A springsemester course in digital photography added social media and camera phonesinto the mix. Is this the new norm?
By ScottQuigley ’14
A 2013 PewResearch Center survey found that 58 percent of American adults own asmartphone, providing access to cameras and photo-sharing applications tonearly 240 million people. Another study projects that sales of smartphoneswith cameras will top 1.5 billion in 2014. The face—or at least the ease ofdigital photography—appears to be changing. So, does this affect how we shouldapproach the art?
This spring,one class at the College explored how photography can live in the public realmof social media—using both industry-standard digital cameras and students’smartphones.
ScottFuller, associate professor of fine arts, leads the College’s digitalphotography course. This year, he wanted students to make photography a greatereveryday activity, “to take a moment each day and think about taking apicture,” says Fuller. Sharing these images meant finding a photo-sharingplatform and a method to make it easy to do, all of which led to theincorporation of using social media and camera phones in the course.
One studentin Fuller’s class, business management and finance major Alex Markakis ’14,says his view of photography changed after being in the class, particularly thepart of the course that involved uploading images to Instagram, a photo-sharingapplication with 150 million users. Before taking Fuller’s course, “I used totake pictures of whatever,” says Markakis. “Now I’m thinking about things likecomposition and converging lines.”
Studentsalso realized there was more to photography than the omnipresent selfies foundon social media sites, taken with their camera phones. “I was uploading stupidstuff, like selfies, parties, and food,” says business management major JessicaCapozzi ’14. “I put a lot more thought into photos now.”
KimberlyPost, director of community-based learning at the College, has practicedphotography for most of her life, with a large portion of her work appearing intraditional gallery exhibits. But as far as cameras go, what’s her choice? Sheprefers the camera phone.
Post got herstart in photography in the mid-1980s, developing her own prints in a darkroom.When she got an iPhone 3GS, though, she began using it as her main camera.Since then, she’s had her iPhone photos picked up for publication, mostrecently in The Art of iPhone Photography: Creating Great Photos andArt on Your iPhone (Rocky Nook, 2013).
“I thinkit’s great,” Post says. “It’s bringing photo-graphy to people who normally wouldn’tthink about it. Everyone can be a photographer.”
For more photos from Fuller’s digitalphotography class, search Instagram using #sjcphotoclass and follow him atrdscottfuller.