Gear Talk > Canon General

necessity of photography school

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Dark Reality:

--- Quote from: verysimplejason on December 19, 2012, 10:11:52 AM ---

Having a mentor that can share experiences is the one of the best way to learn other than learning directly from experience.  It's just the same when you go to school.  You might have been taught the same subject and same amount of theories as that with other students but it doesn't mean that what you learn is on par with what others learn.  It always depends on the person on how fast can he assimilate the knowledge and put them to use in the real world.  That said, you'd still be better off learning from a guru.  Of course any avenues of learning is always welcome.

One more thing, please learn more on the art of real photography.  Sometimes, we tend to be pixel-peepers/tech-heads.  There's nothing wrong with that except that if we do that, we are forgetting the real essence of why we are taking pictures.  :)

--- End quote ---

I didn't say it, but that's exactly what I meant. I don't want to go to school to learn just about sensors and autofocus, the internet is already full of that.   But I love to learn about photography in general. But I consider ita expense just like anything else, and I'm trying to determine the value of it. That's why I picked to questions I asked.  If money was of no concern, I would already be there.

Going to photography school is the same as going to "art school" in a more broader sense ... I guess they hand out photography diplomas in art schools but I digress. A couple of art history courses and may be a specialized course for 3 or 4 credits on top in a regular liberal arts curriculum will do more good... Granted over priced in this context. But most proprietary "art schools" in small communities are run by people who are more ignorant about art than Mr. Squeers-like schoolmasters from Dickensian novels.

I think art of any kind stands out when it has a unique and personal view point. By training students to mostly conform, we blunt innovation and uniqueness. If I had a nickel for every time I saw a shot of a long straight road going into infinity in a perspective shot... I'll be Donald Me_Me_Me (hopefully without the badger hair). Most of what an "art school" can teach can be acquired from public sources, me thinks.

And here is a scene from the classic Britcom "Red Dwarf" :)

Lister: I went to art college.
Rimmer: You!!!
Lister: Yeah.
Rimmer: How did you get into art college?
Lister: The normal way you get into art college. The same old usual, boring, normal way you get in. Failed my exams and applied. They snapped me up.


I guess, I should have prefaced my comments with my background. I am a software engineer and work full-time consulting with the federal gov in DC. Photography is my main hobby. I wouldn't be interested in getting a degree, just taking a few classes to broaden my skills.


--- Quote from: Dark Reality on December 19, 2012, 09:42:20 AM ---
And lastly, could you have learned the same from the internet and experienced friends?

--- End quote ---

Most of what i've learned about photography was/is from socializing with painters, designers, editors, videographers&playwrights,  musicians&poets, historians.
Internet? Discussions are not nearly as immersive and with forums/interest groups you risk running into the old photo club problem: everybody copies one idea and you find yourself railroaded, chasing pointless trends. Same problem with workshops&tutorials, people end up parroting what they've learned.

If you want to attend a photography school make sure they offer open challenges instead of answers.

I went to Brooks Institute of Photography a decade ago...  Photography schools will give you exposure, it will give you a place to cut your teeth, it will teach you how to succeed... It will give you honest critiques you may not get from clients, friends, and acquaintances...  And for SOME people, they need instruction, they need to know the difference between a split lighting, loop, Rembrandt, butterfly/hollywood lighting... broad vs short, softbox vs umbrella vs reflector...  With photography, there are so many ways to do the same thing and so many different tools to get there...  Yes, you can always learn online from places like creativelive.  Yes, you can always get a mentor, if you can find an honest mentor, and slowly work your way up... Yes, you can do it for cheap and eventually get to the same place... Will you get the same experience?  maybe... maybe not..  Will you get the experience not only with SLR's/DSLR's, but medium format, large format, scanning backs, 3 shots systems... will you get get access to cutting edge equipment and systems...  Going to school forces you to know how to shoot multiple camera systems, lenses, models, lighting, locations... just assisting for a photographer or learning from a photographer or online CAN isolate you to a camera system, or a lighting condition or set up... To the instructor, mentors, photographers style but also habits, good or bad...

I have grown immensely since I left school and have evolved and moved with the times as equipment changes and technology changes...  Could I have gotten to where I am without school... maybe...  Can i have learned from others for a fraction of a cost... maybe... Would i have the experience and knowledge of my exposure tables and be able to shoot anywhere anyplace any condition... maybe... There's a lot of maybes... not a lot of certainties... Do you need a degree in photography to get a commercial job or a wedding client or two or three?   Hell no... But you better know what the hell you are doing if you get those jobs or you will be in a world of trouble...


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