This past week, I had an opportunity to sit in on several Photography Portfolio Reviews with students at the Art Institute of Washington. The Institute has a great photographic imaging program that was built from the ground up, not one refitted onto a traditional photography program. It was odd not smelling fixer as I walked through its hallways. These students have all of the latest hardware and software at their disposal. It was interesting to see that with all this technology and a terrific faculty in place they were still like the students I had at Howard University back in the 1980s & 90s! No comment on my high school art students at the Ellington School of the Arts during the past ten years! So, nothing really changed except the tools they were inundated with learning. Very interesting.
When going over the work of these students and in conversation with them, I thought back on a couple of students I worked with as a freelance instructor for Panasonic’s Digital Photo Academy. These were two guys were my peers in age that loved photography, and just kinda did it “on the side”. I was teaching or instructing an Advance Photography class from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. After a brief introduction at Starbucks, I took them to the National Cathedral here in Washington, DC. We shot for six hours straight, with no break! Six hours without any whining, just non-stop photography.
They asked a lot of questions about photography, as well as, telling lots of stories about their photographic and non-photographic lives. As photo enthusiast, that brought all of their photo equipment, so they could be “ready” for anything. The first thing I did was to have them travel light. No more than two lenses and a tripod. They were amazed that the only camera I brought my Panasonic LX3. But I also brought some Lensbaby stuff for them to use and my laptop. We never even used that Lensbaby stuff, no time, they were in The Zone.
At the end of the day we were in the Cathedral’s Observation Deck that has a great view of DC, Maryland, and Virginia! I pulled out my laptop and went over their photos, and showed a couple of very quick Photoshop processing tricks. Gave them both a “Goodies Disk”, like I get at Photoshop World, and a little “homework” assignment to make a Blurb book from their photos. Then we all limped off into the sunset. It was a great day of photography.
Those guys, Mike & Steve, were just the kind of Photography students you want. They love photography, and the gadgets and toys that come with it. Most of all they were open, I mean wide open, to the vocabulary of artist vision in hearing and listening to their creative voice. That’s something that the full time student doesn’t do, but the occasional student is actually hungry for. I commented to Mike about this, and his response was, “Hey, here you’re not babysitting! We want to learn.”
Well they’re ready for my Photoshop class, and so am I. I’m looking forward to my next photography classroom, filled with occasional students.