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  1. #1

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    Keeping the craft of traditional photography in the classroom

    APU's, I am a new member. I am writing a paper on why the craft of traditional photography should be taught in the art curriculum and kept in our creative classrooms. I am a pinhole photographer, trained in contemporary practices but found my way to medium and large format film working early on. I make my own cameras, obviously, shooting on paper and film and have taught my art pupils this process. Your thoughts on the craft of photography and the importance of it today and why it should be taught would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    I realy se no reason other than nostalgics and appreciating the evolution of photography,which provides a deepr understandingof the craft. we often pay too much attention on the craft and forget the art. I'd rather add Susan Sonntag to the cirriculum as mandatory reading.She understood the purpose of photography and its impact on society like no other.search for Susan Sonntag'on phothagraphy;she had a way with words,demanding a more mature audience.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  3. #3
    eddie's Avatar
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    I taught high school photography, back in the pre-digital days. Their photo interest led a few of my students to an interest in science. At least one (that I know of) went on to major in chemistry, in college, and attributed his interest to the photo course.

  4. #4

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    A sound understanding of photographic history goes hand in hand with an understanding of the technology and processes through which images, both photographic and otherwise, were created. It is about understanding the tools that were available to photographers and artists to express their art, the inherent possibilities and limitations included. It would be incomplete without some first hand experience of silver-based and alternative processes, and the experience thereof will inevitably lead to other avenues for some of the students (of course not all).

    In addition, there is great value in forcing a student to see, and express, within the confines of analogue processes. It takes away the immediacy of digital feedback, and forces a slower, more selective and deliberate process. I have heard from countless dual platform photographers how film encourages the acquisition and maintenance of good habits, that in turn then improve their discipline and results when using digital. Of course this is not universally true, and some digital-only photographers have more discipline than some film photographers.

    At least one reason for encouraging analogue processes is the inherent beauty they are capable of. While it seems perfectly logical that digital processes will eventually surpass all analogue ones in terms of hard numbers, it takes nothing away from what can be done with the analogue processes, and does not diminish their contribution for the past two centuries. At present, it is still significantly expensive and time-consuming to produce results that are on par with analogue prints. What is more, the value of hand-crafted printed images will not diminish in the sea of electronically produced and displayed imagery. Just as hand-woven, hand-knitted, hand-carved, hand-painted etc. retain their value amidst machine driven processes that dominate the mass markets.

    When encouraging analogue photography to be taught, you contribute to the demand for the materials, thereby helping to keep the remaining suppliers afloat, and helping all of us in doing so.

  5. #5

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    Thank you Ralph, I prefer Barthes to Sontag - but more writing on photography on the art curriculum would be fantastic.

  6. #6

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    Thank you Eddie that's a valuable cross curricular link, I appreciate it.

  7. #7
    yurisrey's Avatar
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    It allows for the student to understand the newer forms of image acquisition better. By learning the art and craft of traditional photography the student is exposed to the lexicon used within practitioners of the trade via a hands-on approach.
    "The real work was thinking, just thinking." - Charles Chaplin

  8. #8
    Jaf-Photo's Avatar
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    Two reasons:

    (1) Learning the photochemical process will deepen your understanding of light and exposure. This will carry over into other disciplines, and will even improve digital photography skills.

    (2) Analogue photography will encourage you to take more care and put more thought into every image. Thiswill make you reflect more on why you take a particular image and focus on composition, which will carry over into other disciplines.

    I also find that anologue images can have a greater emotional impact, both on the photographer and the viewer.

  9. #9

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    Thank you Dorff.
    I agree with much of what you have written about getting pupils to slow down and be more deliberate in the way they see, capture and print their results. There is nothing more beautiful than a hand crafted analogue print - I totally agree with you there. While we live in exciting times with changing technology on a daily basis - I wonder about the effect on society of citizens who only see what's on the surface and don't look for the marks or signs of the maker. I really do think photography courses should start with analogue techniques before moving on to digital imaging. I have heard non specialist photography teachers say if the exam board don't expect to see it - why teach it? Maybe that's the difference between teaching photography and teaching digital imaging?

  10. #10

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    Thank you yurisrey, 'the art and craft of photography' and a 'hands on approach' are high on my agenda of teaching practice.

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