I got my first camera in 8th grade, took my first class in 10th - an after school TAG (talented and gifted program) class through the Portland Art Museum school (now the Pacific NW College of Art). Then I took 2 years in high school. In college, I again took a semester or two. So I learned most of it through those classes (not that I know much...), reading a couple books the past two years to refresh my memory when I decided to get back into, and now I am learning a lot from you nice people here.
My first professional training was while I was in the Navy. I then hung out at the base darkroom and learned all I could from the pro. who ran the base darkroom. When I left the Navy I got to know the local industrial photographer, who answered all my questions. The most important piece of information he gave me was [I]that the camera did nothing more then hold the film flat, while the shutter regulated the amount of light hitting the film. It was the photographer that made the difference between a good photo and a snap shot.
Back in my Army days, I used the darkroom facilities at the base hobby shop.
Originally Posted by rjs003
My personal preference is 6-8 week college courses over 1-2-even 5 day workshops. This allows you breathing time in a structured course. I’ve been to workshops where equipment failed or people didn’t understand. The compressed schedule time got eaten up. The result was disappointing.
With a larger time frame the level of complexity can build, new techniques can be practiced and I have the sense of accomplishing more. Of course it is a personal decision often guided by other factors in our lives.
I’m 64, retired a couple of years. I’ve taken six local college photo courses, gone to three workshops, built a darkroom, and worked with 35mm, 6x7cm, 4x5” and am starting to use an 8x10 for platinum printing.
In a 4x5 course we started with the mechanical basics using school provided gear and had increasingly more difficult commercial style assignments every week. Every weekend we could come in and work with the gear to experiment or catch up, which ever was needed.
In the fine arts classes we have to put ten show quality, 11x14” B&W prints up on the board for critique every two weeks. We create the theme idea, improve our technique in the darkroom, endure and grow from the criticism. We work toward a goal of a single subject, twenty matted picture show at the end of the term. I like the deadlines because they push me to give it my full attention.
At 64 it feels very fresh working with 20 year olds. Some times I have to cheat. The other day a pretty 20 year old was falling asleep in the chair beside me in our 6-9 PM class. She groaned and said “how do you keep up at your age”. I laughed and told her “naps”.
2 years in high school, 7 semesters in college ( designed 2 semesters myself as "directed studies" ... i was a photo "minor" in the pre-architectural studies program).
after college, i assisted and did lab-work for local professionals and then started shooting on my own.
didn't get a graduate degree in photography, but in preservation planning, and use that, my architecture background and photography skills to try to eek out a living doing documentary photography. luckily my wife gets health insurance where she works.
NESOP and the art institute of boston offer really good photography degrees, and they are usually taught by adjunct professors who actually shoot for a living (when not teaching).
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Entirely self-taught from day one. That's how I learn best.
Of course, since I do workshops, I'm glad for those who learn best that way! .
I got sucked into I.T. and started job hopping to travel some, first went to Colorado, then landed a gig in NZ. After just a few weeks in NZ I felt like I had come home, and the thought of leaving this amazing place has not crossed my mind since. It's tough being far away from family and friends back home but you just have to weigh up the pros and cons and go with what feels right..
Self-taught for the most part. Photo magazines and Kodak publications back in the '60's were major sources. Trial and error (mostly error) was (is??) my principle method.
One week formal training, U.S. Navy Submarine Surveillance Photography course. Before that;
Parents who were amateur photographers - learned any room could become a darkroom. Dad processed B&W film/paper in the kitchen on the farm. We did the same thing on the submarine. Home-grown water in both places.
Photography merit badge in Boy Scouts.
Self-taught the rest of the way. Today, my darkroom is about the same size as that tight little pantry on the submarine.
I earned a BFA in photography from the University of Kentucky a couple years ago. Now I am working on my MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. It's okay. The worst part is the paper mill nearby. It reeks. They didn't put that in the brochure.
I learned studio lighting and how to print other people's negatives by working for a photographer in Lexington, KY by the name of Tim Walden. He's big in the PPA and ASP portrait circles, apparently. I had never heard of him before I applied for a job in his studio. He's friends with Brooks and told me the quality of the classes there has declined over the last few years.
College courses can be fine, but they tend to be mostly post-modern in their art theory. I am not.