a response to D. Paramore question re: teaching

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In reviewing D. Paramore's enlightening question re: teaching in yesterday's post,and responses, I would like to expand upon the subject, perhaps take a tangent or two & end with a question.

The responses which came forth yesterday were great. Perhaps Doug's question hit a raw nerve. There were contributors who's names I have not encountered before.

Most of the posts deal on a daily basis with cognitive material, such as "how to" or "what", the act of "doing". My own recent post was such--what's the difference between 2 enlarging lenses? as an example. Very few posts deal with the affective domain of learning--that being the "feelies", one's values, one's beliefs, and certainly this area is very hard to measure/evaluate as compared to the cognitive domain where we can "measure" our progress with technical proficiency.

Look at the photo publications out there--They are for the most part dealing with how to, the act of doing, buy this camera, this lens, etc. And the workshops likewise--pay big bucks at Palm Beach and you can rub elbows with Annie or John & perhaps become a "photographer" or perhaps wear a Domke vest and that will help in attaining our vision of ourselves. There are very few Minor White's out there today,not ony teaching but raising esoteric & metaphysical questions. Ever since the movie, "Blow Up", there has been a rocket like interest in photography with the general public which is ok, however, the dues one must pay to become a photographer are overlooked. Buy a Nikon or Leica and I'm a photographer mentality is very dangerous. I certainly have paid dearly in one form or another to get where I'm at now as a photographer/educator---Weltschmerz, angst, monies, divorce, etc.. And I'm still learning & what to learn more, it's precious to me. In studying the Ancient Greeks, the teacher student role was a major contribution to western thought--the Citizen of the State had an obligation to ask questions, and in doing so, learn. I certainly would like to be a full time student again. I also believe, in this internet age, our very successful commercial & fine art photographers such as the Annie's & John's should be contributuing more to forums such as this--it's their obligation, yet rarely do I see their names or their posts. Which brings me off the rambling & on to my question.

In my introduction, I stated that I saw new names, contributors, etc.. Does anyone have any idea how many of us are tuning into this forum?--photographers, commercial & fine art, young & old, curators of photography, educators, photo editors and the like????? And if your from Geneva or Brazil or from Vail, Colorado???? How far & wide is this forum reaching????

With respect to you all, Raymond A. Bleesz

-- Raymond A. Bleesz (bleesz@vail.net), January 10, 2001


Raymond, very well said! I agree with you on the idea that photography has a tendency to speak exclusively on the technical aspect of the craft and neglects the "feelies" as you put it. If I meet someone at the camera store, they'll usually say something like, "nice shot, how'd you do it?" I think this is a function of the field being so "process" oriented.

But I also wanted to comment on your statement "buy a Nikon or a Leica and I am a photographer mentality is dangerous". I understand where you are coming from, but I also think that this mentality is important. It is true that there are some gear heads out there who cannot photograph and in the process they may possibly insult genuine characters, however, it's the "feeling like a photographer" that is important. There are many photographers out there that because of circumstance are unable to shoot more than a couple of times a month, and yet they feel like photographers. I think their interest in the medium adds to the collective whole of photography.

I think Bono ,from the rock band U2, put it best when he said "We were a band before we even knew how to play our instruments". The intention can be more important than what is produced. The biggest rock band literally learned to play on the world's largest stages.

If a movie can inspired people to buy cameras and believe they are photographers, i think this can result in a very positive outcome.

Anyway, just a thought.


-- Dave Anton (daveanton@home.com), January 10, 2001.

This discussion properly belongs on the Philosophy of Photography forum. I merely wish to point out that photography has been both an art and a science from its inception. It was originally billed as "drawing with light." This dual nature has always been its primary attraction for me: I get to play with cool stuff while trying to make art.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), January 10, 2001.

Raymond, you make a good point. I for one are more at ease talking technique (an almost universal language) then I am talking about my philosophy and the act/art of "seeing". I could not tell people how they should view the world at best I could only show them how I view the world.


-- Trevor Crone (trevor.crone@uk.dreamcast.com), January 10, 2001.

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