Our Photography Courses Blog

Something to think about

We’re moving house shortly, and we took a load of old books to the second hand shop, which is helpful as far as it goes, but Phil did have to buy a couple of new books while there. Ian Jenkin’s Photography: A Concise History, was one such tome that now has to be boxed and moved with the rest of our stuff.

We’ve been reading about early photography, and the often quoted notion (from Fox Talbot) that a camera records disinterestedly. So a camera does not know which bits of a scene are important, and a photograph can confuse it’s viewer. A painter could choose to leave bits out, move things around re-vitalise an otherwise boring view. Painters don’t have stray bits of tree branch pokin in from the side of the frame, they just leave it out. Photographers get what their given and record the whole lot.

So when we teach that you need to watch the backgrounds in portraits and foregrounds in landscapes for confusing stuff, or that the edges of your frame can accidently bisect a sheep that a painter would have left out or moved over a bit, we’re recalling Fox Talbot. The mechanical capturing of the image needs be tempered with a bit of common sense when you take the shot.

Otherwise you have a lamp post growing disinterestedly out of someone’s head!

We realise that this is a slightly more arty/philosophical posting than usual – if you want more of this kind of stuff – let us know! If you want less – let us know anyway! That we can constantly improve our photography courses.

Ian Jenkin’s latest work is How to read a Photographsee a review in the guardian.

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