August 27, 2009

Summer in the City - London through the Lens

I've been interested in photography since I was 3, when my father gave me a vintage Hasselblad. I instinctively knew how to operate it, and have been producing gallery-standard shots ever since.

Of course this isn't true, but it seems to be the story of a few photographers I've read about. Truthfully, I took one semester of photography in Year 10 at High School with my parent's film SLR, got a Canon IXUS 30 when I was 18, and bought my Canon EOS 400D just over 1 year ago. I cannot lie, this camera was what got me a bit shutter-happy to begin with, and now it weighs me down wherever I go. It is by no means the best thing out there, but the jump from the little pocket IXUS to this thing is worth it if you can (a) afford it, and (b) be bothered to learn how to use it.

I knew where the shutter button was, got my head around the Auto Focus and I could remember some of the basics of composition. I started reading about photography on the internet, looking at LOTS of photographer's portfolios, and spending time in the Travel section of book stores. I played around on my computer for hours, but there were still so many buttons and functions and I wanted to be better.

And so I arrived in London on July 19, having enrolled in Summer School at Central Saint Martins, part of the University of Arts. Apparently some very fine graduates have been produced here, so I thought a week's worth of instruction wouldn't hurt (bank balance excluded). We had classes from 10am till about 2pm each day, where we covered some of the fundamentals with a focus on Travel Photography. In the afternoon, we were given assignments to complete, which we did on our own. The following morning we brought our prints into class to be critiqued by the teacher and our peers.

The class was small and there was plenty of feedback for each student, which I think was the most valuable part. I did learn a few new buttons and now have a much better grasp on combining the different aspects (focal length, shutter speed, ISO, etc) to achieve in pixels the images I have in my head. The above pictures were my submissions each day, and I am pretty pleased with the results. Of course, I took more than 6 pictures, and part of the challenge is selecting the ones that best relate the story you are trying to tell.

I also now have a portfolio that I completed after I returned to Edinburgh from London, because printed photos are so much better than digital ones!

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