Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

So, Peter's started a new photography endeavour - two-day digital photography workshops in his studio in the Middle of Nowhere. On the first day of a workshop, Peter collects the student from a rental cottage about 2 miles away and then they go out for a photo shoot. After the photo shoot, it's back to our house for breakfast and then intensive work on the computer to process the images.

Yesterday, he had a student who was new to her camera and I think, to some extent, newish to computers. I guess Peter had used our regular (i.e. non-colour) printer to show her how to print from Lightbox. Thinking he'd try to fool me that evening (after the student was back at the cottage), he picked up the print out and showed it to me. It was just 4 images on a single A4 sheet.

"I'm going to start printing like this. I think there's a great opportunity for sales of these," said Peter.

I looked dubiously at the single flimsy sheet with its drab images. "You mean like sell at art fairs? I don't get it."

Peter smiled. "I was joking. I would have been really disappointed if you'd believed me."

"Well, they're images your student took. I was thinking maybe you meant you'd put together a brochure or something showing what students were able to produce after a morning spent in your brilliant class."

"Oh yeah," he said. "I'm definitely going to do that. I want people to look at the students' work and think 'hey, I could do that too.' "

"Well, sure. Anyone can take a photograph," I teased. This is a common art-snob reaction. Some people don't recognise photography as an art form because anyone can take pictures. People recognise their limitations when the artisic tool is a paint brush, but not when it's a camera.

"If they take a class with me, they can take a great photograph."

"Then how come I've never been able to take a decent photograph?"

"Because you don't listen."

I laughed for about two mintues straight, causing Peter to remark "We laugh because it's true." Indeed it is true. My dirty little secret is that for someone who spends 8 hours a day writing instructions, I am woeful at actually following them.


At 8 May 2007 at 12:52, Blogger laurie said...

the photographers i work with no longer use that language. they don't take pictures of anything.
they "make images with" something (or someone).

i actually heard a photo editor tell me that one of the photographer was going to "make some images with trees." in the old days, we'd just say he was going to shoot a tree.

i am truly astounded (in a good way) by what good photographers do--and i work with many. i do not have their eye for a moment, nor any understanding at all of lighting or, really, composition. i look at some of their photos (images) and try to figure out how they can be so suffused with emotion. it's incredible. i believe photography is an art.

but the "make an image with" language, i have to admit, bugs me.

At 8 May 2007 at 13:15, Blogger Radio Free Newport said...

But ironically, you would remember the instructions, nearly word-for-word, even if they were given ten years ago. ;-)

At 8 May 2007 at 17:10, Blogger Terri said...

hehe, I, too, am of the "If all else fails then read the instructions" school. I tend to want to be able to just do it myself... which is precisely why I "take nice pictures" instead of "making beautiful images"

At 10 May 2007 at 07:51, Blogger -Ann said...

Laurie - Peter agrees with you on the "make images with". I think he uses images and photographs interchangeably. I'm astounded by good photographers too. A while back, Peter rented some studio lights and a backdrop to take photographs of his framed work, to give web shoppers an idea of the finished product.

When he was done, he took a few portraits of me. They were, without a doubt, the best pictures I'd ever had taken. Then he set up the focus and asked me to take photos of him. All I had to do was frame the shot, hold the camera steady and press the button. The pictures I took were awful!

RFN - Ha! With age, my freakish memory is slipping a little, but not much. I was in a writing workshop this weekend and some of the people had been on other courses that I'd also taken. I was a big hit in the "winning friends" category as I was able to remember what they'd talked about in the class from months back.

Terri - I am sure you take beautiful pictures - at least from the little I've seen on your blog. Directions are for the unadventerous. :)


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