« Should Every Photographer Try Film Once? | Main | $1000 Off! »

Wednesday, 20 June 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Mike, ever think of putting together a summer program for your idea? I would approach several of the major Media/Photographic workshops, the one in Maine strikes me as a good one. They may bring you on board as part of their summer offerings, maybe just a condensed version of your idea?
I would certainly be intrigued and Maine is not too far for you to spend your summers ? Just sayin

Would you take me to your school?

Why require medium-format digital cameras? Aside from creating potentially more robust files for post-processing, what is the point of forcing students to incur even more debt, especially given their limited employment prospects upon graduation?

I'm asking because as the owner of a medium-format digital outfit that hasn't been used much lately relative to my A7R outfit, I have learned they are not the best choice for every purpose nor are they the best fit with every photographer's individual needs.

Good plan. But wouldnt any off-the-shelf, sold -for-a-dime SLR with a 50mm lens be more usable and also cheaper for a beginner?

The more practical and potentially lucrative curriculum would teach people how to set up a for profit training website on how to become a professional photographer.

Why not convert this into an online course and offer it to your readers? I’d be happy to sign up if I could afford your tuition… the price of Leicas and digital medium format cameras obviously being the other part of the problem. Still, sounds like a course I would love to take!

Sign me up! Sounds like lots of fun and I would be sure to learn all kinds of stuff. (Perhaps you could devise an internet version to reduce student living costs?) And I wouldn't be worried about the lack of job prospects at the end, as I'm already retired.

In my opinion.

Photography began when the first light formed image was fixed.

Historically there have been two types of photography, chemical and electronic but both rely on light and time and the fixing of an image.

At my "Academy Of Light Formed Images" we would start with chemical, building our own cameras with pinholes, exposing film or paper developing in a dark room, creating unique fixed images.

That is how it begins.

Sounds like REALLY big fun, but if the ultimate objective is to materially increase the number of truly great photographic images in the world (and it may not be), you might be better off spending the time and money on discovering unpublished geniuses who are now 70ish or older. I tend to agree with Harlan Ellison that their are no Great American Novels sitting unread in home office desks, but I'm certain that is not true for great photography.

Please can you come and write the course material for my BA Hons Photography, Mike? I am weary of referencing Barthes, Sontag et al and being told that there's no such thing as a good photograph.

This is a great idea.

You've already created the syllabus. All you need now are some videos that you make yourself or crowdsource from TOP readers on each lesson or topic.

It's not going to be an earner for anyone but it could be the best online shortcourse for serious students.

It could be completely free or you could monetize it through YouTube pre-roll ads.

You will never become King of the World while blaming Butters for your hearing loss, but Butters may!

Looks like these will have to be rich students - Leica, iPhone X(or 8), med format digital + lenses. Which struggling photo students will be able to afford all these + processing film, or will your graduate program have a healthy endowment to fund everything?

Okay - I'd like to sign up for the inaugural class.

Ahem...I assume there are some scholarships available to help defray the cost of all of these different cameras and lenses ...

Forwarding this to a friend who is a photography instructor.

I love your idea Mike. But – of course there was always going to be a but – if I was the Grand Pharaoh in charge of everything, I would insist that in that first film-Leica semester, the students would have to do the darkroom section but with close supervision and assistance from a master printer. The key would be for them, after creating a proof-sheet, having to choose one and only one photo from each shoot to perfect a print. The uberprintermentor could well do a lot of that hands-on finessing, progressively giving over more and more control to the student as their skills and judgement improve. With this method a student would realise their passion, and care for their craft in a way that would help them find their own voice. There is something about physically creating an image oneself, instead of delegating it to an unseen process, that accelerates creativity and personal development.

If I should ever win the lottery, I'd finance such a course on the condition that I get to be _in_ the class. Because if I did win the lottery, I'd presumably have enough to spare that afterwards I could use those skills you taught without worrying about rent and food money O_o

That said, given how incredibly much I've learned just from your blog, I can only wistfully imagine how great a delight it would be to become your student.

Good luck with that...

I have some ideas for journalism that similarly stand zero chance of becoming reality.

What you are describing sounds like combined B.F.A......and M.F.A...... To get into an M. F. A. program these days....you have to have a very coherent portfolio....and statement.....and a B.A.....or B.F.A....

Sounds like a terrific undergraduate exercise. Graduate peeps should be pushing t’ aesthetic... not flat earth followers on a field trip? My MFA hangs just below the new moon painted on the outhouse dOOr!

YB Hudson III

I like your curriculum, except for the Leica part, which I don't understand. What can I learn with a Leica and a 50 mm lens that I can't learn with, say, a Nikkormat ftn and a nikkor 50? Or a Canon Ae1? These are fine, plentiful, inexpensive cameras that can do everything described in your curriculum. I really am curious: what is it about a Leica that's absent in a Pentax, Minolta, Olympus, Canon, Yashica, or Nikon?

Hi Mike,

I'm usually in tune with the way you think, but this column has me mystifief. It's so focused on tools without any regard for content. I would suggest a completely different approach of studying the great masters of art and photography and leaving the tool up to the student. Let them spend a few months trying to create still lifes, experimenting with lighting and different cameras. Then, move on to portraiture, landscape, fashion, conceptual art, etc. The tool is secondary to artistic intent. Let the students find their artistic calling and then figure out the tool that works for them.

Sounds like a great two years, except after the initial single lens stent they should be using zoom lenses instead of w/n/t.

Sorry Mike, this would never work. 50mm is just the wrong focal length [sarcastic grin].

Does "Academic Recognition" really matter, at least to start with? You could run something like this as an online club with an appropriate subscription payable quarterly to cover start-up costs and the time you spend on it. If the idea works it would probably grow fast enough to attract serious backing.

That's a curious curriculum. It's all about making pictures, viewing pictures, printing pictures, but nothing about what the photographer can say with the pictures. Or learn. Or cause others to feel. I haven't had this sort of an education, so I don't know if students arrive with a clear and realistic objective in mind about what photographic skills could mean to them, but I doubt it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that part of your 2-year curriculum. It would be absolutely critical to the final project.

Polish this prospectus a bit and post it on KickStart. There have bee worse ideas that have been funded. The worst that can happen is that you don't meet your goal and you'll be right where you are now - jw

I just don't see the point of going "back in time" to shoot with film ..if you're running a car-building course would you have them build their own spoked cartwheels first? ..And it seems especially daft to use C-41 colour-chemistry XP2 film, as that completely misses the simplicity of develop-fix-wash silver-based film. (Why not have them shoot Polaroid if you're going to short-circuit any learning about development?)

My photography didn't blossom till I used a Canon 300D digital SLR (having begun with film in 1954). Not restricted to 36. Didn't have to wait for development. Infinitely variable with instant feedback. Should new drivers have to learn on one of those old tractors before being allowed behind a car wheel? What's this obsession for teaching the 'past'?

Your smartphone module just might be practical if you ran it as an entirely online course. Might even make you some money, though it would probably kill this blog due to time constraints :-(

Shoot with a Leica and 50mm lens....later add a wide angle and telephoto....
From your description I assume these are wealthy students.

What’s wrong with a Ricoh KR5 with a 50 f2 and then later a 28 and 135, you know, as an option for the majority of potential students.
I would have said a 85 or 100 but again, much harder to find for a reasonable price.
I dunno, maybe I’m working from incorrect assumptions, based solely on my own income demographic.

Dear Mike
You said something like:

I wish I had some actual power in the world. I wish I were in charge of something I knew about. I think I'd be good at it-I have lots of ideas.....

Ummm, sounds to me like the world famous TOP Major Entity, and IMHO your wishes have come true ! Congratulations are in order, since not everyone gets to have their wishes come true. Just sayin', as we say.

The strength of this is that it fits you so well. From that position guidance forward is integrated and comprehensive.

Seems to be the same argument every time you post about the one lens, one camera, one-year using a Leica. Ought a cut and paste a standard response.

This actually sounds like an interesting course, and yes, with the iPhone portion included. It's about photography after all.

You could, had you time or an assistant, run a discount course for the old fellows who either cannot accept that an iPhone could be used to take a decent photo or refuse to try. Substitute a poetry section on tones, grain structure, and the "transparentness" of film prints.

One of the big attractions for all would be the lack of need to worry about money. I'd quit my job, rent a private jet, and tool around in my classic Datsun 240z, and spend weekends doing my photography homework in either a 1957 Ford Thunderbird or a 1972 era Toyota Land Cruiser.

Re your answer to Ilkka;

"Leica Mistique"?!?!

I cannot believe the man who wrote the article
"The 50mm Lens and Metaphysical Doubt" could utter that.

And, "People Like Leicas" from just 3three weeks ago. Wherein you write, "...the majority of hobbyists and enthusiasts who try to like rangefinders...don't."

So, why start out with what the 'majority' don't like. TTL framing on the other hand just makes more sense, and if you want to get a little closer even the most pedestrian 50mm SLR lens focuses down to a field size of about 7X11 inches, try that with a Leica mounting a fifty. And getting close is what some people 'choose to do with their photography' and that, as you argued to Ken T. should be up to the student, why limit them to subjects no closer than three feet.

Ok, rant off. But...a Nikkormat FT2 with a 50mm f2 Nikkor beats the socks off a Leica M for versality, is much more rugged, and, if students cannot learn "the means and skills to do their work" with that, then a Leica just ain't going to help.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007