In every one of my Digital Photography 101 workshops I give students an assignment that strikes fear in the heart of many. I give students three weeks to find a photographer that inspires them and then give the class an oral report about that photographer.
The oral report is limited to two minutes per student. But the point of the assignment is not the oral report, it’s the research and exploration. The assignment is about discovery. Some students wait till the last minute and put a terrific oral report together the night before it’s due – but those students miss out.
I ask students to list the themes of their chosen photographer, look at their style, what type of lighting do they use, what is their subject, etc. Most importantly, I ask them why they identify with their photographer. I ask them to look at the photographers their photographer was inspired by. It’s awesome to see over the weeks how students make new connections and find photographers and styles that really inspire them.
One of my current students, Mark, did a bunch of research and when he found the photographer that he identified with, Tyler Stableford, he sent him an email and interviewed him. Tyler gave him a bunch of great information. Mark took the information and tried some new things. Mark gets it.
Today I was watching some TED videos and saw this talk by Adam Savage. Adam perfectly illustrates the objective of my assignment. Take a look and then get out there and enjoy the journey.