Swan Lake, Vertical

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“In the long run men hit only what they aim at.  Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond (From one of the downloaded classics that I am told is not read any longer.)  How can such wisdom fail to inspire?  When I told my friend that I had downloaded the works of Aristotle, I was looked at askance, as if I had confessed to an odd eccentricity.  It is a shame that kids are forced to read the classics before they are ready for them.  The good ones begin to strike home when you are in your 40s, if you are still able to read a book by then.

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Dave

My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a photographer and programmer working in New York City.

4 thoughts on “Swan Lake, Vertical”

  1. “It is a shame that kids are forced to read the classics before they are ready for them.”

    I think this is more a reflection on the way we educate kids than the readiness of kids and classics. I well remember slogging my way through Shakespeare, Harper Lee, etc, etc and not really enjoying it or understanding it. When I went back to night school to finish my education (at 19 years of age), I was in a very small class with a teacher who was passionate about literature. Her enthusiasm and love was infectious and The Grapes of Wrath soon became one of my favourite books. She took us to see a world class production of King Lear and showed us how brilliant something like that could be. She was truly inspiring in a Dead Poet kind of way. I remember her well.

    All the best Dave,
    Phill

  2. I agree. I had a teacher in high school who only read the classics and certain ones at that. He was very picky about what he considered good literature and it influenced the class in bad way. He was also very reserved in his teaching style and not very passionate about what he was doing. It was a horrible class and I don’t believe he lasted very long as a teacher.

    I read your blogs about how you ended up where you’re at now. Do you have any advice for someone trying to get into school for photography who was not the best student in the past? My gpa is rocky at best, but that was when I was trying to have a “real” major. Is there any way I can prove to colleges that just because I’ve done poorly in the past doesn’t mean I will now? I have only been interested in photography for a few years now, but already my camera is like an extension of me. I guess my only downfall is editing. I went so long without photo editing software that I’m at the point where I don’t know what to do with it now that I have it. Thanks for any advice you can give!!

  3. I don’t think you need to go to photography school for any reason at all. You should instead see if it’s possible to get a job with some small newspaper (or the web equivalent). Any sort of job that will allow you to keep shooting, not matter what it is.

    If that’s not feasible (I have no idea of what the market is like out there) – then my father’s advice isn’t bad: Find some job that you can stomach so that you can make money and do your craft in your spare time until you are good enough and have enough experience to go out on your own. Don’t be discouraged by failure. That’s how you learn.

    If you want to learn photoshop, and can’t learn it on your own (there are tons of good books on the subject) – then take a class in photoshop. I can only imagine one purpose for photography school, and that is to make some contacts that may lead somewhere. But where? And does that work. I don’t know.

    How can I give you advice, unless I know your ultimate goal? Would you like to do wedding photography? Product shots? Do you have any other skills that this society will pay for?

    Frankly, I shouldn’t give advice to start off with since my own path is completely based on wrong turns. I don’t know of a short route to becoming an artist.

    I get this question all the time – and I usually skip them because I don’t have an answer. If it’s meant to be, there’s a fairly good chance that eventually you’ll find your own path.

    But I do have a bias against photography schools as a way of becoming a good photographer. It’s hard for me to think of any of the great photographers that took that route.

    In other words, if you make a list of your 10 favorite photographers – find out if any of them went to photography school, and if so, find out what they got out of it.

    DB

  4. Ok. Well that’s easy enough. I was going to try for a dual major in photography/ graphic design. I actually don’t know that many photographers works. I’m familiar with Stephen Shore, Ansel Adams and your work.

    I was against photography classes for a long time as well, but I think learning basics about cameras and photoshop would help me with my graphic design major as well. I have shown my mock up portfolio to someone who has gone to artschool and he thought I had a much stronger art background than I actually do based on my work.

    I will take your advice and go to the local paper and find out what I need to do to become a photographer with them. I have tried in the past to intern with photographers and most are just not interested in having a shadow.

    Thank you!

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