Another Visual Literacy Post:
My brother-in-law, Doug Plummer, is giving workshops for people wanting to photograph dancers. Many of his students are beginning photographers, so much of Doug’s instruction is on the basics, including one basic that I have espoused over and over, that photography is about seeing. Coupled with that is the rule, “don’t let the content overwhelm the form.” I want to remember to come back to that at a later time. Suffice it to say for now, that this is a concept that everyone needs to understand.
-which brings us to the point of this post-
My original idea was to teach visual literacy to viewers, just as we teach everyone to read. Doug is teaching the same material to practitioners. This is certainly not a new idea, but is has proven to have merit. Think about the required studio art course in many college core curricula. These courses are not designed to produce artists; they seemingly magically turn students into art appreciators who are literate in looking at visual art. In other words, they learn to see. Perhaps we need to approach visual literacy from both sides of the problem.
“Photography is simple. It’s about seeing and about translating what we see into pictures. For me, the challenge is in acknowledging the documentary properties of each photograph while maintaining its presence foremost as an aesthetic study. My reason for living is to make the next photograph better than the last.” Michael A Shapiro