“Whatever you do, don’t be bored. This is the most exciting time you could have possibly hoped to be alive. And things are just getting started.”
My first glimpse into the art was through a handheld, which I used to borrow from my father while on holiday. There came a point where I was given my very own handheld, and it’s then that I attempted to fulfill my fascination for the art. A few years later, as I dug deeper to find the perfect picture, I was gifted a DSLR.
This was only two years ago.
I began as most do, on the “Automatic” preset. Slowly as time passed, I figured out what terms like “Shutter Speed” and “Aperture” meant. It was then I moved from the now amateurish “Automatic” to “Shutter Priority”. And slowly as I saw the options the camera chose for me under given lighting conditions, I adapted and used these as inputs for the “Manual Mode”.
Photography was at this point completely self taught. I did take inspiration from films, but suprisingly not so much well known photography. The more photographs I took, the better the outcomes were. Framing a photograph came almost instictively, and I could see a good photograph before I put my eye to the viewfinder.
My photography at the time could be characterised as street photography, except I was shooting within the confines of a boarding school. I captured what caught my attention, but could never ask someone to pose while I did so. It was there that I grew to love people, the way they walk, hand gestures, expressions, emotions and details that made them individuals. I began to have a fondness for portrait photography, but it must be kept in mind that I was within the confines of a boarding school so whoever I photographed, I knew and was comfortable with.
A year later, as my interest grew so did my needs.
I moved up a few tiers within the Nikon range and have found myself pleasantly pleased with what I could achieve with the camera.
Right about that time I graduated from high school, and had to decide what I wanted to do with regards to my education. The dream was always to be a filmmaker, rather still is. But photography excited me, I had grown to have a passion for it, slinging my camera onto my shoulder wherever I went. I knew I wanted to apply to an arts college, but all the courses available forced me into having to try my hand at all the possible art forms in a foundation course. Two years of doing it had made me realise that I’d rather do something I wish to pursue, and so I applied to the ABC Diploma at LCC. I was sure it would be give me an upperhand as I made my way to study film in the near future.
Almost a year has passed since I made that decision, and it’s turned out to be one of the better decisions of my life.
As the months passed, I was educated on the techinical aspects of photography, which being an amateur and self taught in the art I would have never paid heed to. It also gave me a background into past photographers who had left behind a legacy. The likes of Robert Capa, Henri-Cartier Bresson and Irving Penn were unknown to me and it’s probably why I chose them as the photographers to write an essay about.
It’s also the first time I embraced analog photography and put my time in at the darkroom, making sure I don’t miss a lecture so as to miss out on procedure and skill.
I was also weak when it came to my Photoshop skills, where I simply got by, by using native presets rather than making manual adjustments and learnt about destructive and non-destructive editing, layers, masks, and so forth. This gave me an opportunity to use these skills in other software such as Lightroom and Adobe Bridge.
Before taking up this course I had only heard of a photography studio, but this gave me the chance to actually photograph people in it! It was a revelation as a possible genre of photography I could get into, although it’s besides the point that it thrill me enough.
What did thrill me was the photojournalism course that was offered. I enjoy photographing real things, and as biased an opinion this is, I don’t consider fashion to be that. Real people, in real situations thrill me. This elective gave the chance to do just that.
As an individual, I’m very shy. I have always found it hard to speak with people I don’t know well enough, so walking up to a stranger and asking if I could photograph them was more than just a step up. This course, i.e. the photojournalism course forced me into doing just that. I was able to garner up the courage, when my mind was telling me to run far away.
It was only after the photojournalism course finished that I realised how the confidence was making my pictures better. The skills were taught to me by the educators, and the confidence parted to me via the photojournalism course. Together, I felt invincible (although that’s probably saying too much).
More to come.