Copyright 2015, RJ Wilner Photography
My photographic journey started MANY moons ago. Early on, I stumbled around on my own reading and 'learning' via all the hot periodicals of the day. Finally, in the late 70's I took several semesters of photography classes at a local community college in the evenings....just for my own enrichment. Had a great teacher who helped foster an appreciation for 'fine art photography'....B&W in particular. Wound up with my own bathroom darkroom for several yr and enjoyed the heck out of it. Then the price of silver went through the roof in the early 80's and all the silver based film hardgoods followed suit....eventually getting too expensive for my means. Was so discouraged, I largely quit photography as anything more than vacay and family event snapshots for a long time.
Fast forward to 2002 and my first digicam purchase. Almost immediately, the passion for B&W photography was rekindled. But it's been a struggle. Though I've felt like I've made slow, but steady progress with color work, I've had little confidence in my B&W efforts since entering the digital era. For every B&W image I've shared online, there have probably been at least a dozen whose results drew a decided 'Bleh!' from my gut. Dunno if I was expecting too much given my previous experience and education in the film days, but overall it just seemed like whatever knowledge I may have possessed was just pinballing wildly inside what passes for a brain here.
So over the course of the last year, I decided perhaps it would be wise to participate in some sort of formalized learning environment again. And had been 'window shopping' various online education possibilities ever since. But nothing really clicked. Perhaps I was being a bit picky, but sometimes people who can perform an activity at a very high level aren't really suited to teaching.
And then in July I attended a workshop on the Outer Banks with the terrific team at for which was a guest instructor. Discussion of online classes occurred during that workshop, and I discovered Athena was an instructor for a 'B&W Fine Art Photography' class (http://bpsop.com/black-and-white-fine-art-photography/). To that point, I hadn't been shopping specifically for a B&W class. But it made perfect sense for me given my feelings about my own B&W work. So, signed up for her August class.
Best decision I've made in quite some time. It's a 4 week class that covers a lot of material.....from Creative Vision to connecting with the subject, and Color Theory to processing techniques. It's a lot to absorb. Best discovery of the class.....Athena can definitely teach. I'd been an admirer of her photography since I initially stumbled across it here on G+ several yr ago. And she may be as talented a teacher as she is a photographer. I thoroughly enjoyed the class, and feel lucky to have found a second teacher with the passion for actually teaching photography.
So, what about that wildly pinballing thought process I mentioned above. Well, to some degree, I am what I am.....the proverbial 'JAG' with a camera who enjoys making images. And like as not, I will always have some pinballing going on. But I do have the sense that I also now have the ability to temper it and guide it in directions I choose to pursue. What I do know......when winter sets in this year, and my new shooting drops to a low, I've got a large collection of RAW files that will be viewed anew!
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