thinking with pictures

Seeing pictures; taking, speaking them, too

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photo projects at 4-H fair 2015, ribbons awaded

photo projects at 4-H fair 2015, ribbons awarded

The walls covered in photo exhibits for the Clinton County 4-H Fair carried a limited number of subjects undertaken by the club or clubs (groups of young people together with adult or mentoring older youth helpers). Most if not all were presented in tasteful mattes and neat labels and tended to put a single subject in the center frame, isolated from context and with uninteresting lighting. For amateurs the first steps in seeing compositions is to spot a subject that catches the eye and then figure out the technical mastery to capture it somehow. As experience deepens, so does the complexity of vision one is capable of imagining and indeed the connections that are invisible but still perceptible, like the movement of tide, change in seasons, or the relationship of main subject to surroundings at the moment the shutter is released, or in the flow of time as it connects to something previous or yet to come. Hopefully the volunteer leaders have a long lasting and deep love of light and photography so that kids who went through the year of club activities and lessons and projects will want to persevere rather than to stop and check off their list of skills by marking “yes, I can take pictures now.” First comes seeing compositions, then taking or making pictures, and finally gaining some fluency in the language of light, both to hear it and to speak it. “Hearing” the light means to pause and quiet one’s mind in order to carefully consider the light in all its characteristics, whether in shadow, reflection or brightest values. “Speaking” light means to identify the parts of the light expression to which one can reply, respond or dwell upon by careful choice of composition and so on.


Author: gpwitteveen

Better Outreach is my aim. See to know more.

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