While not planned, this was the year for updating my “skills” with the camera. Thanks to the gentle nudgings of Nina Zhito, I completed three weeks of classes with Frederic Larson and seven with Murray Rockowitz (Wednesdays with Murray, as I thought of the experience).
While Larson and Rockowitz are from different photographic traditions, they conveyed common themes in their classes–at least that is how I perceived them:
1. It does not matter what kind of camera you have as long as you learn to use it within its limitations. Move up later, if you care to do so.
2. Take the time to read the manual and practice using the various features.
3. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting–Learn how to use it and how to manipulate it.
4. B&W photography–According to Larson, the true test of the quality of a photograph is whether it also holds up in B&W as well as color. Rockowitz recognizes color, but his forte is B&W portrait photography and handcrafted prints. Trust me, you have to see them to believe them.
The courses also altered my vocabulary to a certain extent. The common phrase of “taking photos” is slowly being replaced by “making photos” as I wander about with my cameras. At first it seemed to be an “affectation” but I came to realize that it is true. From the moment you frame or set up a photo in the viewfinder to the final editing in a dark room or editing on a computer, you are making decisions about what to present in the final picture.
Before closing, a few words about the Petaluma Arts Center are in order…
Until I took the photo classes, I never gave any thought as to the Petaluma Arts Center. It was just another building…another one of those hidden assets one is not aware of until opportunity puts it in your field of vision. As for me, I will be back for the photography classes planned for next year. As a Camera Apprentice, I look forward to them…
For I am not comfortable with describing myself as a Photographer.
But I was never comfortable with being called a lawyer, or an executive either…