Learning photography

Making pictures with John Enman, Learning photography

Since people first started walking around with their daguerreotype cameras back in the 1840’s,  photography has been an evolving medium. Photography is a technological medium that constantly changes, both in the way it allows photographers to capture a subject’s image, and how those photographers then can produce that subject’s image for viewing.

Unlike many of the other creative mediums, camera technology has certainly evolved since the first amateur photographers were taking pictures of life around them, and is now at a place where anyone interested enough to take time with the today’s high powered cameras can produce very good photographs.

I have been involved with photography both as a working photographer and as a photography teacher for many years. I taught college level photography for 19 years, and I will say that I believe photographers are getting much better at their craft faster than when I was teaching students in what was then a film environment.

Film was less forgiving and learners had to wait to find out if they were successful. Students of photography had to do their assignments and sometimes wait lengthy delays for access to the school photo laboratory.

Those that were very serious set up cramped little photo labs in bathrooms in order to make prints the same day.  As I think back I am not surprised at how slow progress was from the basics to a reasonable understanding of the craft and art of photography.

Today it is easy to examine the composition and exposure just by looking at the camera’s LCD and checking the histogram. Educating oneself is just that easy. Select the subject, think about the light and shadow, compose, and release the shutter. Review the LCD and if it’s wrong then try again until the image looks good.

Also, there is always the period of postproduction for balancing the overall tonal range if the image is lacking, or has too much contrast. That instant reinforcement is proof that digital is much better for the learning process of photography than ever before.

All someone who is serious about this medium needs to do is to take the time to learn the basics of photography, and how their camera works. All so very easy compared to when I was teaching so many years ago in what a friend once described as “the days of click and pray”.

The immediate review we now have with the LCD is excellent for the learning process and I think it is mainly that feature, rather than a modern camera’s programmed ability to make a pretty good exposure, that allows beginner photographers to achieve good photographs these days.  It also allows me to regularly come in contact with excellent photographers that have become proficient without years of experience.

Photography has become so accessible and, in my opinion, a perfect creative medium for those that are comfortable with an artistic technology that is continually transforming itself.

I recall when those of us that wanted to look at inspiring photographs were limited to purchasing or borrowing expensive books published by a few professional photographers. Now it is so easy to find images equal to anything ever produced by just browsing the internet. There are photographer forums, online magazines, websites, blogs and even Facebook, where spectacular photography can be viewed and used as inspiration by photographers.

I have been practicing photography and following photographic trends for well over thirty years and have never been happier to be involved in photography than right now.  A week doesn’t go by without some photographer stopping by my shop to show me their photographs and most are excellent and worth taking the time to view.

I’ll finish this with a motivational quote by fashion and fine art photographer Richard Avedon who said, “If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.”

These are my thoughts this week. Contact me at  www.enmanscamera.com or  email: emcam@telus.net. Stop by Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops.  And if you want an experienced photographer please call me at 250-371-3069. I also sell an interesting selection of used photographic equipment.







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