I, thankfully, took a photography class a few years ago, not because I needed encouragement or more photos, but because I needed better photos. I expected to learn how to use a camera, but we found out right away we would not, but that we would learn how to find visual opportunities and avoid mistakes. I still need to learn how to use my camera, for real, but did learn how to do a few things. The assignments seemed simple but were not.

we had to take photographs outside – in winter

Then we had to photograph nature. Still winter … I did ok. But at the time, I was working full-time, taking a Photoshop (disastrous) class, and traveled to see family.

black + white photography outside was next

I liked it so much I did the following assignment in both color and black and white, but handed in black and white photographs only. The task was to photograph someone we knew. I chose a friend, but it was weird, strange more like it, as we weren’t taking pictures for fun — although we did have fun — but it felt like a business or contractual thing. I have to do this, would you agree? One photograph, in particular, was stunning. It just happened, and it was her idea! The whole class smiled and commented when it appeared on the screen. Yes, all the handed-in photographs were put on display for review.

next assignment: not so good

We were to photograph a total stranger. Only another student in the class didn’t do it. =\ I couldn’t bring myself to ask a stranger, although I did on the first assignment — a young kid in the street in Providence. I wished I had taken more of him, but I hadn’t. Anyway, not completing this assignment kept me from a better grade, which is not why I went to class, but nevertheless … might have robbed me of an opportunity to do something out of the blue. I so like out of the blue.

last assignment: self-portraits

How on earth! It was the hardest assignment but ended up being the most fun. Therefore, I have quite a few photos of myself. High-grade selfies. This is my long way of telling the short story about the pictures above.

I took the class to have images for my website, book covers, anything I’d want to create, and therefore rely less on other artists’ photos, but I still purchase photos, although not nearly as many if I didn’t have my own. Granted, I already had thousands of digital photographs, not counting printed ones, before the class. But to go public and out there with only them is another story. Looking through images has made me appreciate the ones I have, helps me take better photographs, widens my horizons (how cursi!). Oops, that’s Spanish for sentimental, corny  —  oof, a story for another day.