Friday, October 5, 2007

Learning

All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.
Martin H. Fischer

How does one learn to be a photographer? Is it taking a prescribed course? Taking pictures? Trusting your instincts? The one thing I've learned and am learning is that there is no one correct path. I think the only true answer is to carve out the path that feels right to you and stick with it. I have written about not following a typical academic path. I did that for several years and it was usually an uncomfortable fit. In looking back I think two of my main inspirations for going beyond academia have been my maternal grandmother and parents. My grandmother had dreams of a more advanced education, but never totally achieved her dream before she died of stomach cancer when I was 14. But she constantly educated herself. My father started college, but wasn't able to finish. Again he has always read, discussed and considered a variety of ideas. My mother dropped out of high school, but went back when she was in her early fifties to the same high school that my siblings and I graduated from and received her diploma. I always had books and a library card thanks to their insistence that I read and learn. So learning by a variety of means is literally in my blood.

It has been a more instinctive process for me to read books on various aspects of photography, gather fellow photographers for discussions and then go out to shoot subjects that help reflect what I am learning. Included in this is and will be the occasional workshop. One of the reasons I designed a three day work week where I work 32 hours is to have four days to help accommodate my learning curve. So today I am hanging out, working on some photos and reading one of the best books that I have come across on composition in photography, Michael Freeman's, "The Photographer's Eye". My local library purchased it on my request and I'm going to be getting a copy for myself, it's that good.

Little by little I'm learning to fly....

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Learning to Fly":


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