Reflections on teaching photography - Ben Bowles

I have been lucky enough to teach a number of photography workshops recently. The following piece is a reflection on how the sessions have altered or reinforced my thinking towards photography. Quick note- *all photos contained in the post were taken by young people on the street photography workshops* 

The importance of basics

When you're busy shooting for clients, it can be easy to lose a connection with photography. Deadlines, pressure and adhering to briefs can sometimes chip away at a photographers creativity. Therefore, teaching the basics is the equivalent of having a revitalizing creative bath! Whether it's discussing compositional techniques, using available light or improving your framing, covering these building blocks brings me right back to why I got obsessed in the first place. As a working photographer, the basics keep you humble, they keep you honest.

The true power of photography

Anybody that's seen my blog posts or heard me speak about photography know that I believe deeply in the inherently positive nature of it. However, seeing this first hand in others took it to a new level with young people losing themselves in documenting the local community. By using a bit of technique and instinct to make great images, the young people's photography was outstanding. Through this process, young people's self confidence increased, and a creative focus was developed. I write this not to blow my own trumpet, but rather observing the truly remarkable and amazing vehicle photography can be for self growth.

A truly democratic art form

Whatever your circumstances in life, if you have a camera you can make incredible photos. And contrary to the usual opinion, better cameras don't bring better photos. What brings better photos is composing images in an interesting way, it's unlocking one's creativity and telling your own story. All of this is possible with a £5000 camera or a £50 camera. The participants on the course couldn't hide behind an expensive camera or editing skills. They relied on seeing, shooting and reflecting. If as a photographer you can do these things, you are way ahead than the majority of people taking photos. 

Workshop exhibition launch video

If you haven't guessed by now, I genuinely believe in photography. If you know of an organisation that would benefit from my photography workshops, it would be amazing if you could share this, or contact me directly through the usual channels.


Benjamin x 

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