My digital photography class is unstable. Our second assignment was to focus on light, the use of aperture, and human characteristics: face, hands, feet. For each assignment, we are required to shoot one hundred, two hundred plus photos before choosing ten finals to submit.
Upon arriving at class today, I already felt uneasy. My professor walked in with his hair cut to his chin, his beard trimmed, and announced, “I’m in a bastard of a mood.”
As he worked his way around the room, you could hear his general dissatisfaction with the overall work of the class.
Why do you take these pictures? This, I like; this, is terrible. No, get rid of this. Why always bicycles and pigeons? Why would you take this picture; what were you thinking? Why is your iso speed 1600?! Where is the poetry? Why did you crop out his little finger?
With a paper and tape method, he silently chooses his candidates, tagging their computers. Those lucky few get to stand in front of the class and fight for their work. And by fight, I mean argue why their picture should not be digitally deleted.
I displayed my work last week (following our assignment theme of “home”). And while I was not publicly crucified, his only photo of choice was a simple shot of my staircase and our laundry drying. I liked the piece for the lines, the natural light, and clean color palette. He liked it for the crack in the wall. “It makes the entire picture good.” Oh.
This week, he questioned each person, “Did you show your photos last week?” And trying to be fair, he gave opportunities for those critique virgins to participate.
When he came to my computer, he flipped violently through my photos, at a speed too fast, I thought, to really get a glimpse of the pictures. And then he asked me:
“Did you show yours last week?”
“Yes, yes I did.” I was so relieved. A lucky break.
“Ok.” And then he leaned down and taped a small piece of white paper to my glowing Apple screen.
“Simone, I showed my photos last week.” For some reason, I felt the need to remind him, as if he hadn’t heard me the first time. (This morning, he called me “Brick.” And when I corrected him “Brie,” he looked at me, gave a slight smile, shrugged, and repeated “Brick.”) So maybe he just hadn’t heard.
“Yes, yes. But I like the light.” And he moved on.
It wasn't too painful a process. He chose a couple photos he liked, said the light was good, the idea was strong. I survived. I survive. Until next week.
Next assignment: Street photography.