Back to Photography

Some folks who have only been a part of my network since I began working in instructional technology might not realize my BA is in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design. Since Longwood didn't have a full Graphic Design program, only a concentration, it meant I was exposed to a wide variety of art forms during my years as an art major, which was awesome. The two standouts for me that had nothing to do with a computer were Screen-printing and Photography. In fact I loved the photography course so much I ended up taking a few advanced courses as electives. These were all traditional black and white photography classes taught using manual cameras and learning the ropes of developing your own film and exposing prints in a dark room. Even back in 2003 the writing was on the wall for the digital occupation of the photo world. All color photography courses were taught with the film being developed elsewhere and scanned in to a computer due to the high cost of the materials and complex work to develop on your own. I don't know if they've moved completely digital yet, but I imagine it's only a matter of time before buying the film and materials become too difficult and the line between understanding the original artform and what it has become is crossed (my graphic design courses were completely digital for example as no one in their right mind still practices the art without the help of Adobe CS). All this to bring me back to last week when some equipment DTLT purchased came in. We own one DSLR already that I've never played with, but decided to expand to a second camera kit with a few different lenses. We bought a Canon T3i with a 50mm f1.4 lens and an 11~16mm aspherical wide angle lens along with a 580EX II flash and bag. I picked them up from our secretary on Friday and decided to take them home for the weekend for some "testing". It's been like falling in love all over again. I can remember never knowing what a photo would look like until I dropped the paper into the bath of chemicals and waited. Did I develop the film properly? Had I exposed it long enough? Too long? Were the tongs I was using going to smudge the damn paper and ruin an awesome print? All of these things are no longer an issue as I can simply look at an LCD and immediately see what worked and what didn't. With a basic 4GB card we had in the office I can take hundreds of photos (did I mention I bought my film in bulk and rolled it into empty canisters, 24 photos at a time? Uphill both ways?). After a weekend of playing I can see why the 50mm lives up to its reputation. It's amazing to have a tool in your hands that allows you to see the world in a different way. I'm also starting to see how having a good camera pushes you to publish more. My Flickr photostream has been buzzing with new photos all weekend and I'm pretty darn proud of how much of it I love. I think Andy Rush said it best: Here is a small selection of some of the shots I've grabbed so far of my daughter and around the office. I'm sure there's more to come as time goes on.