Is Photography A Learnable Skill and Art Form? Or Self-Learning Is The Actual Way To Progress In Photography!
Many believe photography is a pure skill and can't be learned or taught as other disciplines of recreation. But some believe that learning owns a significant share in successful photography.
Is photography learnable? The answer wouldn't be as straightforward as it might seem. The history of camera invention and the evolution of photography show the possibility of images in various aspects of culture. However, it has an obscured impact on both nature and culture, which is entirely unspecified and could be consequential
Some pioneers endorsed photography as art! They took extreme liberty in depicting subjective experiences through their magnificent artworks. Saul Leiter, one of the frontiersperson of photography said, "I may be old-fashioned. But I believe there is such a thing as a search for beauty - a delight in the nice things in the world. And I don't think one should have to apologise for it."
He disregarded the provision of encountering the truth in images all the time. Leiter backed the idea of finding pleasure in the appearance of moments, which was against the contemporary notion of verismo. However, he never articulated photography with painting directly as he believed both means have their unique abilities. He described photography as a medium for finding beauty and art as the means of recreating beauty. Also, the father of Art Photography H P Robinson showcased some brilliant works to establish photography as a new-age art medium.
Nevertheless, some pioneers were against this perspective and used this medium as an instrument to reveal the truth. The truth could be melancholy, brutal and sometimes mentally disturbing. But it must be significant for the balance of social structure. From Robert Capa to James Nachtwey, everyone tried to unveil the dark reality of culture. Capa's Magnum, one of the pioneering organizations advocated photography as a way of seeing the uncomplicated truth.
Whatever approach you choose, history reveals that there is a vast scope of learning in photography. All the pioneers of photography were categorized into two discrete groups. Regardless of their differences in opinion, they were the same in one place, which was finding a purpose in photography. And all of these are inseparable from the learning part of photography.
Photographers may start photography purposelessly and discover a purpose with time and experience. Whereas some start with a definite goal. The purpose might deviate from one topic to another. The objective might also advocate different styles of photography. Some may pursue it as a passion and some as a profession. But, in every slant of photography, learning is indivisible.
Different means of different photographs have such complexities that might require organized learning. Otherwise, one might miss all the advantages that the pioneers already scripted for future-generation photographers.
In the analogue age of photography, acquiring technical and functional photography skills was the utmost important step to get into it. Learning the skills was challenging and time-consuming without a proper mentor though.
However, in the age of digital photography, the hassle of developing a film is missing. Nowadays, anybody can become a photographer just from the day of purchasing a camera. However, we don't acknowledge them as a photographer rather we would love to define them as a cameraman. And it's not shameful to be identified as a cameraman as this phase is indispensable to becoming a successful photographer.
All cameraman evolves into a photographer with experiment and experience; Continuous experimentation is the only key to success as it gives us the opportunity of observing facts. But the dark truth about the experiment is that it is biased. Knowledge and information can impact the level of experience one achieves through observation. People who experiment with fundamental understanding can learn faster. Also, they can observe many more shades of an experiment.
Therefore, achieving a fundamental understanding is essential in photography. You can achieve it anywhere from friends, family, and professional trainers. However, never forget to double-check the progress, as the subjective experience of learning can be unreal sometimes. Take the reference of history as it has immense potential to guide your direction. Share your idea with unbiased visionaries of different domains.
Never think of photography learning as a camera and lens learning subject, as most novice trainers claim. History, literature, art, anthropology, sociology, psychology, clinical psychology and a bunch of other disciplines hold a significant share in photography education.
In the analogue age of photography, learning skills were important as film development and manipulation were not easy. But, except for the skills, there was a significant space for learning the language of an image. Henry Fox Talbot, Ansel Adams, W. Eugene Smith, Dorothea Lange, Henri Cartier-Bresson and many other forefathers published several books that could also guide you on this path.
However, as responsible learners, we shouldn't only rely on those texts merely. Develop a practice in you about discovering more facts about this wonderful medium. Don't state photography as completely subjective as that limits the scope of learning.
Not only in photography but in any subject, there shouldn't be a gap between knowing and unknowing. Otherwise, negligence towards learning will occupy that gap being subjective experience. An image speaks a thousand words- it's true for obvious reasons. But how it's communicating with the brain is purely and certainly a matter of learning, that can't be self-taught easily.
Hence, learn, practice, observe, and repeat to explore the endless possibilities of digital photography. Share your insight with others as the globe has been facing a visual crisis where countless images fly across the globe through the internet, which is also affecting the global culture in different ways. Understanding the impact of these images on the human mind and intelligence and society as well is the utmost important concern of society. Perceive photography not merely as a learned skill but endow it with a responsibility that might cast a profound impact in the larger framework of the world.
In conclusion, it can be said that photography is not only a learnable discipline but a wonderful medium to explore deeper facts for the betterment of society. Enjoying the mystic language of visuals is one part but that shouldn't be an excuse to escape the possibility of learning. Since there is no end to this mystic world, so is photography, where many perspectives appear to open up the road to further understanding and unveiling the mysticism in art and photography as well.