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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Important Things I Learned in Photography

Earlier this week I ordered the books for the next three classes I will soon begin taking. I found myself STILL irritated and bitter about last semester’s photography class. I don’t much care for being irritated and bitter. So I sought to change my attitude.

I imagine that the wise people responsible for selecting the required classes for various majors strive to make sure that upon graduating a 20 something student will be a well rounded person. But perhaps if you are a 44 year old student who has been blessed enough to travel the world and experience many cultures you might sometimes feel like “THIS CLASS IS A WASTE OF TIME.”

I HATE wasting time. Hate it. 

Van gogh 099

Upon entering (old school) Photography 101 I was already biased. I KNEW I would not be giving up my beloved digital Canon. But the class was a box I needed to check off so that I can one day cross the graduation podium.  Determined to receive an “A” in class I paid attention as I was instructed to “bend the end of the film so it would load more easily”.

Van gogh 101

As well as a million other tips and tricks about perfect lighting, shutter exposure, timing and the chemistry of chemicals.

Van gogh 102

For everything I learned I walked out of the class with an “A” thinking “Yet another subject I now know all about that is pretty much useless.”  It would seem that knowledge is not always power.

Yet upon reflection  I saw that I had missed a few really big lessons.

Such as:

There are times you may do everything right and still your pictures will be deemed a failure.

Sounds a lot like life.

While the picture below was harshly critiqued I looked at it again and was reminded of the day I sat my trusting dog on top of the doll house and told him to “Look at me” then “Look at the window” and he did.

So because true artwork should have a title…

“Love and Loyalty Lives On/In This House.”


During the class I tried using my grandfather’s WWII era camera for one of the assignments and somehow could never get the settings right.

This was another image I was raked over the coals for because of the light exposure and blurry subject matter.

However in this artwork I see the other dog who is ALWAYS so happy to see me his entire body shakes. My face always ends up beaming with a smile when I see this.

Beauty does indeed lie in the eye of the beholder.

“Beam Me Up Franzie”


Then there was the landscape assignment fail.

Hmmm. I want a second opinion in the month of October when I plan on making this photo part of my Halloween display.

Sometimes we have to wait for the right time.

“A Watcher in the Woods”


Photography as an art form is judged by using the “Elements and Principles of Design”. As an interior designer I refer to the elements and principles all the time in my efforts to create good work. 

The image below was voted “average”.

Now overall I am fairly meek when it comes to questioning authority. But somehow my hackles were raised. It might have been the subject matter. Most mothers would take a bit of offense if their kid was referred to as “average”. :)

I argued that the element of “Line” was used brilliantly. From the angle of his cap mimicking in reverse the planes wing to the stripes of his jacket traveling the same path as the riveting both produced excellent form. I also argued that the principle of “Repetition” was spot on and interesting due to the variations.

Guess what? The class agreed with my assessment. It was then deemed an A++++ photo.

Sometimes you have to speak up for what you believe in.

“My Star, Wearing Stripes Forever”


But I also learned that even if you try to transform something ugly by changing its appearance, there are times it’s still ugly.

“Cactus in Sepia Tone”


Life is full of black, white and grey areas.

“Study on Exposure”


It is up to us to find the perfect balance to create something of lasting beauty.


“Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.” ~ Psalm 4:6



Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

What a wonderful post, with an uplifting message too!
Laura you are brilliant my dear.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Beautiful pictures and message. You are such a special person. Hugs, Marty

Linda said...

I love this post and I love your photos, especially the one of the trees!!!

I've said this so many times over the years to my daughter that - ART is just that - subjective to whoever is looking at it. Everyone (yes, even the so-called-experts) have their own taste which is why not everyone is going to like the same photo, or the same painting, or the same decorating style.... etc. That's just how it is. I know there are people who read my column who love it and those those loathe it. Nothing I can do to change that. That's why we have to just be entirely secure in who we are and if it's good enough for us, then so be it.

Love and blessings to you and yours,

Connie said...

Well, having lived in deserts most of my life, it is truly hard to find "beautiful" subject matter. But then, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. We've lived in Yuma, 29 Palms twice and now the desert of Idaho. Yes, Idaho is mostly desert except up north. But all-in-all, I'd rather live here than any place else in the world.

Your photos are all exquisite, sugar! You instructor must be a jerk. ;-)


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Beautiful photos and beautiful post!!!

Karen Albert said...

Laura I am so proud that you keep learning and pushing your limits! Bravo and keep speaking up!!

Feature: Designer Barry Dixon

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

Well done, and well said.

Heather{Our Life In a Click} said...

Such great photos! Good for you, learning a lesson from all of it too!

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

I am pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to make my photos look good. I can only say Thank God for digital photography- I can't imagine how much film I would be wasting.

Auntie Em said...

The photo of Sweet Boy is so lovely! Never let anyone else critique your work as 'average' since they only see what was exactly in front of the lens at the time and not what was just beyond the lens or directly behind it. Technical merit is one thing but it never triumphs over the story behind that moment to a real photographer.
Lets hope you get a better professor next term! :)

GSGreatEscaper said...

Three months of a class turns no one into Ansel Adams; not even Ansel Adams himself learned to be a photographer in three months. As teachers, we need to remember that it's a process, especially in "subjective subjects" such as photography. OTOH, if it's an English or History or Biology class where what you need to do and learn is defined, then you better do it.

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

photography is an art. So is poetry. I don't think either one should be given definite lines as to what is the best or worst or anything in between - it's all in they eye and ear of the beholder or listener. And you can't expect everyone to see the same things or hear the same things. Art speaks to everyone in a different way!