“Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man” – Edward Steichen
Images are a powerful medium of self-expression as well as important tools to understand the world. Every image or a sequence of images has the power to deliver meaning and portray emotion that demands to be felt, telling tales that take us back to the time where it stood still in a shutter shot.
This was the underlying principle for the 5-day photography workshop hosted by EdNet. Participating students learnt how to tell their stories through the lens. Under the guidance of the eminent photographer Kaamna Patel, while learning self-reflection and narrating their stories with better technical possibilities, the students became more coherent in communicating through photography.
The workshop sailed the students across many genres, focusing on building a narrative through capturing devices. Through readings, presentations and assignments, the students comprehended basic and advanced photography principles and concepts. Starting with exploration of the language of images, through various genres of photography and eventually moving into contemporary practices, students learnt about the importance of maintaining journals and sketchbooks and were also advised to record references. They were also trained to see photography as a form of art, how to comprehend the language of photography through sound observation, and to how to develop the same into a multiple shot series by a series of artist slide lectures, online critiques, individual assignments, editing and sequencing exercises that gave an ongoing stimulation of ideas.
In the introductory class, Kaamna introduced students to the history of photography. She addressed the very meaning of photography and its essence to students discussing the origin of photography and its invention combined with a brief but interesting history and evolution of the camera.
She traced the early practices of photography, types of films, and various methods of printing. Students dwelled into different photography genres and how these evolved over a period of time. Dipping their feet into pictorialism, straight photography, documentary and street photography, students learned about various visual codes and ethics that make a genre, as well as aesthetics and techniques that go into making a striking image.
Students were introduced to the main components of an image and learnt techniques to manipulate the possibilities of the camera to either represent reality or distort it. It is essential to know the rules, to effectively break them. Students learnt how to break away from stereotypical photography allowing students to understand that consciously breaking away from the rules when needed to allow them to explore their creative capacity.
Students were taught basics to understand composition, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, lighting, color spaces and other components of digital photography and the digital cameras to create better images.
Meanwhile, the students were coached to create a narrative and tell a story that was personal and yet universally comprehended through various concepts such as anatomy of stories, storytelling devices and the importance of sequencing. This is because creating a personal image keeps the audience emotionally engaged and invokes empathy.
Students were assigned to click a series of images that documented their day. Using their photographs, they were taught how to edit them using professional Photoshop software and arrange the same in a sequence to justify a narrative. They were coached on the same using various presentations that provide a better understanding about editing and sequencing.
Students presented their edits and were critically appreciated to trace their learning during the 5-day long photography workshop. The students were introduced to the contemporary practice of photobook making and were briefed about self publishing, future of photography and possibilities of this medium.