Photography Courses: Developing Your Craft

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Photographers are everywhere these days, because phones are everywhere. Not only can children as young as eight or nine take crystal-clear snaps with their 8-megapixel camera phones (which they can then use to upload them), but every man and his dog can now create evocative, artsy, light-bleached images thanks to apps such as Instagram.

Yes, photography has become a truly democratised medium. There is no way to avoid the fact, and there is probably no point in confronting it.

Photography Courses: What You’ll learn

For the purists though, pointing and clicking a camera phone is a far cry from what real photography is all about. The plethora of shiny new features that are programmed into mobile devices remove the bespoke craft of the medium because they take care of it all for us. Issues such as aperture and shutter speed settings no longer thwart us from producing high-quality images, but then we haven’t really crafted them at all. It is like bashing out a barely coherent paragraph on a keyboard, allowing some piece of software (MS Word ) to correct the articulation, grammar and spelling, and so on, and then believing that you have produced an elegant piece of prose.

When photos are taken and digitally altered for us, they begin to take on a similar quality to one another and the idiosyncrasies that distinguish one photographer from the next become less apparent. Learning the intricacies of photography might take time, but it is time well spent. It allows the person behind the camera to reappear, to re-assert their control over the image.

Digital Vs Film

All this is not to suggest that learning about photography entails traveling back in time – this is not at all the case. Almost all professional and skilled amateur photographers now use digital cameras and will later utilise additional software to manipulate their images. The difference, however, is that they have a greater sense of technique, composition and technology, and this knowledge gives them greater creative freedom to produce the pictures they want.

If you’d be interested in seeing some examples of what it is possible to achieve when imagination, insight and technique are working together, then pay a visit, if you can, to the Photo Ireland Festival website, which will provide listings of all the events occurring around the country (that is, in 40 locations across Dublin, Limerick and Cork). The festival runs until the end of July.


Frank Bolger

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