Yesterday, as the rain fell and the sounds of traffic on wet pavement crept through our open windows, I spent most of the day updating a presentation whose origins date back 20 years. Back then, it was based on 35mm slides shown on a cranky Kodak Carousel projector. Since that time, it has morphed to digital, first on PowerPoint, and finally to the superb Apple-based Keynote software.
Over time, the course has grown to include newer topics, as well as updated information. And, with each iteration of the presentation, the visual content has changed as my own photography has changed and grown.
One of the guiding principles to which I have assiduously stuck is that because we are talking about photography, it must be primarily visual in presentation. What better way to talk about and explain photographic principles than through images themselves? With almost 300 total slides, there are only 10 that are "bullet point" slides necessary to explain terms.
Where additional guidance is required, I use overlay animations on images to illustrate concepts. The result is a fully immersive graphic experience that 'shows' the viewer the principles, rather than having to read about them.
The almost wholesale change from film to digital equipment and media has also changed the course over the years, so that I now have a section devoted to workflow to help explain and guide participants through the steps they can follow for best results.
Entitled 'Composition, Creativity & Karma', the presentation is offered in three main parts:
Composition looks at the basic steps in framing an image for the best effect, and offers guidance and simple "rules" that yield the best results.
Creativity addresses ways in which equipment works and is best used, as well as discussing many different photographic subjects and how to effectively portray them.
Karma talks about the main natural factors that make our images come alive, such as weather, the 'decisive moment' and light itself.
The presentation is about 90 minutes in length, followed by Q&A to ensure that participants can feel satisfied with what they take away, which I hope, is a more complete understanding of photographic principles as they apply to what people shoot, or wish to shoot.
Technology marches on, and as I have evolved from using slides and a slide projector, then a video projector with a laptop computer, I can now use my iPad Air to hold and present the course! Previously when I tried this, the iPad wouldn't hold the entire file, and the apps just weren't up to showing it as it was designed on the desktop. (Now all I need is one of those tiny, pocket-sized projectors, and fit would all fit into a small bag... amazing!)
Years ago, forced into it, I found to my surprise, that I simply loved teaching! Not only that, but I'm good at it too (so I've been told). At one time, I had aspirations to do workshops as a money-making venture, but I've found that the real joy comes from offering this freely to schools, charities and community organizations. To that end, as we've just moved to North Van, I've offered it the the North Vancouver Arts Council, and I'm hoping that they will find an opportunity for me to present it soon.
There's a special joy to photography, and beyond that, there's an immense satisfaction in being able to mentor others to realize that joy. Knowledge cascading has always been a personal ethic and goal. I hope I can help teach and inspire others to experience the joy I feel whenever I pick up my cameras and venture forth.