The Photographer’s First Challenge
I saw this billboard outside our hotel in Tashkent. It reminded me of our digital lab at Holyoke Community College. The good news is that our digital photo lab is running with the fewest problems of its short history.
My students are the best part of the new semester. I am teaching two small Digital Fine Art classes and a huge Basic Photography class. Students love working with classic black and white film. The joy of seeing one’s picture appearing on the surface of a previously white piece of paper still cannot be matched. Well, actually, iPhones are amazing too.
I’m sure my digital/film students will rise to the challenge of making fresh pictures in a world where millions of pictures are made every day.
There is a good reason to pick up a camera and point it at the world. We do it to as a response to all that is happening around us and inside us. A photograph is a personal gesture that tells others about our world view. A photograph is the dance of light and shadow frozen in time and space. I don’t think any other art can stop the world so we can contemplate it for as long as our heart desires.
The photographer’s first challenge is to find the light.
Of course, photography isn’t just about sunlight and windows.
A rainy day is a great time to make pictures. Both light and shadow are soft and beautiful. If you like people pictures, soft light is often the best. It’s true for landscapes too.
Our first assignment in Basic Photography is to photograph light, form and texture. Once you find the right light, form and texture usually takes care of itself. Well, you do have to have interesting forms. Fortunately, the world is full of them.