In my opinion experiencing new things is a major way of learning in this life. New hobbies, different forms of art, personal challenges and a lot of exploring is what makes my life worth its while. So naturally, I knew I would end up exploring more deeply the art of drawing with light a.k.a. photography.
Short history of photography
So why did I say “drawing with light”? If we look into the etymology of the word “photography” we’ll find out that it comes from Greek and it represents just that – drawing with light.
The purpose of this article is not to be a boring history lesson but I think I cannot explain why photography is such a marvelous form of art without giving a few quick facts of how it came to be.
Photography is the results of several different discoveries but basically, it all started way way back with camera obscura. During the life of Leonardo Da Vinci, camera obscura had been around for about 400 years. Another important discovery that leads to the roots of photography is in the field of chemistry – the photographic emulsion (most commonly a mix of silver halide crystals dispersed in gelatin). The first attempts at creating a photosensitive paste were conducted by a German professor named Johann Heinrich Schulze who mixed chalk with nitric acid and some silver. It was interesting because the product turned out to be darkened by sunlight, but not by fire.
Actually, one of the first camera photographs (that has survived until today) was made in 1826-1827 by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce. The exposure of the photo took more that 8 hours! Niépce was joined in the process by Louis Daguerre. The latter continued working on the discovery after Niépce died. Soon after that, he invented the daguerreotype of photography. The French government bought the patent of the invention and gave it to the public to use. Thank you, French people!
Meanwhile, In Brazil, Hercules Florence had also been started working out a silver-salt-based paper process in 1832, later naming it Photographie.
The rest is history *wink-wink*.
Why Did I Decide to Take Up Photography?
Coming to think about it, it was never a matter of “why” for me, it was just a matter of “when”. I have a lot of friends around me who are photographing either as a hobby or as a job and source of income. I’ve even done my fair share of modeling for some of them – in front of the camera. So it was only a matter of time before I tried being behind the camera (and not only for an hour or two to try out someone else’s camera).
In a way, photography is a form of art. It’s all about capturing the right moment, angle, emotion. It teaches you about patience and speed, about light and darkness, about lines and chaos, about motion and emotion, about color and the absence of it. Photography represents the perfect opposition of things in life – and it teaches you how to find balance.
Where did I go for my first steps in photography?
There are a lot of online photography courses (like this one or that one) and also numerous books to teach yourself about photography. But I chose to enroll in an on-site course here, in Sofia. I had no doubt which one to choose – Sofia Photography School was on the top of the list.
I recommend them with no hesitation if you want to build a firm foundation in the theory of photography and get some hands-on experience as well. The “Introduction to Photography” course consists of 16 classes (each 2 hours long) – twice every week for 2 months. It focuses on different aspects: composition, aperture, DoF, lenses, perspective, shutter speed, exposure and metering, white balance, light, etc. There are homework assignments for each topic and 3 separate practical classes: portrait photography in the evening, portrait photography in the studio and night (street) photography.
For me, the practical classes were, of course, the most interesting. But we wouldn’t have enjoyed them so much if we didn’t have this solid foundation in photography theory. The only thing I would have made different about this course (if I could) would be to organize an exhibition at the end featuring all participants’ best shots.
If you care about some of my shots
I’ve always known that portrait photography and urban (street) photography would be my favorite things to shoot, but during the course in Sofia Photography School I found out that I also enjoy food photography. There was a project by Brooklyn-based photographer Henry Hargreaves, who made this photo series focusing on prisoners’ last meals. The topic was not a very pleasant one, but the photographs were extremely fascinating. The project’s named “No seconds“. By the way, while researching for this article, I found out that he’s made a sequel to this 2011 project. The new project is called “A Year Of Killing” and you can check it out here.
So, this all is just the beginning of an awesome hobby but if you ever feel like you want your photograph taken, don’t hesitate to contact me :D I’d love to! I need all the models and practice I can get! :D
All jokes (not really a joke) aside, I’d like to humbly present to you some of the shots I’m most proud of. Yes, I have a long way to go.
Hope you enjoy them! I’d love if you share some of your favorite photos as well. :)