Encouraged to be curious

To be or not to be a photographer, that is the question!

To be or not to be a photographer, that is the question!

I could talk for a long time about what I got (and continue getting) out of Franc’s classes. To sum it up, I can say that Franc helped changed forever my attitude and my perception toward photography and the world I live in.

By Jean-Baptiste Duret (former photography student)

After the course I’m not looking at people and my environment the same. I will talk about three aspects that were decisive in my approach of photography.
Before I took the course, I had read information about technical aspects in books or on the Internet, and it had helped me understand a few things about cameras and lenses.

I could honestly say “I know it” when someone mentioned the aperture or the shutter speed effects. But truth is that I didn’t really know how to connect them together and they often appeared complex and daunting.

Franc is a good teacher in that he makes the technical aspects appear simple and manageable to anyone. He gives you all the theoretical information you need, in a clear and articulate way that connects all the technical aspects together. He knows to explain it in different ways, which shows that he really knows what he’s talking about.

Thus, Franc gave me solid theoretical and technical foundations about photography and about my own material (camera and lenses). During the class I learned how to use all that for specific results and purposes. After the class you know the influence of each of the settings on each other to help you make the best choices according to your own material, your intention and your personal sensitivity. A

nd what’s amazing is that once you are familiar with them, you don’t have to think about them anymore, they become second nature and you can just enjoy what you came there for, taking better pictures.
Then, there was this aspect of light. I thought that because you have eyes you see the light and the shadows like everybody else.

And I often got frustrated when the picture didn’t seem to look the same as what I “saw”. During the class, when Franc was telling us about the best light in the room, he often pointed out to us who was sitting at this best place, and explaining us what he saw and why it was interesting for a picture. I could clearly “see” that I wasn’t really seeing what he was talking about.

Prompted by his regular mentions about light and shadow, I began to pay attention to them upon people and objects, looking at where it came from and the differences of lights at different times of the day.

One day I had the surprise to actually see the lights and the shadows in the street and stopped to appreciate them. I was not blind anymore.

Now, they were not just something that you had to get rid off (too much light, too much shadow). With Franc you learn that you can use them to get better results out of your pictures, and he teaches you simple but efficient tricks to find the best place in the room where the light will enhance the person or your subject.

Influenced by his experience as a photo journalist, Franc also encouraged us to be bold and curious, and to move around our subjects. Our subjects are often not flat, and even if they are, like a wall, they exist in an environment that is not.

With his suggestions on the field during the outdoor photoshoots, and in class while doing picture review, I learned that because I was tall I was seeing the world in a certain way which was different than someone who was shorter even if just a few inches.

I began to not only move around but also try higher or lower points of view, which was a revelation about how light reflects on the ground to light up people, and that changing point of view also changed how I saw the light and the shadows on the subjects and the environment.

In conclusion, Franc not only taught me the technical parts that make me able to use my camera to the best of its potential, but he also taught me to think as a photographer in terms of light and settings, and to make the best use at any time of what I had at my disposal in terms of material and environment.

I really understood that photography is not just about pushing a button, it is also a matter of preparation, attitude, and creativity. Being more confident about the technical aspects, I can now explore more freely my own interests and expressions.