I was talking about photography with a colleague of mine at work a few days ago. She was asking for some advice on which DSLR camera to buy and if I knew any courses that might help her learn more and improve her photography. We went on talking for a while and mainly discussed about spending your money for something you were not so sure about – in her case photo classes. She was invited to join a course by some of her friends, but as she already knows the basic , she thought those classes might not be so useful.
So this lead me to think about whether photographic classes are really useful or not. If I think of me, I’ve never took any classes. When I bought my first DSLR camera I immediately started to experiment and take tons of pictures until I understood how to make it work, and then until I found my personal voice and style. Blogs, photo sharing websites, tips from friends, comments and critics from communities have been – and still are – a great source for improvement and inspiration.
Are photographic classes or workshops useless? I don’t think so at all. I would love to take part to some amazing workshops out there, and I will surely do one day (let me save money for the trip and the costs…). No only you learn more about a specific field of interest, but you also have the chance to connect with other photographer who are there for your same reason, and this makes sharing and discussions a lot easier.
I do think that in this digital era it is very much simpler to learn. Whether it is photography or anything that you are passionate about, you have the opportunities to discovers amazing worlds with just one click and connect with millions of people out there who are ready to help, suggest and teach you.
Internet is a challenge for all of us: it’s making us redefine old concepts, it’s forcing us to think differently. We still don’t know all the possibilities we will have, we are just at the beginning of a total different way of living and working. The key is sharing. Don’t be afraid to share your work and ideas, to help people grow and learn. Don’t think they are rivals and competitors, but work to find your own style and be unique. Surely copyright is important and recognizing the value of a work is vital, but don’t let fear prevail. Nobody can really steal your ideas or your style, you are unique and so is your work.
Helping each other is the greatest gift we could make to photography. And to us as human beings.