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Student Work: PPSOP June Class, 2012

Shot by Philippe. Lesson one on the Vanishing

This is the first time I’ve written a post centered around one of my classes that I teach at the online school called the PPSOP. I usually showcase one of the assignments I give in the last week where I give each student a color and letter to go out and find. The reason for this assignment is to get them to start “seeing past first impressions” and be able to focus on a particular color or object. As I tell them and also my students attending my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, one of my favorite quotes was said by Henry David Thoreau. He said, “It’s not what you look at it’s what you see”.

However, this time I’m featuring photos from the first week until the last because it was one of my strongest group of students I’ve had since I began teaching online at the school.

Each week my class is given a different lesson and they all are about creating their Artist Palette. On this palette will soon be the elements of visual design and composition: Negative Space, Vanishing Point, Perspective, Visual Tension, Pattern, Balance, Texture, Shape, Line, and of course Light and Color. At the end of the four weeks, they’re armed with the means to create photographs not just in great light, but midday light and gray days.

Knowing how these elements work gives them the ability to dissect their individual work which is necessary if they want to take their imagery what I refer to as “Up a Notch”. Discussing their photos through the use of my video critiques clearly shows them a new path in which to lead their newly developed ‘Eye’ and thought process.

To me, following the guidelines of the Psychology of Gestalt (follow this link for my article in Adorama:http://www.adorama.com/alc/0013706/article/6-Principles-of-Gestalt-Psychology-That-Can-Improve-Your-Photography ) is important in creating memorable photographs, and it’s a big part of the information I give. The key is to take control of how the viewer perceives and processes our photos. Make him an active part by leading him around the frame, giving him ways to leave and enter our composition, having him keep discovering new things in our photo are a few ways to keep him around longer…just what we want him to do!!!

The following are just some of the images they took during the four week class, and as you will see the reason they look the way they do is because they’re chocked full of all the elements listed above that are now on their new ‘Artist Palette’. There’s so many more but impossible to show all of them.


Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskjoeB@gmail.com


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    { 7 comments… add one }
    • Dawn July 22, 2012, 2:38 pm

      It looks like it was quite a fun class.  I recognize Lemena’s work!

      • Joe July 23, 2012, 3:08 pm


        It was!!! A lot of interaction and lots of submissions every day!!!


    • Lemena July 24, 2012, 6:51 am

      We learned lots from you. Big thanks.

      I submitted too many pictures about boats. Got one pic of those boats on the list. LOL. 

    • Janet Pierce July 28, 2012, 3:36 pm

      Wow!!  I gotta take this class!!  Impressive photography.  Thanks for sharing.  past student of ppsop. Janet

      • Joe July 29, 2012, 10:44 am

        Hi Janet,

        Glad to have you!


    • marlane August 2, 2012, 2:41 pm

      WOW, such a tribute to we struggling students who were in your class. Thanks, Joe. You have inspired us all. I am looking forward to Stretching Your Mind II. I recommend Joe’s classes to anyone who wants to learn about photography.

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