A little on learning

by simonrleach

So this week I started with a few trips to The Photography Show and I will finish with presenting lighting workshops at Sheffield Hallam, looking at some studio lighting with a group of degree students. This got me thinking, there has never before been such an availability and variety of photographic education.

Now don’t jump to conclusions! I am not about to wade in on slating the inadequacies or benefits of courses today. Remember we ALL start at the bottom. I started knowing nothing, I have learnt through apprenticeship and formal courses. I have been blessed with some of the most patient and persistent teachers/photographers that ever existed. I am forever grateful to them and I trust they know it.

No, my thoughts were turned to thinking about how as a photographer, or film maker, I/we should never stop learning. That we should educate and encourage ourselves and others not to do the basics and never move on, but to keep exploring, keep sharing and keep learning. Just because you have completed ‘X’ course does not mean you are done. Personally I feel it should not be seen as demeaning to any ‘teacher’ or course to admit that their ‘student(s)’ will not learn everything there is to learn before they go their separate ways. In fact I venture further to say that in creative media such as photography we can never be taught everything by another person, we have to learn to teach ourselves as well.

We should be guided and we should seek opinion. We can be taught core techniques and the basis of ideas, we can be encouraged and we can be inspired, but we cannot be spoon-fed into become the ultimate photographer. We all have to motivate ourselves into taking the next step to move forward. To make the best of ourselves as photographers we need a little instinct and the desire to keep learning.