Of course APUG is technically a camera "club." but one that has a different suite of functions than those of a PSA-mandated club. Sociologically, still a club.
The greatest danger of clubs is a consensual banality, a sorry sideeffect of groupthink that often comes from a desire for egalitarian "niceness." When demanding criticism is mistaken for persoanl attacks (or vice versa), then the party's over. But better that than a replacement of challenging thought with comforting hugs all 'round.
Has anyone read Michael Jang's web journal about how not to take a workshop in Cuba?
As for the question of "vision" as a teachable characteristic -- it can be deeply influenced by a teacher (or multiple teachers). Does this mean it was "taught"? Not if you feel that the teacher has placed 100% of that "vision" into the student's head. But can a first-rate teacher touch the student's eyes with a magic wand called "knowing what to look for"? Absolutely. In this way, their vision has indeed been taught.
(Besides, I have to tell myself this to justify the years of student loans from a first-rate art school, heh)
Minor White and Vision
Recently, as a side effect of "curating" a gallery, I came in contact with a fascination person... exhibiting exquisite "Turned Wooden Bowls" with the Oil Paintings, - etc, of his wife. Small talk (ugh! - I am NOT good at small talk) ensued, and after I let him know that I was involved with photography, he told me that he had studied photography with Minor White at RIT - not boastfully; "I", but as an adjunct to his "Design" major. Six degrees of separation ..
This GENTLEMAN, let me borrow "Minor White - Rites and Passages", published by Aperture in 1978. What a marvelous "read"!!
Minor White was, indeed, FASCINATING: 1959; "... First full-time resident workshop (at California School of Fine Arts),: Introduces hypnosis techniques into concentration readings of reading photographs."
White had many innovative techniques .. I haven't completely read this, yet - it will take - DESERVES - some additional reading and re-reading ... but I am nearly blown away by some of Minor White's philosophies and PHOTOGRAPHS.... the one described as "Twisted Tree - Point Lobos, California" on page 33, has entranced me -
Bear with me - this is a long quote ...but I'll leave it to the readers here to determine its' worth:
"At the start of each class, when White told them to relax, to sit there with their eyes shut and their hands on their knees and relax, most of them could not begin to imagine --- what with the writing arm of the desk around their waists, never mind the (image of) the nurse --- what in the world they were being asked to do. When they opened their eyes, they would be looking at a photograph, and White would tell them to look at it until they saw it. A long silence would follow. They were looking at work that was properly printed and mounted, that much everyone saw, and the same standards applied to all aspects of the craft - even those who could not stand the long silences found themselves sitting still for him in one way or another. Finally someone would say, Well? And Jerry Uelsmann --- who went on to become nearly as well known a photographer as White, hardly your ordinary institute of technology student --- was in one of those classes, and even he, according to Bunnell, fought White every step of the way, at least at first. Well what? Uelsmann would say. What do you feel? White would say--- It's a picture of snow-- do you feel cold? And Uelsmann would say, No. Am I supposed to? And White would say, Let's not talk about what you are supposed to feel, let's talk about what you feel. When the bell rang and the students were asked to remember exactly where they were so that they could pick up there several days later, some of them, after a while, found this suggestion to be not as crazy as it sounded."
Something to think about in my own work: The difference between what I want to do, in my own heart, and what others try to impress upon me as what I am supposed to do. Not that "the others" are especially successful - I don't think they are - but I will expend additional energy and consciousness to insure that their influence is not the major factor "driving" me...
Fascinating book. The Lender told me that, "There is information in that book about Minor White that I would rather have NOT known. "Weird" guy, in a number of ways --- but being "weird" is probably a very desirable label in this game.
More to follow -
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Good book, but Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations is a lot better. Deeper, and many more fine photographs. It's hard to find, but unquestionably Minor White's published masterpiece.