Cottage Porch, Academy Street, Cary, North Carolina
Creating photographic images is not a twenty first century task. Creating photographic compositions does not have a quick start guide and requires much more than pointing and clicking. It is not a skill that anyone can be mastered in a weekend. Some may not even master this skill in their lifetime.
There are also mechanical and physical skills to master that just take time. Camera handling and learning what the buttons do can be learned quickly, but do require some repetition to become ingrained behaviors. Beyond the physical skills, there are the aesthetic “rules” that must be practiced, learned, internalized (and quite possibly broken in a grand fashion) in order to develop a personal vision. This type of experiential learning happens in a different manner. This is where the ten thousand repetitions rule enters the play. Photography is learning by doing, making and correcting mistakes. It is an iterative process that takes time and requires input from others and time to understand why things work or don’t work. It is a social type of learning that requires input and feedback from others. It is very different than sitting in a chair, pointing and clicking and interpreting error messages. There is no doubt in my mind new photographers find it easier and quicker to learn software than photography precisely because software is easier to learn than photography.
What it all comes down to is this: You can teach software. You can’t teach experience. Software can be picked up quickly and proficiency is achieved in short order. It takes a much longer time to learn how to make an artistic composition that means something to more than just the photographer. It is because we have these diametrically opposed styles of learning we have amateur images with professional manipulation.