Creating opportunities for younger photographers

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Recently a photographer game me the opportunity to visit his studio, and talked with me about his techniques.

I got to see the cameras and lenses that he uses, the lighting arrangement, metering techniques, and the idiosyncrasies of different situations.

We compared meter readings, techniques for balancing color, and types of film. He let me see some of his older work and that of other photographers, and explained how he would change his technique the next time.

All of this is very, very valuable for a younger photographer such as myself. I learned a tremendous amount in a very short time. More importantly, the visit renewed my enthusiasm for photography, and for large-format photography in particular.

I know that many of the photographers who participate in this forum are experienced professionals. I encourage you to share your knowledge and expertise with younger photographers. It can make an extraordinary impression, and you may even learn something or receive some new ideas.

Even a small effort on your part can become a very important element of the learning process for someone else. This man spent a little more than an hour with me, and Iím still thinking about what I learned.

-- Matthew Runde (actorm@hotmail.com), February 22, 2002

Answers

Matthew: Good point. Every professional photographer I know started out as a serious amatuer with a love for photography. Most I know are willing to share their knowledge. I'm glad you found one willing to share. Pro photographers are usually pretty busy, as they are small businesses, so it is important to phone ahead of time and see if you can schedule a time to visit when they have time.

Regards,

-- Doug Paramore (Dougmary@alaweb.com), February 23, 2002.


Hi Matthew,

Thank you for your post; you hit the nail on the head. But there are two parts to the equation: the older photographer and the younger one. The experience worked well for you (the younger photographer in this case) because you wanted to learn, were open-minded, and came away grateful. In other words, you have a great attitude.

In my experience, too often the reaction of the younger photographer is simple indifference: "free wisdom is worth what you pay for it," or "if it's on the web (or in an e-mail) take it with a grain of salt." I lost count of how many times I spent 15-20 minutes writing a detailed e-mail offline to someone who posted a question on this very forum, and I wouldn't even get a one-word "Thanks" in reply. I wasn't looking for affirmation, just a token acknowledgment that a tiny fraction of my effort might prove remotely useful to them.

After a year or so of this I didn't get angry or bitter; I just stopped. (Not that my twenty years of LF experience was priceless or anything, but you understand what I'm saying here.)

So your suggestion requires a sharing attitude on the part of older photographers, yes, but also a willingness to learn on the part of younger (and newer) photographers.

P.S. Because I don't want any of my earlier (one-way) pen pals who might read this to feel bad, I'm breaking with protocol and signing it anonymously. But my experience is very real, and I ask the understanding of the forum in my reluctance t

-- A geezer (A. Geezer@oldies.com), February 23, 2002.


A great point. I'm still young, I still have a lot to learn, but a lot of what I know now I got from my interaction with older, established photographers both on and off this forum, and in person. The actual human interaction and intelligent discourse you get through being mentored, beit through email or an afternoon discussion or a long-term friendship with someone, is more valuable than any class in photography could ever be. The people on this forum have taught me more about large format over the last four years than any other source of information, by a long shot. The previous poster is completely correct about it being a two-part equation. When both halves are willing and have a good attitude, it can be a great experience for everyone involved.

-- David Munson (apollo@luxfragilis.com), February 23, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ