Thursday, January 04, 2007

Introduction to photography

I watched a show on PBS last night about photographer.ANNIE LEIBOVITZ I didn't really know much about her except for what was in Time Magazine last summer, I think it was Time anyway. It just goes to show how out of touch I can be. I used to read Rolling Stone from time to time however. I thought her story was interesting, as she went to school to study painting and ended up doing photography. The program made me think about my own education.

My photography professor was one of the reasons I didn't go into teaching as he was also head of the education department at that time. I think he just taught photography on the side. I don't know what his problem was, but he was less than motivational. I got the impression he hated teaching photography, hated students and hated his job and perhaps himself. He was the kind of person who liked to humiliate students in front of everyone. Just a nasty person.

I ran into problems on the first roll of film I shot. The professor had briefly and sarcasticlly gone over how to load the film tank develop and fix the film and then make a contact sheet. For the next class you had to have done all of that and would be graded. After several days of shooting, my film did not clear when I took it out of the tank to look at it. I had no time to shoot another roll before the class. The only thing that saved me was a call to one of the other guys in the class who had his own darkroom. He saved my butt. We fixed the film again and it cleared. So in that way I avoided public humiliation from the instructor and it saved my grade. I've always remembered that guy's act of kindness.

I did learn to develop and print black and white film and did learn camera basics in that class, but there was nothing beyond that. After that introduction, I had no intention of taking any more photography classes. I continued to pay for access to the darkroom though.

My graduation present from college was a Canon SLR. I borrowed my mom's camera for the class. I never go anywhere without a camera now.


Anonymous said...

I took a couple photography classes in high school, and really enjoyed working in the darkroom. Actually, I think I enjoyed film developing more than print developing. There's something a little more magical about developing film.

When I was in college I noticed that students would tend to help each other out more when faced by a particularly mean professor, like your photography prof. Sometimes it was as simple as getting together for coffee and agreeing that everyone else was having a hard time in Prof. X's class, other times it was getting the entire class to play hooky on the prof (yes, this happened more than once during my college career. Did it help? I don't know but I still have my sanity.).

I still have trouble understanding some camera basics, like f-stop stuff and how to change exposure time to create some neat effects. But most film cameras now aren't "fully manual", so I guess that's OK.

Anonymous said...

So Annie gets John and Yoko and you get Miss November and Miss December. So far as I can tell, the only difference between Liebovitz and "Treebovitz" is the subject manner. Keep snapping thos pics Don!

don said...

We have a darkroom at work but now I only use my digital cameras. One of them works just like a regluar film SLR camera with all auto and manual modes. The great thing is that you can change the "film" speed. It's awesome.

It was kind of fun in the darkroom but took all night just to get a couple of prints.

I learned from the TV show, that the photo of John and Yoko on the website where he is curled up nude was taken just hours before his death.

Anonymous said...

Annie Leibovitz did Vogue's Angelina Jolie photo shoot. She does good work, especially with the diversity of the shoot. ("Mad Maxine" to "airport office secretary" to "live figurehead on plane")