Nurturing the artistic eye through the study of natural light and complimenting art forms
When I picked up a camera in 2011 I didn't know what I want to photograph, so I would spend hours on the internet gathering inspiration and feeding content to my brain; in hopes of regurgitating something pleasant in return. Eventually, I realized that as long as I was paying attention to light, I was finding something new in every single moment. So I completely shifted my focus onto capturing the interaction between light and various forms. It is now my belief that being completely aware of the light of "right now," you will realize your style, overcome creative blocks, expand your perspective, and evolve in your artistic approach.
I'm not here to turn you into a fashion photographer, or to pigeonhole you into a specific genre of photography. Neither am I here to promise you a career, commercial success, or a bright future. Your expression is already a part of you; our goal is to further and nurture its evolution.
In this course, we approach photography through the study and exploration of natural light with the help of complimenting art forms. With this foundation, we can photograph anything from fashion to food. No one can teach you how to see, how to feel, taste, hear or experience. You have your unique vision and expression; how you interpret and express is different than every single human that has lived under the same sun. My purpose here is to guide by sharing with you everything that has helped my personal artistic evolution. Realizations from Meditation, psychedelic explorations, conversations with others, learning through research and my from own mistakes, spending 10,000+ hours with a camera and documenting light, and clues I picked up along the way have I played a roll in shaping the course.
This course is designed to cater to all levels of expertise. Whether you are just starting out, thinking about switching to analogue or still shooting with a digital camera, have been shooting for a few years and feel stagnant, or consider yourself a professional but would like to evolve then this course is for you.
First, we’re going to set a foundation. We'll start with some general technical information to cater to those who are not familiar with the camera and its operations. Then we will go over things like when to consider color over black and white, choosing a lens, time of day and the types of light, analogue vs. digital cameras, patience, observation, and philosophy.
We then focus on geometric shapes; triangles, cubes, and circles. Here we approach the study of light through design, balance, and harmony by exploring geometry, patterns, and detail. Exploring beyond the surface where we find the nuances of movement and the vastness of a split-second.
We then turn our world into abstract relationships through practicing and incorporating synergy into our studies. This approach promotes thinking outside of the box to avoid creating the obvious and the expected. We will further explore synergy through the relationship between photography and music. Light and sound are different stages of the same vibration; on the same line just at various points.
From Synergy we onto the world of textures where we will study reflections. Through matte, gloss and semi-gloss surfaces we further our attention towards light. In this section, we will also begin reviewing light through the perspective of painters. Mood, space, perspective emotion, and drama through manipulating light and shadow. We will incorporate these studies into our photographic approach
Our last exploration will be portraiture. We will incorporate all of the lessons and inspirations we’ve gathered throughout the course, and apply them to creating a portraiture series.
We will conclude the course with a list of assignments inspired by real-world applications of our explorations.
There are assignments at the end of the modules that are designed to challenge and inspire new ways of thinking/approach. Since we are exploring other realms of art, these tasks are made to recreate real-life applications of these studies. Some of them might put you out of your comfort zone, and some will require to get out of the house and do stuff. They are one-time projects, but they are also practices. It is encouraged to explore them further after completion. We will not be focusing on how to establish a career as a photographer; however, the assignments are all based on real-life situations that you would encounter as a working artist.
Necessary information on the technical aspects of photography is already available on the internet. For things like understanding ISO, shutter speed white balance or other mechanical components I have provided links to videos/articles that cover those topics. So even if you are a beginner, you will find what you'll need to get you going, but keep in mind that this course is less technical and we won't be going over something like post-processing. It also includes the Analogue Photography course to get you started on film photography, should you be interested.
There's a dedicated social network on this platform that builds a community around a shared premise. As people take this course, a population will grow and act as a supportive hive. We will continually share our new work, support and further our development through this dedicated network. The advantage of doing a course like this over a physical workshop is that there are no restrictions on time and location. This way the information and support are always there.
The access to this course and community will remain open for one year from the day you start, and I encourage you to make use of this access by sharing new work or seeking support from everyone in the community as you continue with your journey. I will be available for one on ones during office hours for the duration of a quarter, and guidance for six months from the day you begin this course. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate in the mail (although it is not technically a formal qualification, it's still an excuse to send you something cool!).
Another addition to this course is a library of books, music, movies, videos, lectures, websites and art recommendations that provide a selection of threads to explore. These are things that inspired me along the way, and since this course is online, I will continue to add more and share as they come.
We can organize group discussions, or plan for live Q&A streams or live gatherings if there's a group interest.
For every 100 individuals that take this course, five will be given an artists grant of two thousand dollars each (based on skill, technique, ability to share with and give to others, goals/vision, etc.). Another five will receive funding of up to five hundred dollars each to upgrade equipment, purchase supplies, travel, whatever else photography/art related. Part of your tuition will also go towards replanting trees since we're going to be using some paper for the course. There will be an application process for both grant and funding once we reach the 100th person. As of March 2018, the fee for the course is $555. (payment plans are available for installments of two payments of $277.5; get in touch with me if you need to make payments)
I will be available to answer questions, critique work, give out pointers, tips, and direction but please do not expect to be spoon-fed information. I challenge you to rely on yourself so you can expand independently. Don't sign up for any photography course if you hope for someone to hold your hand the entire time! You are as part of this as I am. You will have to maintain motivation and patience. When we challenge our artistic eye, we are also questioning and expanding our overall perspective. So to change the way we see and capture light, we must be open to the possibility of change without fear and judgment.
It is recommended to have:
A camera: anything that can take a picture (except for flip phones, or any phones before 2011)
A Dropbox account
A Google account (for hangouts, calendar, etc.)
The Slack mobile or desktop application
Ability to put together PDFs (There are youtube videos that could help you)
Image processing app/software (Having InDesign would be a plus)
Access to a printer/scanner (or you could use an online print shop like Amazon)
Motivation, dedication, and open-mindedness
Ability to want and grow from criticism
What you can expect from me:
Critique and guidance
Personal/one-on-one interactions during the quarter (About ten weeks)
Response to your questions during office hours (Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Unless it falls on a holiday)
Sharing new work and talking about them through video/audio (if there's an interest)
An updated curation of material through the library that will provide opportunities for further explorations
I'd like the people who take this course to decide if they want audio, video components for specific sections or assignments. Otherwise, I won't overload you. This course is mostly text-based with the help of visual aids and references, but if you have suggestions for improvement, please do not hesitate to share them with me.
Shadowing, apprenticing, and accompanying an artist during their process is a great way to gain insight into ways of thinking and approach. A short film of a behind the scenes session with a model (not an instructional video) is currently in the works and should be available by August, 2018. The video will visually showcase directing a model, using natural light, texture, and pretty much everything we cover in the course.
We are documenters of light and what we communicate through it is an endless spectrum of probabilities. Injustice, beauty, love, grief, hope, lust or love are all melodies we get to create through our use of light. Mastering light is mastering ourselves. It is paying attention while becoming harmonious with a rhythm through light, and that rhythm is the music of the universe.
To pay attention we have to be slow, gentle, open, and innocent. Without ambition, without fear, judgment, or thought. When an artist is in a creative zone, they feel a sense of weightlessness afterward. It feels like a cleanse. What they've removed is the attachment to time, which is another word for 'thought.' Observing, exploring and documenting light is a key for the photographer to reach a state that is outside of the boundaries of their minds, trends, and time; giving way for pure inspiration to flow through.
Photography is a tool that can expand our perspective, and by focusing our attention on the most straightforward/common denominator in photography, light, we practice the craft while also allowing inspiration for further explorations to come through. We overcome our creative blocks. This outlook has become a truth for me.
Note: this course is non-refundable unless life-altering circumstances arise.
This course is for those who are serious and confident that they can expand with my help. The course for those who wish to evolve independently while intaking inspiration, guidance, and support. It's not my place to make promises about what you will achieve with your photography, that is up to you.