It is my belief that once a certain level of technical competence has been reached, the development of one's own photographic vision is a personal journey that no one else can direct. A teacher can only reinforce the traditional "rules" of composition or influence a learner towards their own (the teacher's) vision or "eye" and therefore away from developing the student's own unique style. The only thing anyone can do is be supportive and encouraging.
After a given number of years of practice, a photographer with no teaching or training will likely be more successful at realizing their own personal potential than a photographer who is being directed by a teacher for the same number of years. The best a student can do is to imitate their teacher. A teacher cannot teach someone else what their (the student's) unique vision is.
IMO you either have it or you don't. If you do have it, you will see the pictures irrespective of the rules of composition and what are rules for ? To be broken of course !
That is what makes it easier for some than others to produce great images. You can learn a lot however by looking at others' images. I do not consider myself to have it and I am continually amazed at how simply found some images are.
Cogito, ergo sum.
You raise an interesting question. I think that it is important to clarify the distinction between vision and composition. Many people confuse these two terms and often use them interchangeably.
Compositional rules can be taught to a certain point. However that point is limited to what we know about composition now. Hopefully we, as an evolving species, are continually unfolding and in that unfolding we are learning and relearning anew.
Now on to the matter of vision. No I don't believe that vision can be taught because that is a personal matter. That, I think, is where a lot of photographers get "hung up". It is due to the confusion that exists between the terms vision and composition that many photographers emulate those who have went before in the belief that they are making "good" photographs.
Sadly, while those photographs may be technically sound, they are often utterly empty of any emotional content. Therefore, I think that the matter of vision is up to the photographer to discover for oneself. That can only be determined through self searching, listening to the inner self...being "true to oneself" in the end. This, for the really "good" photographers, many times involves a period of struggle. This is true of all artists in my opinion.
Originally Posted by roy
I firmly believe that *all* of us have that vision - it is part of our "human-ness".. It manifests itself in "what we like and dislike"; what fascinates us - what entrances, enraptures.
To me, it is not something that can be taught - or has to be taught - it is THERE!
We CAN help it along ... the keys here are displaying the freedom inherent in all of us ... and to a great extent, removing the mummy-wraps of convention and what we are "supposed" to like - the superimpostion of other's visions to dominate - and necessarily corrupt - ours.
Then we can put our visions to use. Difficult? Not really ... It is far easier to do that than struggling to conform.
Man's (and women's ) "innards" are *beautiful* - that *vision* is what separates us from the beasts of the jungle.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Vision cannot be taught, it can be learned.
For the photographer it is a matter learning the science of photography and applying it to peel away the layers of infulance that has been taught.
Remember the story of Michangelo... When asked how he could carve such beautiful angles from a block of marble, he replied ...simple, just us a hammer and chesil and chip away at everything that's not an angle.
Just keep chipping and your vision will come forth. Your hammer and chisels are the laws of optics, chemistry, math and, oh yes, time and temperature.
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I firmly believe that *all* of us have that vision
To me, it is not something that can be taught
I think that is what I was trying to say. I often see photographs of scenes or subjects that I would pass by. It is the limit set by individual characteristics that determines how we see things. We can educate ourselves to see differently to an extent but our individualities remain. That of course, is one of the failings of the judging system.
Good teaching leads to enjoyment which in its turn will lead to your own style or vision.
Remember the story of Michangelo... When asked how he could carve such beautiful angles from a block of marble, he replied ...simple, just us a hammer and chesil and chip away at everything that's not an angle.....[/quote]
My favorite Michealangelo quote was in reply to the question, "What is art?"
His reply - as a sculptor - was, "If you can roll it down a hill without anything breaking off - it is art."
Ed Sukach, FFP.
I agree with Don and most others. Vision is something you have or don't have. It cannot be taught. It can be learned however, as a function of your life experiences. (I see Bruce already said that--I didn't realize it.)
What can be taught is "seeing photographically." I have successfully taught that hundreds of times.
That is not the same thing as "composition," about which, by the way, there are no rules. None at all. No rules to follow, no rules to break.
Weston said, "Composition is the strongest way of seeing." That has nothing to do with rules.
Michael A. Smith
Yes! Vision is simply a summery of experiances. A willingness to re-think, re-draw, re-do then respond on a new day. We all have a switch in our brains that with a little training and discipline though unpredictable is accessable. I've known people who have spent a lifetime learning their craft then never giving themselves the freedom to use it. I don't know if it's fear or laziness not to persue the seed of idea thru it's germination to the fruit. Calling it vision does not give credit to the foundational work and experiance that goes into an idea. This work towards the vision may take months even years that culminates with the push of a button, but because of that work our brain is unbconsciously guiding us to the moment. The believe in some "Vision" is the way people justified things they did'nt understand during the middle ages. Today we Know that we all have the faculties and the tecknology to accomplish our concepts (visions) so every night look for the switch inside your brain and turn it on before you sleep.