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Student Work: Finding Their Letter and Color


Macadore was given the color red and the letter 'H'

Henry David Thoreau once said, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see”. For me, as long as I’ve known this quote, and it’s been awhile, I’ve always thought it to be a very astute observation as it relates to how we perceive photographically.

A couple of years ago, I was thinking about an assignment I had been giving to my online students with the PPSOP and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet. I was (and still do) assigning a letter and a color to each person and telling them to go out and find and photograph them….hopefully, but not necessarily, in the same photo. They could either find their color and letter as they appear naturally in reality, or they could create them. In my explanation to whatever class I was in at the time (or in now), as to why I always give this assignment, Thoreau’s quote has always been in the back of my brain, and the point of the assignment was for my student’s to go out and focus their eyes and mind and begin to what I’ve always  referred to as, “seeing past first impressions”. I realized that I was giving the same message as Thoreau, but just wording it differently.

It was an Epiphany!!! For one brief moment in time, I actually though  Henry David Thoreau and I just might be on the same wavelength. Here was a man that not only came up with this quote sometime between 1817 and 1862 when he died, but the author of Civil Disobedience. He was just slightly ahead of his time!!!

I’m always impressed with some of the letters and colors my students find or come up with, so I wanted to share several with you from my  PPSOP’s classes. In each of these examples, both the letter and their color are in the same photo. It has proven to be a great exercise in taking my student’s photos “Up a Notch”. In the above photo, Macadore was also working on another of my assignments, the silhouette. I’m thinking she scored a “home run”…how about you?

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, check out my 2012 workshop schedule and come shoot with me sometime. You never know what color and letter you’ll get!!!

Don’t forget to AskjoeB a question and send me a photo to talk about.


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