Feelings Into Photography

The Block Plan at Colorado College has a tradition of innovation and flexibility. Please design your own three-and-a-half week course and describe what you would do.

Given the hypothetical opportunity to take passion for the visual arts to a new level, the subject of my class would be a “Feelings into Photography” course. Here, I would assign students a portfolio to be created, shared with my guidance throughout the process, polished over the few week period and to be turned in at the end of the block. The first week, I would administer a list of general ideas, such as “passion, spirit, trauma, journey, identity” in which the students would select one that interests them, and connect their chosen abstract concept with reality, the goal being for the students to experience their environment by shooting photos of what they think accurately represents how they feel about the given idea. Additionally, students would provide a brief, but in-depth description explaining why what they photographed reflects their interpretation of the assignment so that myself and their peers can understand and ultimately relate to.

The following week, the focus would be on legendarily profound photographers such as Paul Strand, Ansel Adams, and personal favorite of mine, Andy Warhol. We would analyze, admire, and debate the meanings of the photographer’s piece, the emotions the work evokes from the spectator and most importantly, how it depicts the person behind the lens together; this allows students to hear other perceptions of both of those aspects, and how they are similar and differ to their own. The physical assignment for that would be for the students to be inspired by one of the artists we examine and attempt to mimic their effective skills or create one of their own. The final week would be spent in a more personal manner by myself, the instructor, individually assigning each student their own suggestions for inspiration based off of what I have learned about their character through their work, participative conversations held in class, and between the two of us, considering I would be an adamant aid in my student’s process to ensure they were being as genuine to themselves as possible in their photography. The remaining half week would be spent performing presentations by the students, showcasing their portfolio and inevitably, themselves

The main objective of the class is for students to grow up to be open minded young adults and aware of themselves, their thoughts and feelings, as well as the people around them to obtain a greater empathy and understanding of human nature, emotion, matter of opinion, and the power of philosophy behind art. By simultaneously showcasing the external world around us through photographs, the inner state of the photographer is revealed and expressed in a way that an audience can comprehend, relate to, and appreciate.

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