This week we started the photography portion of the Muons Art Class!

We started with some quick background, by asking everyone to think of an example of a photo they have seen in the past week. We talked about photography is very present in our lives.

I suggested we think about photography a little like we think of writing. When you know how to write, you can use it in your personal life, or you can use it professionally,  you can use it to make groceries lists and write emails in daily life, but you can also use it to write poems, songs, or novels. You can write, or you can read and appreciate other people’s writing. There is a wide range of possibilities. The same is true for photography.

We looked at the work of a few photographers as a sample (very briefly and we didn’t worry about names, but it included Architecture Digest, Petra Collins, Gordon Parks, William Eggleston, Harry Callahan, Marisa Angel Brown, Ernest C. Withers, Rodrigo Oliveira, Annie Leibovitz):

I talked briefly about the time I worked as a photographer and showed them some of my photographs.

I told them that throughout the class we will learn a little bit of the technical side (operating the camera) as well as composition (which is present independent of equipment). The technical side can be a little trick in the beginning, and it is totally fine/ normal for it to take a little while to get it. It takes practice, and it is a little like riding a bike.

We began with the technical side. We took some beakers to the kitchen to offer a way to think about three elements of exposure (amount of light in a photograph): 

  • how much you open the faucet (trickle or gush) = aperture;
  • how long you leave it open = shutter speed
  • size of the beaker = ISO (film/sensor sensitivity)

We took a look at our cameras and set them to manual. We will be in manual mode for the rest of the course.

Art: Introduction to Photography