Max Krewiak, Lauren Mulcahy & Why I Like To Teach At Focal PointWednesday, April 11, 2012
|Max Krewiak - Photograph by Lauren Mulcahy
Yesterday was my last class at Focal Point for a few days when I begin again, this time teaching the school’s full-time students as opposed to the part timers I imparted something called Contemporary Photographic Techniques.
The last day for me is always a sad day. I know that in most cases that I will not see my students again even in this smallish town that our city of Vancouver really is. But my chances are good at being able to see Max Krewiak seen here and subject of my other student Lauren Mulcahy. I am bound to see Max as he works at Leo’s on Granville where this old-fashioned photographer (me) still buys film.
I enjoy teaching at Focal Point because it is a small school with small classes. Our classes are intimate and our studio sessions involve at most 8 or 9 students. The school has three studios but, two of them are joined by a door so that I like to split my classes, get two models and then I run back and forth supervising my class. I am usually exhausted after the three hour sessions but I go home with a warm feeling that I am indeed doing something useful and that my students, mostly taciturn at most times, appreciate what they might learn in my class.
For many years Rosemary told me I would need to buy a digital camera if I planned to keep teaching photography. I am glad that for once (and yes, once) my wife was wrong. Most of my students assume I own a top-of-the-line DSLR but are flabbergasted when they find out it is only an iPhone 3G!
The bulk of what I teach has to do with what, to me, has always been the principal factors in my pursuit of photography. They are contrast (its awareness), exposure, composition, but mostly to learn to communicate with one’s subjects. Key to photography is our ability to associate disparate subjects. In fact I believe that to associate is what makes us human. With the help of association one can study former artists, photographers, novelists, architects, dancers, musicians and somehow relate them to what one is doing or wanting to do. Important too is awareness in being faithful to accurate reproduction of colour so that when one is not, it is for an important reason. Fundamental to my classes is to gain knowledge through an interest in art history.
If the just finished class was called Contemporary Techniques, I told my students many times, that all it involves is understanding past techniques and applying them, re-inventing them, modifying them to one’s own tastes.
The photograph of Max Krewiak was taken by Lauren Mulcahy with my Mamiya RB-67 with a body cap modified with a pinhole. The film was Fuji FP-3000B Professional Instant Print Film. Mulcahy used the quartz modeling light of a studio flash on a 2x3 ft softbox. Her exposure was 8 seconds. By accident I had fogged the film. Because of this fogging, the negative (what you see here is the negative print scanned on an Epson V700 Photo) “suffered” the Sabattier effect and somehow became partly positive to, I believe wonderful effect. The second image is the actual Fuji print.