As a professional photographer and educator it is always a pleasure to help open young minds to think creatively and see the world differently. I think the task at hand is how to take ones ideas and translate them in a way for people to see the discoveries you have made, and to help them understand your intent. I have challenged my intern to think and see independently, and to use me as a resource to understand the facilitation of the camera as the tool to help define the ideas and visions she sees. First there is the exploration, which leads to new discoveries, and helps develop a language to translate what was learned.
“As a high school senior nearing graduation, I’m just beginning to think about what I want to do with my life. College promises the opportunity to explore a variety of passions and to discover my interests — from a career-related major to other supplementary hobbies. While I don’t move in to college for several months, I’ve already begun the search for passion through an internship. Participating in an internship provides one the chance to test the waters in an area of interest, and to gain experience in a career field. Internships allow one to learn from an expert of their craft, and for me that meant working with a highly experienced and talented photographer.”
Photograph by Elizabeth Pullman
“Learning from a photographer includes not only learning how to use a camera, but also how to photograph. On a basic level, one must understand their equipment in order to effectively capture an image. I’ve learned that after that, a large part of photography is about finding what interests you as the artist, whether that be certain shapes, lines, angles, light, or subjects. Each photographer has a different style of work; some focus on details, some prefer to capture an entire image in focus, while others highlight only a small part. Under Karen’s tutelage, I’ve started to recognize what types of images I like to capture, and what I want to portray as an artist. I’ve begun to develop myself more as an artist, and have a better sense of what makes my images personal and unique to me.”
Each artist has in them a unique way of seeing the world. I helped my protege learn the functionality of a camera. What ISO is, shutter speed, aperture, and what their functions are in relation to the subject, and the different effects they may have. Then we open the doors, we step out into the world, and we test what we have learned. I shoot alongside for a while. Discussing the landscape, light, shadow, details, the artist if it is artwork we are engaging. Then I walk away and encourage them to explore and discover. I ensure them there is no right or wrong, just investigation that will lead to their own answers.
I tell Elizabeth, how most artists I have ever met, look just like their artwork. I believe it has to if it is honest work.
It is your unique language, that is who you are that will shape and define your work. I insist she be herself, honest to what she sees, and how she wishes to describe that vision.
Photograph by Elizabeth Pullman
“As with any craft, learning about photography required working in the field. I found that one of the most valuable methods for learning to photograph well was to simply practice it. I went with Karen to several locations to shoot, all of which had distinctive subjects and personalities. We began our work at the Storm King Art Center, an outdoor museum that houses the work of many sculptors. I enjoyed capturing the contrast of the sculptures against their natural backgrounds, and was especially fond of the lines of much of the artwork. Some of my favorite images from that shoot are shown below:”
I think an important part of the photographic process is editing and critique. It helps develop the ideas explored and discovered and gives the artist the language skills to talk about their work. I do not like the word critique, I think it implies being critical. One should always feel safe to talk about their art and what they were seeing and trying to achieve. It is a gift to see the expressive nature Elizabeth had and embraced! Not intimidated by me, all I asked of her, and being independant to explore her own ideas in her own way! She even put up with being eaten alive by the Mayflies! In the open discussions we had about her images, Elizabeth clearly related to me her intentions and it was obvious in her photographs what she was trying to achieve. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to share with Elizabeth a small part of what photography is to me, and hopefully she will go on to understand what it means to her.