What kind of projects do you run for students beginning photography?
I try to have them look closely at their experiences to realise what they are trying to show in their pictures. They go around the world looking at it and there are things they find themselves paying attention to, repeatedly. There is a certain feeling that they link with the thing that they pay attention to. This is nothing to do with whether they make a picture out of it or not; the linkage of the feeling with what they saw is the best clue I know of. If that happens enough and you are not photographing it, you're ignoring your subject. If the two events do not coincide, maybe photography is not your medium. The thing is to try to help them find out what their subject really is. Now, the subject is not the object out there in the world; it is the object, plus how it looks under a particular circumstance, how they feel about it and what they link with it in their memory. If they eventually arrive at a point where they can have enough memory of what they felt when this event occurred, they can make a much truer appraisal of the picture than anybody else in the world.
Henry Holmes Smith
Dialogue with Photography, Paul Hill & Thomas Cooper
- Ricoh GXR A12