Behind the Lens
All of the equipment for Land and Lens was secondhand and donated. Four cameras, a computer for storage and photo editing, and a few other peripheries. The small number of cameras promotes a sense of sharing amongst our participants.
In a single introductory training session, the students were shown the basic principles of photography—camera handling, capturing light, colours, and shadows. The first hands-on exercise was portraits, followed by a session of photographing abstract shapes and textures. These first images were reviewed with each student before the first session’s end.
After reviewing topics for the student’s fully self-guided and week-long photo sessions, we encouraged the students to:
- Be brave with your camera.
- Let things you’ve never seen before come to life.
- Don’t be afraid to show people at good times and harder times. Get close into people’s lives.
- Let the photos teach you to simply see, and not think.
- Or opposite, let your thinking be the seeing!
- Try shooting early morning and before sunset. The lighting can be very beautiful.
Initial responses included how grateful they felt to be trusted with expensive equipment, how they had only seen cameras in other people’s hands, and how this was so much better and more fun than taking pictures with a cell phone. They marvelled at how pictures themselves have a life of their own.
“Seeing the world with just my eyes and seeing it with a camera are very different sensations. Learning photography has been a difficult, different, deep experience for me.’