Studying Photography

Well, since my last post, I have been busy with making major changes with regards to me being a ‘photographer’. I have decided to go back to school or rather, learn much more than I have taught myself up until now.

Bright day, bright future. #orientation #education

This has been a decision that has been weighing in my conscience for more than two years and after having my son, I am now ready to embark on this journey. So, for the next four years, I will be hitting the books both theoretically and practically as I learn the art of photography.

As I write this post, I have enrolled as a first year student for a Photography Degree course and already attended my first lecture.

Already my head is bursting with the sheer amount of information being provided. Learning new things even before I know the layout of campus like the back of my hand.

First set of books out the library. #education #photography
Already….some ESSENTIAL reading going on.

What I love about this course is that I can study part time and still continue to work. Not many courses around London have that flexibility. It would have meant signing up for a full time course and quitting my job and that isn’t an option at the moment. On the other hand, most photography courses specialise in specific subject matters like fashion, photojournalism, commercial, etc. Whereas this one touches on all that and much more. This suited me as I am still undecided on what kind of photography I want to specialise in.

The fact that we have theory lectures on photography is already teaching me that I have alot to learn about the craft. It’s not all about just taking pictures, but why we take them and how they are interpreted. In my first lecture on Photography and Visual Culture, we looked at a documentary “Fatal Exposure” about a famous fashion photographer, Davide Sorrenti, who died at the tender age of 20 due to pre-existing form of hereditary anaemia and a heroine overdose. What struck me was his talent, how his photography was interpreted around the circumstances surrounding his death. This was a photographer who prompted a comment from a head of state to stop publicising his ‘heroin chic’ images as glamourous. Davide took photographs of mostly his closest friends and his girlfriend who at the time unfortunately took drugs. This documentary on it’s own just highlighted alot of details on photography and how they can be used as powerful tools.

Later on the day for my practical module, it was some sort of introduction to manual cameras and dark room techniques which we will have to master throughout the course. So, I was re-introduced to 35mm B/W film and a VERY manual SLR. We got to learn the basics of photography…… aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. How to load a film onto a camera, which I discovered I had completely forgotten and how to re-learn to take pictures without knowing how they have turned out. Back to basics kind of stuff, which I am looking forward to. Now, to just go out there and snap away…..albeit carefully as you are limited to the famous 36 frames in this instance. Once all my film is used up, I get to learn how to develop my own film *fist pump* in my next class. Perhaps, I will be able to share some of them.

I won’t bore you with my once a week experience about attending university and what I learn. I just wanted to celebrate/share a little of what the next four years will be like on a weekly basis. I know it will not be easy at times, especially when I have a 2k word essay to write and deadlines to meet. Even before I made my decision to go to Uni, I was already getting questions as to why now.

I want to do this to get the knowledge that I won’t get anywhere else, if I want to be professional about it. I want the education to sustain me and to keep my creative juices flowing. Be able to talk about photography and engage in discussions about my work and that of others with a different approach than before. I am also doing this for my sanity really. It is something I have always wanted to do and it’s one of those decisions in life, that if you don’t do it you will regret for the rest of your life. So I said to myself, that I will do it and even if I fail I can at least hold my head up high and say that I tried, but having said that, my aim is to succeed.

I will leave you with this TED video my tutor mention in class on photographing light. In essence, photography is the art of capturing light onto a light sensitive material, but I am sure this clip will leave you amazed at how ideas evolve and are improved with time. Enjoy.

So……here is the next four or so years…….!

I dedicate this post to Thandiwe and Mutua. Some how, it takes other peoples talent to motivate and inspire. I am humbled.

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