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Don’t go to Photography School

June 28, 2013 in Photographers, Technical, Workshops

© 2005 Zoe Wiseman - Model: Ida

© 2005 Zoe Wiseman – Model: Ida


Once in awhile I receive an email from an aspiring photographer, usually 18-20 years old, curious about where to start. Should they go to school? What school? Can they come and assist me and learn from me? Questions about my cameras and films are always included also.

And I always say, if you want to learn how to work your camera and the technical aspects a Junior College with a good photography program will be sufficient. No one can teach you how to see. But they can teach you how to work the camera. When I was at this stage in my photo curious life before diving in full force I went to Los Angeles City College. Then it was $11.00 per credit. It cost me $250 per year. Prices have risen since then, but still. They had great teachers. I learned everything I needed to learn about 35mm, Medium Format, Large Format – developing, printing, darkroom chemicals, mounting and hanging my work, book and portfolio making, lighting… all of it. This is all I needed. I had already built my own support group online years ago when I was only modeling. I had multitudes of photographers I could call upon to ask questions. Now there are online resources everywhere you look. With photographers only a mouse click away. While some of them can’t answer all your questions all the time, some of them will.

Are you curious about Large Format photography? – there you go! Medium Format Photography? Plastic Cameras? Here’s a Holga basics – and if you’re really into film photography you have to join Film Wasters – – Some of the most creative photographers I know hang out there and regularly give instruction for people interested in starting out.

So that’s the free stuff! And there’s so much more out there if you just let Google guide you to your interests. But you say, “I don’t know how that particular photo I like was shot.” I say you never will and it doesn’t matter. It is your job as an aspiring photographer to find your equipment and what feels good in your hands to shoot with. Digital or film? Small cameras that will go anywhere or big mammoth cameras that need to be hauled in the back of a semi-truck.. it’s all there to be thought about and decided upon. Trying to recreate looks will never give you a personal style. That’s what we all strive for in our work, our own personal finger print on each image. You have to try different cameras to find yours. If you don’t want to purchase every camera you try there are multitudes of rental houses that will rent a camera to you for a day. Go play and have fun and find your own eye.


NOW – The prompting for this post came from this blog posting by Noah Bradley – – Don’t Go to Art School. He’s right. It’s a rip off. So is Brooks Institute of Photography. Four year cost: $125,848. Really? Wouldn’t you rather spend that on camera equipment? I would! Those books and supplies calculations don’t include camera equipment.

There are also really awesome workshop businesses where you can go and study with a photographer for a fee for a weekend or longer. You may find that a couple workshop courses are all you need to grasp what you need to be focusing on.

Take the first step. Then keep walking.

A few backflips on a slanted rooftop while eating pancakes!

February 8, 2012 in NEWS, Technical

Don’t you love that title? Well, that’s what we’ve been doing behind the scenes for two weeks! What would have normally been a smooth and easy move to a new server turned out to be a sidewinder of gory dirty coding tricks, mixed in with death defying feats and really some amazing genius by our sly friend Foxly. He’s the awesome person behind the code that hosts all those images on your profiles, which by the way, you can now have more of! We have room for growth! So stretch out everyone!



The move was not without some casualties though and we apologize. We had to resort to a 2 week old backup of the site because of some data corruption that couldn’t be resolved. New members who joined during those two weeks will receive an email from us very soon to welcome them back. (If you were one of those members and you are reading this… very sorry. Please rejoin, you won’t become a casualty ever again!) We hope their first impressions weren’t tainted by our slanted pancake eating backflips. But we’ve worked very hard behind the scenes … very hard… excruciatingly painful jedi mind tricks hard… to bring you a better site. It may not look like a lot has changed, but believe us, it has!

Those of you who lost blog posts; Sorry, there wasn’t anything we could do about it. Everything got corrupted during those two weeks of limbo. We hope you will repost what you lost. If we could bring it back for you we would. But, from now on we can definitely provide a more stable site.

We are upgrading everyone’s profile so you can have 50 images! And image sizes are going to be set to 350K instead of 200. We hope this will help. We would always appreciate smaller file sizes as it’s just much easier for us to manage, but if you don’t know how or don’t have time hopefully this will help out. All blogs will also receive more space. At present it’s 10 megs. So we’ll up it to 40 megs.

Thank you for your patience during this transition. And if you see anyone imitating our pancake tricks,  please take pity on them. It really is not easy! And do not worry about Ducreux… he certainly isn’t.

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