Learning the art of smart phone photography
Photographer Theresa Airey learned her craft from some of the best in the business.
She was in her late 30s and had just starting taking college level courses in photography when she read a book called ‘The Negative’ by renowned photographer Ansel Adams and was brave enough to contact the author directly.
“I found his number in the phone directory and told him that I had taken photo 101 and really liked his book,” Mrs Airey said.
“He started snickering and laughing at that point and realised I didn’t know who he was exactly. I knew he had written this little book, the very first edition of ‘The Negative,’ and I said ‘I would like to take a workshop with you’.”
She didn’t get to take a workshop with Mr Adams until months later, but he put her in contact with another great American photographer, John Sexton, who taught her some of the basics of the trade.
Mrs Airey said she learned more about photography from those short workshops than she did during an entire year at college.
These days she teaches photography workshops all over the world in countries like Greece, France, Italy, India and Peru.
She will be teaching an in-depth series on iPad/ iPhone ART at the Bermuda Society of the Arts (BSoA), starting this weekend and taking place every Saturday in June from 10am to 4pm.
Participants will learn the basics on digital art like how to organise their work, sync their phone with their computer and transfer images.
As the course progresses they will get hands on experience using different kinds of cameras on the iPhone and start to creatively use apps to turn their photographs into art work.
“By the end they will know about the camera apps and how to pull and organise their work. They will also learn how to get into a good work flow so they don’t waste a lot of time and energy organising their images,” she said.
There are only three remaining spaces in the four-week course; a spot can be reserved by calling 292-3824.
Mrs Airey is best know for “crossing the boundaries” between traditional mediums like painting, drawing and photography with digital art, by using the computer as a tool to create new images.
She said digital art has picked up significantly over the years and is more convenient and accessible than carrying a big camera with all the lenses around.
The artist first picked up an iPhone years ago when friend Dewitt Jones raved about the technology — and even sold her his old phone.
“Within a week I was totally hooked on it. It opened up all these avenues for my imagination,” she said.
“I could just go to town with it and I think that’s another drawing call for it. It’s fun so you go out with no intention of making great art, you are just taking a picture of something simple and having fun, and if it comes out well all the better.”
Another great thing about an iPhone is it gives novice photographers the chance to take great pictures.
All the technical aspects of traditional photography like what lens you use, the exposure and shutter speed won’t hinder you with i-art, she said.
Mrs Airey said everything about photography suited her personality — the fact that it’s fast paced, creative and there was an instant gratification.
Initially others weren’t convinced she would be suitable in the field, but she stuck with it.
“I was in a male dominated world back in 1979 and everyone said I was dumb or foolish to put all my eggs in one basket because I would never make it,” she said.
“They said it was an industry too dominated by men and I never had a chance.”
But she proved the naysayers wrong when she graduated with a master's degree in photography and fine arts.
She also started teaching at the University of Maryland, Towson State University and at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Mrs Airey has published a series of books, including ‘Creative Photo Printmaking’ and ‘Beginner’s Guide to Digital Photo Art’. Her latest, ‘Digital Photo ART: New Dimensions’, was just released last October.
The BSoA course on iPad/ iPhone ART costs $400 per person for four weeks; more details can be found at www.bsoa.bm.