You mean I've got to go back? : LUSENET : Photographic Exercises : One Thread

When I took a charcoal drawing course in college, I was given an interesting assignment. On the first day of the course, he told us to not come to class for the next week, and instead to draw a landscape on 11x14 paper with charcoal. We were to return in one week with the drawings. That was it. He left the room. I and the rest of my classmates went out, drew our landscapes and returned the following week. We spent an hour describing what we liked and didn't like about each student's work. At the end of the class, he collected our drawings and turned to the class and said, "Go back and draw the same subject again." With that, he left the room. This process continued until we had drawn the "same" landscape 4 times. He then returned all 4 drawings and let us look at the changes that happened in series. The improvements in EVERYONE's work were amazing. Being forced to visually capture the "same" scene made us look at it in different ways, and draw it differently.

So, what's the exercise? Pick a subject: a specific landscape scene, a particular person, an object. On four separate occasions, at least 3 or 4 days apart, take photos of the subject. If the subject is a person or object, shoot it in the same surroundings. Take as many pictures for each session as you can afford to use on this exercise. Get the photo's developed and look at them. Look for what you like or don't like about the way you framed the subject, how it was lit, etc. Study them, takes notes, and then put them away. Don't look at them until you've done all of the sessions. You should only be looking at the previous session's photos. At the end of the series, compare the batches of photos.

-- O.M. Jenkins (, September 02, 1999

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