May 17

Thoughts on course motivations and goals

I’ve wanted to do a photography degree for a while now.  I’ve been taking photos for years – my camera comes everywhere-, but I’ve come to a point where there are some fundamental questions I’d like to be able to answer with more confidence. For example, what makes a great photograph? Is it in the eye of the beholder? Is it because someone of note gave it a good review? or is there something more fundamental going on?
What do you need to consider when putting a series of photos together?
What style or genre of photography do I really want to pursue? How do I develop my style?
How do I put aside my prejudices and nurture objectivity?

Today, I was reading one of the course books, The Photograph-Graham Clarke-which I’m enjoying very much, but in one section he talks about a photo by Diane Erbus – Identical Twins 1967- he uses it to discuss (very well) the complexity of reading a photo. While he described the photo, it struck me that he talked a lot about Arbus’s intent-now for one photo there was a hell of a lot of intent! Now, I don’t know if Diane Erbus has clarified her thinking behind the photo, – maybe she just took it because it piqued her interest or she saw something that motivated her to take it.
I’ve seen this a lot with famous photos and admit I’m highly skeptical when it comes to interpreting other artists’ or photographers’ intent. And that’s one of the things I want to learn in this course-confidence and breadth of thinking to help me understand the theories and thinking behind different photographic disciplines.

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