Man vs. Nature?

Monday, September 6th, 2010 5
Posted in: SOOC

The last class for my Photography II course is tomorrow. These past 9 weeks have flown by and I’m sad the class is ending. Of course, I am registered for Photo III, but I’ve got to wait 5 weeks until it starts! As I’ve written previously, the instructor of these courses is all about helping students develop our own eye. She doesn’t teach composition or principles of “what makes a good photograph.” Her pedagogical model is a perfect fit for me, someone seeking her own creativity, own voice, own eye.

This term’s class has focused on various techniques–learning how to really alter depth of field, using hyperfocal focus, and playing with spatial relationships. We have an assignment each week where we take photographs using the specific technique just learned in class. Often, we have been limited to only shooting in our backyard, our instructor emphasizing that the content of a photo isn’t what makes a great photo great. Every week, we shoot 36 photos with NO deletions–like replicating shooting a roll of film. We then get these photos professionally printed with NO corrections and bring them to class. Then, we choose 8 to show. We walk around, looking at one another’s work, listening to our instructor’s feedback. I have appreciated learning from others’ work and seeing how each of us in the class really does have a different eye and point of view. It has been scary and courage-building to put my work out there. And I’ve loved it.

For the last class tomorrow, we weren’t asked to shoot a new “roll” of 36. The assignment was to look back on all of the photos we’ve shot for the class, and from those, choose our 8 “strongest,” the ones we keep coming back to, the ones we love, or the ones that stand out in some way. As if that wouldn’t be challenging enough, we also had to put these 8 into a cohesive sequence. And, we had to give the sequence a title.

This task has been quite challenging. I can fairly easily pull out my favorite photos–I liked some assignments better than others, some techniques better than others, so culling the shots from the class that I come back to repeatedly wasn’t so hard. As an aside, it was interesting to see that all the photos I selected came from only 2 different assignments. The harder part came when I had to sequence them. Many of the photos I chose just didn’t fit together in a cohesive way. So I had to carefully edit those out and keep ones that did seem to flow in some manner. This was HARD. I really love some of the photos that weren’t keepers for this assignment. Then working on a title for the final 8 was even HARDER. I felt like there was some flow to the photos, but I found it elusive to completely articulate. I could feel themes of color, of depth of field, of lines. But in some ways, I couldn’t quite put my finger on how or why I felt or saw these photos fitting toether.

While I was journaling yesterday morning, a title came to me: “Man vs. Nature.” I don’t love it, but I think that’s what I’m going with. It seems to capture the man-made, metal objects and juxtapose them with the natural, earth-made. I’m anxious and excited to show these tomorrow in class, and I nervously await the instructor’s thoughtful comments. I’ll keep you posted.

5 Responses

  1. Susannah says:

    these are lovely all together, hon!

    I’ll be looking at composition in our workshop, but it’ll be in my way ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Melissa says:

    Thanks for sharing, this was very interesting to read and I couldn’t wait to see the 8 photos that made the final cut! As I looked at each photo, I was struck with the sense of “movement” in each one– even though they are all still objects. Each item looks like it’s flowing/stretching/bursting/turning out of the shot. There’s a wonderful sense in each that there is more to the story than what the eye can see; the feeling of a journey. And I love the juxtaposition of man and nature, but also amazing how you can see beauty in a garden hose or a shopping carriage as much as in leaves or a flower. Good luck with your class!

  3. Tiffany Hogan says:

    These are gorgeous Meghan! Congratulations on completing the class!!!

  4. Tanya says:

    Great photos Meghan-congratulations! I like the way you sequenced them, and the title definitely works. My favorite is probably the last one with the leaves-you caught the shadows and the light so well (as well as a great depth of field, something I’ve tried to do but never seem to accomplish they way I intended).
    Good luck on your photography journey (not that you’ll need it:) You’ll have new and exciting challenges in Photo III!

  5. Sarah says:

    YAY, Meghan! I love the photos you selected ๐Ÿ™‚ Still trying to come up with the name for my sequence… Looking forward to seeing you tonight!
    *S

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