Education Outside of Photography

Hello Therese Lawlor here so my quote of the day is, “Education is an endless journey through knowledge and enlightenment.” I wanted to talk about how that relates to photography. Like I’ve said before in my other videos is that you just have to keep learning and trying to get as much information about photography as you can online or through books or going to school for photography. I also wanted to talk about how education for photography does not necessarily mean reading and watching videos and getting classroom education that is only specifically for the subject of photography. I personally have found that other types of art and other types of subjects have helped me learn more about photography. There are many movies, books, and artworks that I have learned about that I was then able to apply my knowledge to photography.

In the past blog post, I have made a video about how I was prepared to go to college for photography because I had taken some classes that were drawing classes through Rochester Institute of Technology when I was in high school. Also, my parents had taken me to the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim to see all sorts of famous artworks. I had read up on famous painters like Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, and many other famous fine artists. I had also worked at the Brighton Memorial Library when I was a sophomore in high school and I read a lot about the different masters of art like Monet, Escher, Bosch and many more artists. All of these fine art studies later helped me when I was a photography major because many of the principles that I learned about fine art I could apply to creating a good photograph.

During high school, I had found all of these amazing books about all sorts of artists and I read them all. I also watched movies about art. They weren’t about photography, but it helped me form a better sense of how photographs should be formed, with the use light and dark, shadows and highlights. After I graduated from undergrad at Rochester Institute of Technology I have also watched many videos that sparked my imagination and heightened my curiosity for art in general.

These movies helped me become more creative and inspired for my photography projects. One of the movies I had watched that really made an impression on me was Brush with a Genius which was a movie about Van Gogh. I saw a movie called Helvetica, which was a movie about the font Helvetica. I also watched many Youtube videos that were useful to me for getting new ideas from. Even music videos have inspired me like the Mi Gente music video. Watching movies, reading books, and learning about other subjects besides photography helps you think better because you become a more rounded individual. You can think differently and create photographs that are out of the box.

Education is not about learning only one subject. You have to learn about many subjects in order to do well in photography and that is why when you’re a photography major you learn other subjects like 2D design and fine art history. You even have to take liberal arts because those classes help you learn. The information you gain from your non-photography classes help you bridge information that you learn from one another. Many of the things you learn that are not related to photography can often be connected to photography. For example, a European history class in college will teach you about European art and that knowledge could perhaps help you when you have to do fashion photography in Europe. Perhaps you can use European historical sites in your photographs.

The decisions you make when you are taking a picture today are formed by the knowledge you have learned in the past. The way you frame a picture might be because of something you learned about cropping in a drawing class. The lighting that you choose to use might be because of an oil painting class. All of your knowledge are connected to each other and they help you at the moment you have to press the button down to take that perfect image for an ad campaign.

When you have all of this knowledge that you have learned from fine art history class you sometimes do not even really realize that you were learning all sorts of important topics like shadows and highlights and arranging the image that you have to take. You reach a point in your photography that you take photographs that are lit in such a way that may have been inspired by the painter Rembrandt. Rembrandt’s paintings are so captivating because of the lighting he chooses.

Knowledge all connect to each other and fit together to form you as an artist and photographer. Education is a journey and it should never end. You gain knowledge. You become enlightened. Another quote I really like that applies to this blog post is, “With our thoughts we make the world.”

That quote is by Buddha and in art with your thoughts you create an image or a photograph. Often times movies I have watched just for fun helped me with my photography and even graphic design. I found Brush with a Genius, the movie about Van Gogh on Netflix and I absolutely loved that. I learned from that movie that Van Gogh used complimentary colors to make the colors in his paintings pop. Another movie I watched was Helvetica. From that movie, I learned about the font Helvetica and I now often use Helvetica as my go-to font. I especially love how organic it is. What you end up creating is from all of these thoughts that you have that you’ve gained from all of this research that you’ve been doing without it really being research or work. It was just something that you felt like doing at that time.

Another quote that I absolutely love is, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” It is a quote by Aristotle. When you are learning you want to be very passionate about it and the best way to be very passionate about your education is by watching things that you love to watch. For me, it was Cracking the Mayan Code. I had watched that and it really grabbed my attention.

It was something that I was in awe about. They had created a written language many years ago that looks very pictographic. It looks very artistic and beautiful. My favorite part about the movie was how they had learned how to finally figure out what the written language meant. That movie just really lit a flame in my heart and it ended up and becoming something that I always just kind of think about daily and have applied here and there into my art. I had taken some Mayan hieroglyphs and made graphic translations out of them and collaged them with photographs.

The last quote I will leave you with that applies to this post is “Learning is the eye of the mind.” When you learn you create you know an ability to see things better and the more you learn the better your eye is for photography. Your mind can see clearly what your vision is and what you want your image to be about. Try watching some inspiring movies, visit a museum, read some fun books and you will see that your photography changes for the better because you are excited to make that new photograph.


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