Tag Archives: digital

the importance of a great mind and a great teacher

Back somewhat tangentially, to the subject of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, I found out yesterday that one the profoundly influential educators in my own life has just died. He was Andy Cameron, the digital arts pioneer and sometime lecturer at University of Westminster. when I was student at Westminster Andy was my tutor for digital arts. Like Moholy-Nagy, Cameron was a truly inspiring lecturer and a patient, incisive teacher who asked the right questions, demanded rigours self discipline of his students and knew how to give critical feedback in a way that made it meaningful and treasured. Most of his advice, I follow to the day, and it has become axiomatic in my working life.

Andy’s own work at Anti-Rom the collective he was running when he was teaching at Westminster, was also inspiring. It showed me how collectives can work, and the stuff they produced was fascinating. However, Andy’s artwork as a photographer was also really wonderful and should not be overlooked.

Andy’s influence on me was very important. I entered the course at Westminster determined to be a classical film maker but Andy opened my eyes to the possibilities that digital technology could offer to the creative artist. Despite being a charismatic personality, he never tried to mould us into his creatures, to establish as “school” of practice of Andy-copycats and acolytes but encouraged us to find out own creative way. As a “girl” I feared technology a bit and my first experience with Photoshop did not go well. I recall to the day Andy’s crit of my work and how although the work was on the whole a disaster, what he said to me made me feel I could pick up the pieces and just plow on ahead with the tool and I’d get it right next time. Which was the case. I got very good at Photoshop and digital video and on several occasions before and after graduating sought Andy’s advice and feedback about career paths. Due to his encouragement, I decided to support my art practice and experimental film and video work with commercial work in web video and digital imaging. It wasn’t always easy, but Andy’s lectures and advice basically removed all the fear and mystery from digital-ness and made me always use it critically.

 

I have been lucky enough in my life to have had some very inspiring and important teachers. Andy’s passing long before his time, makes me very sad but he really left a great legacy. All of those who studied with him must have been affected in some way. For me, he taught me how to see technology as a tool, and how to be a great communicator and meaningful teacher.

Obituary Creative Review

http://www.imaginaryfutures.net/2007/04/16/dissimulations-by-andy-cameron/

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a lens around town

Recently I got into the fun apps that allow you to turn your bad camera-phone pics into facsimiles of bad analogue photos. I do have some bad analogue photos kicking around the house but I cannot be bothered to scan those … does  it makes sense to make more of them digitally for no good reason … ?

some of them are kind of interesting

I mean, what IS the ideal way to photograph a discarded toilet seat anyway?

line of washing

And then there is the whole category of dreadful phone pics you take of YOURSELF  while holding the ergonomically- wretched phone backward and trying to guess the focal point …

Yes, deliberately taking a bad photo and making it a whole lot worse. Such larks.

Nan Goldin, an artist I much admire, said this recently:

Everyone takes photos; now even phones can. The whole issue of digital is so depressing to me; my process is gone. There were all kinds of unknown things that could come out in a photograph, things you didn’t know were there until you saw it; now it’s all so flat.

[http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jul/24/photograph-nan-goldin-best-shots]

Nan also advised against becoming a photographic artist, since there is no longer anything special about it. I’m not sure that is true but it is definitely true that there are way too many images out there.

Photography is something I have done within a diverse art practice, for many years, but I never “became” a photographer.  It’s true that the mystery has gone now, and the ease of snap-snappity makes me lazy.

I called this post “a lens around town” the irony being that the phone – cam doesn’t really have a lens as such.

found image, E6 process colour slide, scanned with Silverfast. To me this is more beautiful than anything.

So I kind of dont want to make any more pictures but to work with those that already exist, somehow.

ps: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/poll/2011/jul/27/digital-photography-nan-goldin?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

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