These were the first words our lecturer, Ross Williams said at the beginning of the Space & Place: Photography Workshop at Left Bank Leeds last week.
These simple words set the tone for what was to be a fascinating workshop, in which the group was reminded that the person behind the lens, with a ‘creative eye’ is far more important than the spec of the camera. As a student on this workshop, I was grateful for this viewpoint. It made us all feel like we were on a level playing field, opening our minds to photography as an ‘art’ created through the lens.
As the workshop unfolded Ross taught us an approach to taking photographs, which begins well before the shutter is pressed. The “ERD” method asked us to first take an establishing shot, then a relationship shot and then look for the detail. We were taught to take time to get a feel for the space; the temperature, the smell and the heritage of our surroundings – and only then proceeding to photograph.
It was time to put what we had learnt into action and explore the listed building to create our own images and get advice from Ross along the way.
The results were brilliant and we each chose our three favourites from the day to share with the group in an informal crit. It was great to see the variety and the decisions people had made. Everyone had such a different way they composed their images, the different subjects they chose and the mood they set. Some were taken with DSLR’s, others with camera phones, yet each image said a little bit about the person who had taken it. Some were so distinctive the group could guess who had taken it!
In a time of instant photography and sharing ‘in the moment’ have become the norm, this was a great reminder of how stunning photographs can be if you take the time to really consider what is captured.
Text by Alec Atherton, a recent marketing graduate who is volunteering at Left Bank Leeds.
The Photography Workshops were part of a larger project called Space & Place that has been made possible with thanks to the support of Arts Council England and Leeds City Council.