AMEN. There's a lot you can teach yourself, but it is entirely possible to give yourself bad habits without knowing it, and never realize why you're not getting the results you want. With a good teacher, they'll give you the good habits, and let you know what you might get otherwise so you can choose to deviate if you desire.
Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh
And yet a good teacher can make you a clone of himself.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
I studied portrait photography with some of the best commercial portrait photographers in the world. After years of that indoctrination I found it almost impossible to break free.
There is something in people that forms their brains when "trained" by other people. It's not much different than religious or political indoctrination.
In fact you become a member of the "cult or xxxxxx".
Some of the highest acclaimed artists just "did it" on their own and were unique and groundbreaking. Although most had mental problems as well.
The choices seem to be savant or clone, and a lot more of us are clones with a very small deviation from the fold.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
I disagree, a truly good teacher will give you the tools you need to strike out on your own, and then demand you do so.
Originally Posted by blansky
As a lecturer/teacher (and I know there are other lecturer/teachers who contribute to APUG) can I just say a few words about photographic education? A few of us once discussed what makes a good lecturer/teacher and the general consensus was the ability to communicate and a passion for the subject. I have a passion for the subject, but my ability to communicate varies on a daily basis. Also, just like the rest of the population we have a limited knowledge about any particular subject and we each have different strengths and weaknesses. However, I would hope what we don’t do is talk bullshit. I think our main objective is to make students make independent creative leaps, not indoctrination.
Originally Posted by blansky
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
But they aren't trying to indoctrinate you. You will often have so much respect and admiration for them and their work that you will emulate them by osmosis. And after a certain amount of time you become a clone even though they keep telling you to be yourself.
And why would you want to learn from someone you didn't want to emulate. Remember most people are quite young and impressionable when they learn this stuff.
I honestly don't know about a learning institution, because I learned by being a self employed photographer learning from other professional photographers who taught week long workshops and seminars, so I'm not really sure how much teachers at schools are respected but the best photographers in the country/world are definitely emulated by people they teach.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
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I can share what I've experienced so far...I started out with digital (Canon EOS 400D with a kit lens 18-55), which I ditched after 8 months for a Nikkormat EL with a Hansa 28mm f2.8 lens which is a film camera.
Though I am considering to equip myself in the near future with a Nikon D5100 Digital camera with a decent 50mm and/or 35mm lenses, Ive already seen on myself how digital photography makes me rush into everything without putting things to consideration or proper thinking/planning.
Dont get me wrong I like the way, the easy and cheap way of digital darkroom and processing (developing) on the Mac with Lightroom 4 and/or some Photoshop if necessary , even some great effects like Alien Skin or Nik (i really try not to alter my images as much as possible though its very hard sometimes).
My only concern with digital that I can shoot some pictures maybe even some good ones just point and shoot without really understanding the howto of photography and composition , no need to worry for the cost so i can shoot even 600 frames in an afternoon and later on ditch 590 from it , and maybe thats why i dont feel it quiet proper to start on digital.
Its true its great to demonstrate , illustrate and explain with digital but I think for someone trying to learn photography and getting a bond with his/her equipment an analog film camera can be a better choice to start.
Analog forces you to think , plan and to know what it is what you are doing and why, to know the impact of every single touch you make on your device how it can and will alter your image and composition.It gives you a slowed down connection with your camera , relying on your knowledge, and understanding of film, light , composition, angle, and subject. It makes you choose wise, developing ,maybe a much better photographic eye at the beginning of a learning process, at least thats how i see it.
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why is it that people are so extreme ?
it is as if they are forced to spray and pray with a digital camera
and be thoughtful with a film camera ... i don't get it.
i have been using a digital camera since the 1990s and i shoot it just like i do film.
im not thoughtful or slow with film ... i shoot from gut instinct, not like i am "hunting for a shot"
i know what you mean michael
it is easy to want to emulate the people you respect ..
there are thousands of photographers who look for "st ansel's " tripod holes
and for the street corners that guy in the 1960 + 70s photographed in new mexico ...
its human nature
Finally, someone gets the point. And it's true, you don't have to shoot 600 frames and ditch 590 with digital, but you can. Without any "consequenses". You might not be thoughtfull or slow with film, but it's rather disapointing to spend 20 rolls of film and throw away 19. You want to make every shot count, or at least have a purpose.
Originally Posted by viktormadarasz
And a good teacher makes a big difference, but in the end you're the one who has to do it.
I do like a few teaching tips I've read in this thread: train manual with a digital camera with limited film storage. (Witch is basically the same as using an analogue without automated help.) and hunting for the alphabet to give you a different point of view.
I know there are many ways to learn photography and I've learned quite a few different approaches with this thread. I'm not a professional photographer and I didn't have specific photographic teaching before. Just basic composition knowledge from watching art, paintings, sculptures, buildings, nature. I did a couple of art classes, when I was a teenager. When I was a kid I went to museums with the eyes of a composer. Why did the painter use these colours? Why did he put the subject in that position?
From my point of view "all" I had to learn is how a camera works. In school I learned how the human eye works. The teacher had a large format camera to show in class what a camera does. I had the opportunity after class to learn the basics of 35mm film. From choice of film to printing. Thats when I got my first 35mm camera.
With my first digital I got the chance to experiment without having to buy film. I could point and shoot, delete pictures and carry on. The knowledge of what a camera actually does and how it can be manipulated to do what I want, helped me in the learning process. I wasn't a chimp with a typewriter. I was a chimp that could read and had a computer with spell checker.
What puzzles me on this thread is that digital is promoted to learn. I get the chimping prosess and I know it's faster to see the end result right after you take the shot. I was thinking that on APUG I would have more people agreeing with my point of view. Apparantly basic knowledge of how a camera works isn't nessesairy.
Well, to me way too much emphasis is put on the camera in the way you reason. To me the camera is the very least important piece of the entire puzzle.
The only thing that matters is to learn how to work your tools, whatever they are, so that you can benefit from them the most. Photography is a bit technical I admit, but I've known photography artists that know absolutely nothing about f-stops, shutter speeds, darkroom chemicals, lens qualities, film types, etc, and still produce stunning prints in the darkroom or their 'not so dark' photo finishing area. The true art of photography is learning how to translate what your brain registers and feels, or want to convey, into the photograph. Why should the tools matter? If shooting 600 frames in an outing with a digital camera helps you convey what you want, what difference does it make? If being economical with film is a virtue of yours, why is that important to the photograph? Well, to me it isn't, and different people learn in different ways. Some get it immediately, and others are slower or need alternate explanations. That's why I said that teaching a photography student how to see is paramount. The mechanics can always be learned, but seeing is really difficult.
All ways that lead to good art are good in my book.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
what puzzles me is that you point of view is so narrow
in thinking that it is only possible to learn photography with
a film based camera. photography is about seeing, not the equipment used
to make the image. yeah, i know this is apug, and there are lots of filmies here
but suggesting that one can't learn from using a digital camera kind of funny.
it is like suggesting that one can't learn photography using a high end film camera that has
automatic or priority modes, or a point and shoot camera, or box camera or anything else.
they are just boxes with a shutter and something light sensitive. they have nothing to do with learning photography.
being open to observation, and compassion / understanding of one's subject is what photography is about, not
the equipment used to make the photograph. here and everywhere else on the internet, at camera clubs, cafés
galleries &c too much emphasis is put on the mechanics not on the person behind the camera or the final image.
learning is just learning. chimping for some, thoughtfulness for others ... does it really matter?
Last edited by jnanian; 06-07-2012 at 08:32 AM. Click to view previous post history.