What I Learned In Photo Class Is...
Entertainment

What I Learned In Photo Class Is...

[sweating] what I learned in photo class is...

12
Emily Prechtl

I think it's safe to say that I've learned a lot. This past semester, my most time-consuming class has been Introduction to Photography. I'd never had the time to take a photo class during high school, so other than a brief darkroom workshop sponsored by the photography club last fall, I was going in blind. By the end, I had spent over $45 on additional rolls of film, around $125 on film paper (each page goes for $1, and with a picky professor, you fly through test strips like nobody's business), and several hours a week in the darkroom outside of class just to keep up.

I'm more of a digital girl -- most of my work involves the good ol' "point and shoot", and the click of a few buttons take care of the rest. I'm still trying to figure out the abundance of Adobe programs to help with retouching, but I'm surviving.

But this photo class was about more than just how the shutter works. Especially in regards to unloading film in the dissociating pitch-black, a lot of literal blood, sweat, and tears went into my work. There was something calming about the feeling of popping open the back of the camera, or snapping it shut again, or the fear and anticipation when I would open the tank and unwind my film after developing, or when a print finally, finally came out just the way I wanted it to. By the end, diluting potentially toxic chemicals felt like routine.

I learned that I can't be afraid to start over, that putting a half-inch filter and a one-inch filter together does not equate to that missing one-and-one-half-inch filter, and that my own style will end up being just that -- my own.

I learned that a blurry isn't always bad --

-- and that there doesn't have to be a 'why' when I take photos; even the greatest of the greats and the deadest of the dead (see: Cunningham and Stieglitz) recalled how the lenses of their cameras were guided by "an unknown force". I see something beautiful and, without quite knowing why it's beautiful, capture it and stuff it in a jar.

I'll miss the Friday nights when I'd stay until eleven, twelve, one in the morning. I might not miss the smell of developer on my fingers, or the vinegary tang of stop fluid, or the filters that were too big to fit in my enlarger slot. But I'll miss the feeling of really creating something, of transferring the image by hand onto something I can keep as scraps of memories around the house or hand down to someone I love.

My final critique for the Intro class was a collection of fifteen photos that focused on different interpretations of femininity. There were pictures of my mom, disheveled, on the couch in her pajamas, holding her face and staring into the mirror; pictures of flower-crowned-girls in the Wellesley greenhouse, gesturing to spiky cacti extending to the ceiling; pictures of girls bending over one another and holding each others' chins in their hands as they applied facepaint to their cheeks and up their arms. It started a long discourse on how we see women, how we see ourselves, and how we see people who don't always identify with the traditional feminine image. I was surprised more with myself than with my classmates; I was challenged to see beyond the superficial image and ask "why" repeatedly: Why did I choose these images? Why did I place these two images next to each other? Why doesn't this image fit with the rest of the set? Why am I never quite satisfied?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month, A Reminder We Need Even More In Quarantine

You're going through something brand new — that's worth talking about.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This isn't new to 2020, but oh man, if we ever needed a reminder about the importance of mental health, now is the time. With different states all over the place in regard to stay-at-home orders, phased reopenings, and a "new normal," we're experiencing conflict, fear, changes, and unknowns that can easily trigger mental struggles we already have or spark feelings we've never had before. Yes, May is always Mental Health Awareness Month, but in quarantine, that need for positive mental health is taken to a whole new level.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Everyone is LOVING "Outer Banks," as you've probably heard. And if you haven't caught the hype for the show yet, these articles will definitely give you a taste of what you're missing.

If you already have seen and fallen in love with the teen heartthrob crew, you need to get on board with some of these theories for season two!

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 11 Face Masks On Etsy Support Small Businesses While Fighting The Spread Of Coronavirus

We're staying safe as states start lifting lockdown guidelines.

I, like most people who have had the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time, haven't spent much time outdoors at all. But when I do brave the great outdoors for a walk or to get to the grocery store, you won't find me without a mask.

My family and I were lucky enough to have family friends who were sewing some and had extras to give to us, but most of my friends and loved ones outside my immediate family have had to order some (or make a makeshift one out of scarves or bandanas).

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

13 Reasons We're Using Quarantine As The Ultimate Excuse For Online Shopping This Month

The one thing we haven't distanced from is our bank account.

Throughout quarantine, I've been FaceTiming most of my friends in a full turtleneck or the go-to cozy sweater I keep wrapped around the chair in my room. Either way, I always have tea in my hands to keep myself warm — till this past week.

For most of the country who hasn't had the luck of quarantining in 90-degree weather on their family's lake house or with a backyard pool, things began to change this month. Our favorite shows came out with summer seasons, the sun came out, and we started spending more time outside.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Morgan Wooten To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

Morgan Wooten

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
HBO Max

If you are a normal person who spends most of their time streaming TV shows, you'll know that "Friends" was taken off Netflix early in 2020. Given that a global pandemic followed shortly after, many diehard fans of the show stuck in quarantine have been experiencing significant Central Perk withdrawal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments