This course aims at encouraging you to flirt with your everyday life, with what you see and already know and to challenge yourselves to go beyond that limit, to explore and find out what’s hidden beyond what we normally see and reach the edge of vision through the medium of photography.
Using the tool of mindfulness of seeing you will be guided to explore new creative avenues through the foundation principles of abstract photography. Mindfulness is about being present and paying attention to moment to moment on purpose and non-judgementally. We can be and live mindfully in whatever we are doing from breathing to walking, being in an dialogue with other people to engaging to a variety of tasks such as observing the world around us and taking photographs. By being in the moment and not judging whatever we are doing, we can immerse ourselves in a task as if we are children who see the world for the first time. Mindfulness allows us to push aside the automatic pilot that drives our lives and open our eyes to new experiences.
Taking photographs can become a very creative act once you stop thinking about the ‘how to’ and really start looking at the world with your very own eyes by expressing yourselves through your personal way of ‘seeing’. Being mindful and paying attention to unnoticeable things and situations around you can help you improve your photography by exploring different aspects of an object, investing it with visual significance and also inspiring others to look at it from a fresh and new point of view. It will also help you develop your thinking about photography and challenge yourselves with new ideas about it.
This experimental course on photography will encourage you to follow a playful approach to all the stages of the creative process of producing an image. It will instigate you to engage in making use of photography in a free, unobstructed manner, liberated from its technical and theoretical restrictions.
At the end of the 5 weeks course you will be able to:
- demonstrate a critical understanding of the basic ideas in photography by identifying and
discussing different aspects and elements of a photograph
- identify and discuss some of the different stages in the historical development of
abstraction in photography in parallel with other photography and art movements
- demonstrate a practical engagement with photography by taking your own photographs
- critically reflect on your own making of images and discuss how you mindfully and
creatively see and think about the world
- wake up every morning, look out of your window and be amazed by the colours and shapes
of a light ray, the forms of shadows it creates, something that previously you could not
notice because your minds were too busy to flirt with what your eyes see.
General Outline of a Lesson Plan for Each Session
Each week you will be introduced to a new theme to work on and play which will be based on a particular photographic style and movement. Each session will consist of mainly four parts:
i) Looking at a different photographic style each week based on images by both classic and contemporary photographers based on the historical development of abstract photography in parallel with other photographic and art genres and movements. You will be engaging in a critical discussion about them and reflecting on questions about what compositional approach it has been used, what the intentions of the photographer might be, what the images mean to you based on your own interpretation and any other questions that might be generated by you.
ii) Engaging in playful and mindful activities as a practical brainstorming on the main issues raised from the first part of looking at images. You will be taking some photographs as first sketches on which your homework will be based. During these short activities, I will be guiding you and giving you practical tips on how to observe the space, the objects, the people around you in order to take photographs of them by releasing all your creativity into seeing things differently.
iii) Looking at each other’s photographs, commenting on them, suggesting new ideas, reflecting on your creative process of ‘seeing differently’ and articulating it into your own words. This discussion will be the core of each session, as it will provide you with the opportunity to extract ideas from your own work, discuss the process you followed and make decisions for your future explorations on the weekly projects to follow. At the same time, I will be answering your questions, helping you to clarify your ideas and giving you suggestions for further experimentation.
iv) Summing up the main ideas, which were discussed during the previous parts and discussing the nature of your homework. This will be based on a fixed theme for everyone suggested by myself or on a theme that you will suggest and agree to work on or on individual themes that each one of you might choose.
During all parts of each session, I will be acting more as a facilitator and less as a teacher to help you take charge of expressing your own individual creativity and sharing it with the rest of the group.
I will also be linking one workshop to the next by challenging you to be creatively alert in between weeks. A blog, a Facebook page or something similar could constitute other potential ways of keeping your minds and eyes busy between workshops but this will be discussed with you first, so that it can be based on something that you will really enjoy doing.
After the end of each session I will be sending you e-handouts by email, which will include the following:
contact sheets of visual references (photographs by photographers’ names, time period and style)
summary of main points discussed in the session
quotes by famous photographers
homework brief explaining your task for each week in between sessions