I had my first commercial photography class today. Had enrolled a week back and was pretty excited to start learning. The class would cover advanced techniques of photography followed by sessions on commercial/product photography.
So I left home an hour before the class as I needed to take a train all the way to Byculla. Reached there and found myself in a classroom full of about twenty 20-somethings.
Now I was prepared for this. So I made my peace with it. The few strands of grey hair tucked back. Baby belly concealed under a loose-fitting top. Smartphone in my hand. And I sat amongst hyper-energetic college kids bantering about annoying professors and even more annoying status messages of their ‘friends’.
The teacher taking our class happened to be an award winning photojournalist – Arko Datta. You may have never heard of his name, but he is one who captured that biting image of the man in the Gujarat riots, pleading for his life. The image which would go on to define the event. I wasn’t sure who he was before we began class, but a quick search on Google had me totally awe-inspired.
Not only did he turn out to be a great photographer, but also a fantastic teacher. And he decided to pick on 2 of us in the class – me and another gentleman, like myself who had decided to join the advanced course without doing the basics. We were also visibly the oldest.
‘How come you’ve decided to do the advanced course without doing the basics?’ ‘Do you think you know the basics’.
Not satisfied with our mumbled responses, we were quizzed for the next 45 minutes.
“What will the image look like if the Aperture is X, Shutter speed is Y and ISO Z?”
“How do you shoot a silhouette?”
“How do you increase brightness in Aperture Priority mode?”
And it went on and on. While it was unnerving at first, we somehow managed to answer most questions accurately, which was a huge face-save. Ofcourse, the technical terms we used weren’t half as accurate, so need to polish those fast to catch up with the rest.
We went on to review different photographs. With a varying play of colour, shadow, highlight and patterns. Was fabulous looking at these great shots and understanding what it took to capture those poignant moments of life.
By now, my fingers were itching to compose a few shots.
Guess a few things have changed since the last time I was sitting in a classroom as a young student.
Firstly, I want to be in the classroom and really learn, instead of all those years before when I needed to learn.
Secondly, can’t wait for homework 🙂