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  1. #21
    Bandicoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaygee View Post
    My actual academic background is in archaeology, and I think this has greatly influenced me in all aspects of life.
    My MA is in Archaeology and Anthropology - it seems there are a few of us around here. Certainly I've found both have helped me in what I'd perhaps best term 'insight' in all sorts of fields. (The anthropology was enormously helpful in the days when I worked in The City and as a consultant.) It was in archaeology that I first worked as a photographer, using professionally something that I'd previously just had as an interest. Then I did all sorts of things for years before coming back to full time photography, but I think my academic training was influential in far more than just giving me my first 'paid gig' as a photographer.

    More than that though, I firmly believe that a good academic training (I use the word good advisedly, not all courses of study meet the criterion) is as much about teaching one to think and, particularly, to analyse as it is about teaching the 'subject'. These skills are as helpful to photographers (despite that fact that as a profession they are often almost proudly uneducable) as to any other activity. And, perhaps learning how to think helps with the challenge of learning to see.

    Of course, I grew up with a (musicology) professor for a father, so maybe I'm bound to see the world this way. Certainly the other great influence on my 'eye' was when, as a child, my parents (my mother is a painter) took me to see a lot of art: I remember when not even in my teens defending the validity of 'modern art' - in this context and at that time it would have been abstract expressionism I suppose - to my school friends.

    I do have professional qualifications in photography too, but I've never studied it: my photographic qualifications stem from peer evaluation rather than study and examination. It isn't these that have been helpful in anything other than 'marketing' myself though: it is that childhood and the 'non-photographic' academic study that I think have been most influential.

    Where I would, I think, feel benefit in an academic study of photography would be in talking about other people's work. What I have read and my background in painting helps here, of course, but a formal study of photography would be helpful in that regard. Nonetheless, however much I enjoy looking at and discussing photography, it is doing it - making pictures - that I care about most, and for that, for me, I don't think my own mix of education, formal and informal, could have been very much improved on. As Cate said, it helps one to look inward, and that introspective view can help a lot when one again turns to look outward.

    Interesting thread,



    Peter

    PS,
    Quote Originally Posted by kaygee View Post
    I was always interested in archaeology (when I was 10 I wanted to be Indiana Jones, and while archaeology is of course a lot less adventure in that sort of sense, there is the quest for knowledge that is absolutely true).
    Well, while I was working as an archaeologist I was shot at, hi-jacked, nearly kidnapped, arrested as a spy, drove (accidentally) into a mine field, and had my hotel room raided at dawn by para-military police. I had soldiers come in during dinner and politely ask if we could look after their AK47s for them while they went out to dinner themselves, have checked that the Land Rovers had full tanks before going to sleep with the sound of artillery fire getting close, have stepped away from the window at the sound of small arms fire in the street outside, and have stood on a roof and watched a sky full of tracer.

    I've had film taken out of a country in the diplomatic bag, and dined on Champagne and cheese that came in the same way. I've been the first person to take a vehicle up a particular hill, hidden maps and aerial photo.s before going through a military check-point, shaken my fist at vultures that were circling hopefully overhead as I sat in the desert, and spent a fitful night in a South American brothel after paying extra to have a room without a girl. Once I sawed someone's legs off with a hacksaw - but they had been dead for 2,500 years at the time.

    I've driven a car we had built out of two wrecks that didn't have very good brakes so we fixed some chain with an old Zodiac anchor on the end to the chassis and threw it out when we needed to stop, and I've sat in a 'plane wondering when there might be some announcement about the fact that one of the two engines had stopped.

    I've swum with pelicans fishing all around me, found scorpions in my boots, been to embassy parties and drunk tea in bedouin tents. Oh, and someone once tried to fix me up with a princess.

    All true, and I feel that I've been very, very, lucky. I enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.

    Yes, I do have a much battered old fedora and one of the many nick-names I have sported at various times was 'Indy'. And yes, it is the quest for knowledge that was the best bit, even if all the rest has given me an excellent trove of after-dinner tales to tell for the rest of my life.

    P.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv View Post
    In terms of Alan Moore's production, I think Watchmen is the only real masterpiece he produced, V a close second.
    Tsk. DR & Quinch rules. Plus they let him kill Superman in the 80's before the John Byrne retread of Krypton... and the whole first and second acts of Miracleman (aka Marvelman): brilliant (and much copied since)

    Kimota!

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  3. #23
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    "Life is an excellent teacher, but one must be an excellent student."

    Unfortunately, most people who proudly claim to be self-taught or have been taught by life are very lazy students.

    Vaughn

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv View Post

    I think we're primarily interested in making photography, but I would like to know whether you have any scholarly experience about it, and whether you find it makes any difference in your work. I'm also interested by the point of view of those who are not in the scholarly world, and how they perceive it.
    Answering your question a little more directly this time, I realise that the closest I get to expressing how I draw on past experiences, the love and appreciation of writers, (which has been scholarly work for me at times, but I think prefer it when it is far less formal than that) is in my Blog already - that is a little part of the conscious reflection, as opposed to the almost sub-conscious 'absorption' I was referring to in my earlier post.

    I've done little conscious reflection recently, but am just beginning again, whether I'll pursue it or not I'm not sure, but for those interested in glancing at yet another Blog, rather than repeat any of my musings as an example of how those past studies interests, and loves can be a part of (my) creative process - you are invited to take a look & draw any or none of your own conclusions:

    http://cateblogger.blogspot.com/

  5. #25
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandicoot View Post
    I firmly believe that a good academic training (I use the word good advisedly, not all courses of study meet the criterion) is as much about teaching one to think and, particularly, to analyse as it is about teaching the 'subject'.
    One of our college lecturers used to say that it was more important to know where or how to look for the answer to a problem than to actually know it.

    One of the few things I remember from about 25 years ago!


    Steve.

  6. #26
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke View Post
    Tsk. DR & Quinch rules. Plus they let him kill Superman in the 80's before the John Byrne retread of Krypton... and the whole first and second acts of Miracleman (aka Marvelman): brilliant (and much copied since)

    Kimota!
    I'll be looking for a copy in my pigeonhole. Will I?
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  7. #27
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    One of our college lecturers used to say that it was more important to know where or how to look for the answer to a problem than to actually know it.
    That's also been my experience: over the course of my MA I figured out I could be an "expert" about pretty much every topic within a week. Just joking, of course, but I mean that once you know how to look for information, your knowledge can take a great leap forward.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv View Post
    ... once you know how to look for information, your knowledge can take a great leap forward.
    The basis, in fact, of journalism.

  9. #29
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    The basis, in fact, of journalism.
    True, but you do it in a different manner between journalism and academia.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv View Post
    True, but you do it in a different manner between journalism and academia.
    Not necessarily, or at least, not always. Footnoting is the main difference, and I have long thought that many academics use footnotes because they are expected to, not because it makes an iota of difference to their argument; again, Eco provides a wonderful example of how much (and how little) to use footnotes. A scientific paper where you are building on the work of others is very different from (let us say) art history or philosophy or even sociology.

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