Let’s travel back in time and have a look at the 14 year old version of me. She’d just dropped Art and opted for all the Sciences for GCSE in school, and was travelling on a completely different path than the current version of me. The young me hated the thought of having to create stuff to a deadline and was petrified of not being able to create, or draw, things perfectly when she needed to. She found writing a few lines in a Science exam much more preferable option. She hated anything to do with computers and was totally technophobic. She rebelled against it all by doing Science and Maths. It was far easier to get good grades with just a pen and paper in the science lab than rely on creativity to order, or those weird new-fangled computer things.
Fast forward a billion years to today and I’m still inclined to take the lazy option given the choice. I still fear drawing to order, and the language of computers fills me with dread but I’ve learned how to work around it all. Using photography as a means of expression has given me a new outlet that just wasn’t available back when I was in school. I can finally be creative without the hours of frustration at trying to get my hands to do what my mind sees. I can use photography to enhance what I feel the need to create and I’m more confident in experimenting in other creative fields as a result.
Digital photography as a research tool is liberating too. Collecting source material as inspiration is so easy with cameras on mobile phones. Having the best cameras in your pocket and within easy reach ticks every lazy box going. The cycle of being able to see, photograph, delete, retry, and succeed is so fast and natural that it removes any slow-burning frustration the younger version of me felt about Art.
The instant gratification of knowing that what you’ve created feels good is a great boost to health and well-being too. A lot of the community courses I run have the idea of using photography as a confidence building tool at their core. I’m always thinking of digital cameras as conduits to a good feeling, rather than scary technical devices.
So when NAWR Arts and Education Network asked me to provide a professional learning opportunity aimed at Art teachers I jumped at the chance. I’ve created a package of ideas for i-Pads using PS Express which are easy to learn and even easier to implement. On June 21st I’ll be at Oriel Davies in Newtown, Powys sharing exercises I’ve developed for use in the classroom. I’ve made sure that they’re appropriate for a range of skills and abilities and can be used by anyone… especially the technophobic, atelodemiourgiopapyrophobic* younger version of me.
*atelodemiourgiopapyrophobia is the fear of imperfect creativity on paper.