Dipping into photography

My ‘perceptual consciousness’ is literally buzzing with learning stuff today. I’m writing this a little late tonight as I’ve just got home from a photography course at The Artworks in Halifax. More about this another day as I’ve yet to process all the information which is competing for my brain space at the moment. Oh, I will just mention though that on the website link above you’ll see that there’s a photography exhibition coming up very soon.

However, I do feel that the two photography courses I’ve done at The Artworks: Beginners and Intermediate, although I like to call the last one the ‘Not quite such a beginner course,’ have been true examples of experiential learning. I’m using Tom Boydell’s definition here, ‘ the learner is involved in sorting things out for himself’ through consciously generating cognitions, affects and conations. I identify with Boydell giving the student some responsibility, especially for the why, the purpose. I also just love the image of ideas as non-physical realities, flying about inside one’s mind and how this confusion is the very essence of the learning process. I’ve written before about troublesome learning spaces. I admit to being seriously confused by the buttons and menu systems on my DSLR camera. It’s taken me  8- 10 weeks to learn focussing, and this isn’t a reflection on the tutor or the course, it’s just that I needed experience and time for it to become internalised and part of me. Paul had lesson plans and objectives for each session, but as we began to share our images we discovered photographers, art, how to see beauty in images and developed the confidence to go out and take photographs. I’m sure we learnt far more through our meanderings and serendipitous conversations than he’d initially identified in those plans!

The goals set have been invaluable; week 1 let’s go out and take some photographs and then come in and share the one we like the best. How scary is that? It’s the first week! The homework that week was off the scary scale: take 36 photos. But guess what, most of us did! The following week the homework was to take just 1 photo. I know what you’re thinking “Simples,” but we were expected to explain the composition. The thing is that most of us have done our homework and, may have 3 photos to display in the forthcoming exhibition. Imagine that. After just 12 weeks! This has been a course where we’ve had a sharing and supportive climate. We look at each other’s photos every week and my fellow students and Paul see things in them we haven’t seen ourselves. We can be critical, but there’s always a reason for a photograph not quite ‘doing it,’ and we are beginning to see why.

I think we all ‘tuned in.’ Paul, created a climate where he knew and sensed what was needed. We ‘tuned in’ to Paul.

Oh! I mustn’t forget to mention coming across Fibonacci’s numbers. Paul did warn us that there’s a lot of maths in photography.

I realise I need to include a photo or two now, so here you are.

Media City_          Market St fashion window

The curious incident of words landing in my notebook: A pedagogy of wonder

Words are never still. Words I scrawled during a recent talk by Dennis Atkinson have unexpectedly led me to the foot of a formidable ridge. There’s no rhythm, no boundaries, just sharpness, jagged edges, escarpments and sheer verticals. I’m struck by the form of the words which have landed in my notebook. They are not smooth peaceful words they’re active, sharp, direct action words, and I wonder what they are communicating about the world of teaching and learning. I believe that words work physical magic, creating ‘Castles in the air,’ landscapes, maps, architecture and spaces. Words shape how people think, feel and judge who and what we are. As John Humphrys states; words and “language reflect back to us the way we live.” Continue reading