Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photographic Evolution, Part I

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I am taking a photography class. It's at the Arlington Arts Center on Thursday evenings, and I am taking it with two gals from law school, Jamie and Tracy. Last week was my first class, and in the days and hours leading up to it, I found myself feeling an odd mix of excitement and nerves.

After four years of grad school-- of higher learning in law and tax, no less-- it's an ungraded, just-for-kicks "Eye of the Photographer" class that gets me all nervous? Yeah, I don't know. Law school forces you to leave all of your impractical and creative (God forbid!) pursuits at the door. When you finish, you take the Bar, and when you recover from that, you're (hopefully) employed (or in this economy, frantically searching for employment, which is in itself a full-time job). When you adjust to "life after law school," you start to wonder what in the world you used to do with your time. Back before my brain was ransacked by professors the equivalent of medieval torturers, what did I enjoy? I seem to remember that I was creative. That I enjoyed reading, and writing, and crafting things....

So the mix of giddiness and fright before my first photography class was the result of not having purposefully channeled my right brain since before I knew what "judgement notwithstanding verdict" means. The challenge is to dust off the cobwebs and see what's in there.

My first class was awesome. The instructor is a professional photographer, for whom photography was first a hobby and then a third or fourth career. There are 15 people in the class, all for different reasons and yet the same. At the end of eight weeks, the goal is to have two photos that represent our improvement over the course of the class-- "Two Great Pictures" -- matted and put on display for our class to celebrate.

I thought I might share my evolution here. For that first class, we had to bring five of our "best pictures" so far. So I'll first post the ones I submitted last week. Then each week we are given an assignment, expected to take the equivalent of one to two rolls of film, and then submit our five best for class review. Each week, I will post my progress (or at least my efforts to progress). This makes me a little nervous, since I am afraid that I will not progress at all beyond the "Auto" function on the camera-- that my right brain is beyond resuscitation. But then again, I have no evidence that more than five people even read this, so I guess it's not that scary after all.


These were taken over a one-year period, from our trip to France, through recent experimentation with the new DSLR. Notice all of the nature and things-that-generally-stay-still-while-I-find-the-perfect-shot. I'm hoping to move up to people soon....

Bret Update: A week from RIGHT NOW, he'll be done with the Bar and it can't come soon enough. He's putting in 12 hours a day at the GMU library this week, leaving me home with Elsa to job hunt and generally keep our household and our life in order. I'm looking forward to having my husband back!

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