chair![/COLOR]

  6. #6
    jovo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrey View Post
    I don't know what to shoot.

    I don't have a purpose to trip that shutter.

    Subjects and themes turn me away for different reasons... starting from "it's been done" to "this will only excite me"

    So, I would like to make a curriculum for myself.
    Wow....your quandary is an unusual one. It kinda sounds like you're afraid to shoot because someone might find your photograph limited or boring. OTOH, "this will only excite me" is even more perplexing since it suggests you want to be bored by your own work????? I'm baffled by that statement!

    In any case, making exposures, developing film, and printing as well as you can ought to excite your appreciation for the objects you've created... prints...let alone the personal expression that they may reveal. Just do it! A lot!! Worry about the "value" of what you've created later (or not at all). If you're comfortable in your own skin, you'll soon realize that whatever others may think, what you've created is worthwhile to you. Unless you're a two dimensional cipher, someone else will almost certainly be excited by what you've made. Start there...see what follows... best wishes and good luck!
    John Voss

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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hall View Post
    Do you consider yourself a conceptual artist or perceptual?
    Me? Artist?

    I'm a guy with a camera.

    Seriously I didn't know the difference between them
    If you need a concept, find something that is important to you, or something that could educate others through your photography and go to work on images and perhaps text and sound bytes.

    If it is perceptual, go find things to photograph that you can make beautiful through your eye and the camera.
    It's too broad of a goal.

    There's got to be a tried and tested way of doing "photography". Starting with an assignment that's easier, and then evolving from there... some guidelines?

  8. #8

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    i like what robert hall said --
    you say you found a medium you like --- what do you like about it? the way it can elevate an ordinary thing into something expressive? if so, don't worry about the fact that others have photographed similar things--there's no way around that ..... thing is, they haven't done it with your eyes...... if you just follow your eyes, photography will teach you things about yourself ...... if you're an 'arranger' rather than a 'reactor' when it comes to image making, perhaps a beginning assignment might be to create a photograph that is a metaphor of yourself .... in any event, good luck!
    rich

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jovo View Post
    Wow....your quandary is an unusual one.
    I guess what I'm saying is that I don't want to shoot for the sake of shooting.

    I want to set out on a project, which has a message, a defined audience and in the end, if that audience is satisfied, I know I've done a good job.

    I have been shooting for myself for the last 2 years... mainly. To try out a new technique, just to see what something looks like on film... etc. It helped me control the medium I'm using, but it has no message. It is useless by itself. And I don't want that.


    It kinda sounds like you're afraid to shoot because someone might find your photograph limited or boring. OTOH, "this will only excite me" is even more perplexing since it suggests you want to be bored by your own work????? I'm baffled by that statement!
    Nah. Just that wouldn't stop me. It's just that I know, that nobody else, but me is going to find it interesting. If it pleases just me, it's not enough. I want it to please an audience of some kind.


    In any case, making exposures, developing film, and printing as well as you can ought to excite your appreciation for the objects you've created... prints...let alone the personal expression that they may reveal. Just do it! A lot!! Worry about the "value" of what you've created later (or not at all).
    I don't know. Maybe you're right, but it almost sound like you're saying to keep throwing paint on the canvas in the hopes that something worthwhile might come out.

    There's got to be a scale to measure success. If I just shoot for the sake of shooting, how do I know when if/when I'm doing good or bad? How do I know if I succeed or fail?

  10. #10
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    One of my first assignments in high school... photograph a vegetable. I found this dying, wilted head of lettuce in the back of the fridge, and proceeded to shoot an entire roll. I flopped it all over the house, on an outdoor spigot, hanging over a desk lamp, on a paper towel with the rug behind them both. What a study in textures that was!!

    Fun assignment... try it.

    And don't ever let "it's been done before" stop you. After all, it hasn't been done by you. And so what if it only excites you? Do you really believe that you can't make a good photograph of something that excites you? You might find other's share your excitement when you've made a good picture.

    Stop thinking about, and go shoot.

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