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Silos at Sunset

Flickr and you guys are my students, my peers and my teachers: at once, all and the same. The last few days, and this image, illustrate that for me. 95th St. & South Chicago Avenue, Chicago. A spot I visit often; each time with new eyes, especially if I’ve been talking with some of you. ~ View On Black


Teaching & Learning: When I have a photo class, I send the students out to shoot whatever they wish: Right then, right there (wherever there happens to be). They have 30 minutes to capture some images.


They come back and I ask them to submit one image as their best. We then go through everyone’s best image as a group, looking at the images projected large on a screen.


I give my analysis first; about comp, color, tone, grayscale, pov. Then I ask everyone in the group to comment and analyze the image in 10 – 15 seconds each: short, pithy, direct. However, all comments should be complimentary. Even not so positive critique must be posed as a question for clarification to the photog, (e.g., “I’m not sure what I’m looking at here. Maybe it’s me.), or put in other positive terms.


Then I ask the photog what they liked about this?

Whatever their answer, I ask what about that they liked?

Whatever the answer, I ask another question about their answer.

My final question is, “how would you improve it?”


I mirror their responses (repeat their answers out loud) before asking the next question. This allows me to really hear the artist/student as they begin to explore their own work artistically, in front of other people, and to themselves; getting critique of their work, and submitting critique on the works of others.


In general, as an artist, such thoughtful, genuine, gentle feedback ain’t easily obtained about your work.


I like that they begin speaking photographically, in terms both technical and personal, out loud and live, and in real time; about comp, color, contrast, focus, dof, pov, angle, subject, etc. They begin to see that such talk isn’t “hokey or for the conceited”, but has uses as learning tools.


There is giggle, laughter, blushing, and you can sense them getting creatively, artistically and emotionally fired up.


I then say,


“…based upon on the subject of the image you submitted, go back out and do it again. This time incorporate what you heard, and what you said, about your [best image]. Talk yourself through the process as you shoot – out loud. Decide what you are doing and why.”


“You’ve got 30 minutes.”


Everyone’s second “best” image is always better than their first. And, they are always a little bit proud of themselves; not just for the growth they just made, but also for knowing how that growth came to be. For knowing why it is better and for having had the ability to make it so.


“See, there is art and magic within each of us too. We just have to coax it out.”


This image – Silo’s at Sunset - is one of my lessons, turned back on me, through you, my teachers, students and peers, on Flickr.


Speckled Goodness texture courtesy artbychrysti:


Straw Paper by artbychrysti:


anything else by me.

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Taken on October 1, 2009