I feel like this!
I’ve found a photography course I love. For the first time, it is a course, that instead of fiddling with knobs and counter intuitive stuff, is focussed on the art of photos, and the soul of them. Although I did some serious knob twiddling in Birmingham recently, and have since been off automatic mode pretty regularly, another achievement, which I documented here.
I am not going to give away all her secrets here, but I love the way Susannah Conway makes me think about my pictures. Two weeks in and I am already thinking differently when I shoot.
I met Susannah when she spoke at Blog Camp a few years ago, and as I was also processing a loss myself at the time, through little legacy writing, I was attracted by the idea that she turned loss into something beautiful and positive. I’ve had it on my list to do her course for some time, I read her book over the summer.
Each week the two lessons by email give me really simple but surprisingly effective things to focus on. Some of it I remember from film theory, but when I taught film and media as a drama teacher, I was learning as fast as my students, skipping just a bit ahead, there was never enough time as a secondary teacher to indulge my own creativity.
The course isn’t time consuming, just an hour at the caravan at the weekend is time enough to read the course info, and then I take pictures through the week when I feel like it and as we walk and talk and unwind at the weekend. Half an hour with a slide show instead of a TV programme and an hour of editing down and selecting my favourites on a Sunday night, to add just 10 to the communal flickr pool for the week.
Diagonals, rule of thirds, negative space…suddenly it all makes sense.
The caravan is a great place to practice, my subjects are always close at hand, and sometimes in constraint I think there is creativity. Windows need a good clean!
I am seeing little details I wouldn’t have previously thought to capture, in new ways. There is more soul in my photos. Even if all caravan interiors are brown…
I think its made me fall even more in love with family,
and with Max.
I’ve realised I’ve been rebelling against white space, against over styled shots, too much colour, although all have their place. It’s just that I really like moody and mysterious and just documenting what actually happens… that’s why I started blogging. But making the ordinary extraordinary is an art.
Susannah sent across an interview with Stephanie Congdon Barnes, which really inspired me, and I am seeing that the ‘heart’ in photos that Stephanie describes, is often there already. Sometimes styling kills that…although I am picking up some subtle ways to gently manipulate what is already there.
Talking a walk with my camera feels soothing, not a chore to complete in order to finish off a blog post.
Can you tell how happy this is making me? The best bit, the course is online and only £80. Highly recommend!