After 3 years or so of formally studying photography in a college setting, I have decided to change directions with my education. During the time I spent studying photo, I learned a few things, but certainly lost more then I gained. Most of the things that were taught, I had already learned about from the countless photography books I had read. I was able to learn some things about Photoshop, Camera Raw, and darkroom black and white photography that I hadn’t explored, but for the most part, I was bored with it. My boredom caused me to largely lose the passion I had for the craft. I felt taking pictures was something I had to do, which it was. Our assignments put us in a box, requiring me to use a certain technique, or subject matter, to photograph. I became focused solely on finding things that I needed to photograph to get a grade, looking past potentially beautiful and interesting images that I could have captured. Photography was no longer fun, relaxing, or interesting. It was something I did to add a grade and credit hours to my college transcript. It was my pencil in pursuit of a degree.
But something funny happened last week. I went to Harford Community College and got registered for the Fall semester, now as a General Studies major. I walked out of the Student Center, and noticed how sun was lighting up the old house on the campus, and the the breeze was blowing the international flags along the sidewalk that led up to it. “I wish I had my camera with me” I remember thinking to myself. I stopped in my tracks for a second, and tried to remember the last time I had thought that. I couldn’t. It had been so long. In the week or so since, I have found myself looking around again, looking for things that I want to see through the viewfinder of my camera. That quick, the passion and desire had returned. I want to take pictures again. I want to learn and improve my skills as a photographer again, but on my own terms, and in my own way.
I am glad I spent those years studying photography. The knowledge I gained will, without a doubt, make me a better photographer. Plus, all those classes completed the coursework in a particular concentration needed to graduate from Harford, so I only have 4 classes left, versus 7 I would have left at CCBC. I’m saving money, graduating faster, and since all the classes I need are available online, I’m saving a lot of time by making the switch. It feels good to know I made the right decision, and feels even better to want to take pictures again.