I’ve been teaching photography part-time now for about 7 years.
I hope I’m improving as a teacher.
If I’m not, at least I know my photography has improved.
It was the last thing I would expect to happen.
Whenever I have a lesson in mind, I go over my image archives to find examples to illustrate concepts.
Then it occurred to me if I could setup a demo, wouldn’t that be much better?
It’s a lot more work because I have to get everything together from the props, models, the lighting equipment and possibly the backgrounds.
Then I have bring everything to class.
I know for a fact a lesson like that is far more engaging than me show ing a finished image and then talking about it afterwards.
There’s nothing quite like failing miserably in front of your students while trying to demonstrate a technique.
But failing in itself is a good lesson.
It’s great to be all slick and polished, but that requires a lot of practise and even rehearsing.
I trust in my skill enough these days and I’m confident I can quickly recover to show how it’s supposed to work.
If every demo worked perfectly each time, then students would never learn how to troubleshoot and fix the problem when they encounter it themselves.
Then there is the other issue, they need to see that even after supposedly years of experience, I still make mistakes.
Powerpoints presentations have their place but to subject students in a photography class to my monotone voice is cruel and unusual punishment.
The time always goes by faster for me when I do a demo.
Mind you, it’s not because I make the students wait while I set up.
It’s not about showing off either. Well, maybe it is a smidgeon.
As I write this, I’m feeling hungry. Can you tell?
I’ve always believed a good picture seldom needs explaining because we are visual creatures.
But to teach someone how to make a good picture requires a lot of thought into technique.
Do you agree?
By the way, I’ll be teaching 2 photography classes at the Riverside Art Museum in about 3 weeks.