View Poll Results: are you self taught or not?
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Both. When I caught the bug in the mid 80s I read every book I could find on the subject. A year or two later I had a year of photography and darkroom classes at the university, just enough to cover the basics. It's by reading this forum that I'm discovering how much I don't know about the subject.
Right now in Spain they're holding the Running of the Bulls,
followed by the Soiling of the Pants, and the Burying of the Idiots.
Got a BFA, in Photography from The George Washington University. It was a great experience, both technically and aesthetically. The other art classes the degree required expanded my compositional and color skills, too. Those days were waaaay before the internet, and the hours spent in the photo department, drinking coffee, and hanging out with others sharing the interest were also positive. In fact, I find the APUG experience to be very similar to those coffee days...
I got hooked when I did a "shutterbug" week at Girl Scout camp at about age 12 - that was the first time I developed film and saw a print show up in the developer. I took photography for my art classes in 9th grade and 12th, then for my art requirement freshman year of college ('86-'87). Nothing until about '98 when I started taking darkroom classes at the Danforth Museum School in Framingham, MA. Once I built my own darkroom in '03, I didn't take any more classes except one continuing ed one at RISD in '07. I think I had enough different instructors that I took little pieces from each. I've definitely learned a ton from shooting with other APUGgers and seeing what's posted here and at sites like LFPF and some others.
Having my own darkroom and being armed with the basics is what really let me learn the most, I think. I could work on my own and get results which taught me how to get better ones. I'm still learning...
I have an MFA in Fine Arts, not Photography. However, my "Art" is Photography.
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I've learnt far more noodling about on photographic work/projects/experiments/other people's collaborative projects than I did at uni - but at the very least it got me started and youthfully confident in things...
Started when I was a kid - books plus trial and error, mostly error, still.
Are you self taught or did you formal training?
I'm self taught completely (and I mean no formal school training).
At 12 I asked my Dad to show me how to use this camera I found in the attic.
He took me to the zoo, I was having trouble shooting the lion because I didn't like the fence in the way and wanted to just see the lion. So my dad was a physicist so he explained it to me in his way, bending light around the fence so you couldn't see it (fully open aperture) and I was fascinated with how I could make the fence so blurry you couldn't see it.
Anyway I got the camera for Christmas and the rest is history, I really only had that one time, the rest I learned myself, about 3 years ago I assisted a fashion photographer once, and then again last year twice, and that's it, but that first time got me hooked on the lighting and I saw his technique and took it from there, I'm now doing fashion and lighting shots which I didn't do before.
My high school was a college prep school so no photography classes at all, so sad really, I wonder if I would have chosen to go to college for photography instead of not going because I didn't know what I wanted to do at the time, if I had had a formal class, I think that would have certainly motivated me and given more momentum.
I've been thinking lately it's time to take some classes on specifically photoshop and Lightroom a I'm mostly fumbling around in the dark with those programs...yes it's a FILM forum, but it's part of my story don't get mad.
Anyway that and I want to have access to resources that colleges provide. Contacts in the photo world so I can get my Kodachrome book published and such, things I can't do on my own, I need guidance. I never saw the value in a formal education until now, I wasn't ready, now that I am, I fear it's too late...
The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic
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Forgot to mention... I also taught myself to play guitar, banjo, ukulele and mandolin. As you can probably tell, I don't like other people telling me what I should do!
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
I put yes and no. I've never had any real training other than in 6th grade with a very basic class in school. They taught us that this is a camera, this is film, and here is how we develop it. But I have read a large amount about photography, including Ansel Adams, Scott Kelby, and so many others.
Sometimes, self directed learning is far more potent than formalized structured environments. The structure often shorts those who are either behind or ahead. With self teaching you go at your pace, and can learn in areas where you are weak.