Photography and life

This is the 812th time that I'm mentioning my photography class outside of my regular course work. Let me recount the week:

Monday: Lab from 7 to 10. We printed out work (contact sheets and favorite pictures from the depth of field exercise) from the previous week. After that, we took out our first assignment (shutter speed exercise) for critique. Basically how this works is that you show your photo to a small group of students and ask three questions: what do you like about my picture, what do you not like about my picture, what would you change about it.

I guess you could apply those three questions to anything in life! For example, this past week, I liked efforts in class (staying awake...), I did not like my efforts in my study group, and I would change my schedule to do the lab on Sunday night instead. Yet I digress...

The feedback I got was very good. There are many subtle things that I would not notice myself. This doesn't just cover the bad things, but also the good things as well. One person commented that I framed the picture with the surrounding structures - I didn't notice it... but I will next time.

Tuesday: Class from 7 to 10. Today, the lesson was to review the depth of field exercise and also talk about the psychological impact between the photographer and the subject. This is when I realized that I didn't really understand the depth of field exercise fully. I was supposed to play with F-stops to adjust the depth of field, which I did... but not really playing it to the full extent. Instead, I used the distance between me and the subject as the primary tool to create depth of field.

In the second half of class, we talked about when we can take pictures of people and when we can't. It was a very interesting discussion. What gives me the right to take pictures of strangers while they are enjoying the scenery? That's why I rarely take portraits... I enjoy buildings and wild life - I don't have to ask them for permission.

Our instructor claims that, as a photographer, he has never paid for or provided favors for a picture to be taken. Fascinating. I think I will follow his lead. So far, I have not violated it. Denise, on the other hand, has been coerced into paying after taking pictures of local people at Kathmandu and Tibet.

Friday: Me being photographer from 9 to 11. This was an exercise to create connection between the photographer and the subject - I'm the subject today. Now, I 've never modeled before, but my partner Y-san took the approach that I was thinking about. Ask questions and then take pictures. After an hour of conversation that covered mostly traveling, the project was done. Phew. Very interesting though, as when we talked about photography, I actually found myself smarter (in photography anyway) than before.

Tomorrow: I'll be doing the aforementioned exercise, but with me being the photographer. My subject is a fellow consultant who has been at it for years. Should be interesting.

In other news... the Wing Squad is revived... they are coming to Chicago for this years Superbowl.

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