Friday, October 29, 2010

Digital Photographic Practice

DPP is the third module in my ongoing journey towards a BA in Photography.  Starting with "The Art of Photography" my initial goal was simply to enhance my technical skills and artistic judgement, with a view towards improving the visual quality of underwater images shot whilst Scuba diving.  Since then the courses have become a major part of my life and the experience of returning to structured learning has been an extremely positive one.  Progressing from TAoP to People and Place my interest in photography, both personal and historical has grown in leaps and bounds.  Apart from putting a serious dent in my income and making someone at Amazon very happy, the exploration of other photographers work and  exposure to new genres of photography has opened a world of possibilities I had not thought even existed.  Photography is so pervasive that we utterly take it for granted.  I have forced myself to step back from this comfortable world of omnipresent images and take an analytical look at what is Photography and how it relates to other art forms and political/social movements.

So why this course rather than something more theoretical, such as an Art History or Visual Studies course?  I have wrestled with this question for a few months, also considering stepping onto the level 2 courses.  First of all I am keenly interested in art history and visual culture, but this is something I can pursue in parallel to this course, I intend to keep up a steady reading program and maintain a record of this within this new blog.  Secondly, I already have a degree in a highly theoretical subject, Mathematical Physics.  I know that I have much to learn about art and the theoretical basis of photographic criticism, however, my joy in this course comes from creating interesting and sometimes though provoking images, hence I have opted to continue with the more practical side of the course.

Having completed TAoP and being just about to finish Assignment 4 of PaP I am beginning to experience a definite pull towards a subject area, a broad one, but one with a distinct theme, that is the city and urban environment in which I live.  Looking at other photographers I am drawn more towards Stephen Shore or Lee Friedlander than I am towards a landscaper such as Ansel Adams or portraitist such as Richard Avedon.  I also find myself very much at home walking the streets of the city looking for images, although I am not wedded to street photography, a tripod and tilt-shift lens, excites me as much as working a crowded street with a small discrete camera.

My goal in taking this course is to learn more about managing image quality during the shoot and in post processing.  I also believe, or perhaps hope, that I can continue my affair with the city and its inhabitants whilst doing the course.  I do not need or want to learn a great deal about Photoshop, other than how I can improve the camera to print process.  I come to the course with a little technical knowledge, but knowledge that has been gained in an unstructured manner.  The only trepidation I have is noticing the introduction of RAW later in the course, I am not sure if I have ever shot JPG with an SLR or why I would ever want to.  OK, that was the grumble!  I am looking forward to getting my teeth into some more technical work, and avoiding spending the winter freezing to the spot waiting for the sun to rise!  In the Spring I plan to start the Landscape course, waiting for the warmth to return.

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