Can You Teach Anyone To Become a Great Photographer?

Welcome to the weirdest start to a show! Yeah, we talk a lot about whether or not we can teach practically anyone to be a great photographer, but we need to get past Tony’s gout and whether it’s more painful than childbirth. Rick and Rob, having experienced neither, can only sit back and make smart-ass comments. But hey, we’re good at that.

The guys get into the whole question about what makes a great photographer and whether or not that’s something you can actually teach. We can certainly learn technical details and techniques, but that’s only half of the photographic equation. The other half is about vision, creativity, and style.

How can we teach?

In today’s episode, we use a lot of cooking references because it’s totally applicable. Rick went to cooking school and learned to be a chef; not because he learned to follow a recipe, but because he was given the information to develop his own recipes. But, if he didn’t have the character type to know how to use that information, he’d be stuck with a bunch of lessons that he would never be able to use.

Yeah, we can teach people great techniques, we can teach people to learn the technical aspects of their gear, but if a person isn’t a photographer at the start of their career then they won’t be a photographer at the end of their career. In other words, you are or you’re not and, if you are, then the tools and techniques you learn will help you evolve.

Can you teach someone to be creative?

Can you teach someone to be creative?

What can we teach?

All of the how-to, one-day classes are pretty much technique-based. From the lesser quality “stand here, set your camera to this, and then shoot” to the better quality classes where you are taught why you set your camera to particular settings, we still just teach technique. For Rob, the question becomes one of ‘how can we teach the abstract qualities that classes miss?’

How can we develop photographers into the artists they were meant to be?

Maybe we can teach people how to free up their creativity once more. Remember when you were 8 and you could draw the coolest looking dinosaur in a jungle? Perhaps we can teach people to find that within themselves again…

Today’s artists:

We look at an excellent food photographer, Helen Grace Ventura Thompson. Her work on photographing the final meals from death row is one of the most poignant fine art sets that we’ve seen.

Tony brings up his favorite street artist from England, Banksy.

Oh, and please remember to fill out our listener survey!

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