14 January 2012

A rant on the subject of a photography class...

This rant actually goes back a couple of years, so if some of you have already heard it, forgive me.  But recently this rant came roaring back into my head. (via Weird Al's 'Skipper Dan' (don't ask my mind works in mysterious ways))*

Anywhoo, lets take a trip back to the days when I was taking a digital photography class.  Now, maybe it was my own ignorance, but I thought it would be more about taking photos than editing them in Photoshop.  The class should have been called Intro to Photoshop.  But that's not even my biggest complaint about this class.

No, its with the instructor and the students.  And, to be fair, they were ok for most of the class.  But I want to focus on a few stories, that all lead up to my confrontation with the instructor.

1. We are discussing the origins of photography and where it really started to be popularized.  I brought up the US Civil War and the work of Matthew Brady and his associates.  The teacher then asks the class (I don't know WHY she did) when the Civil War took place.  This girl, who looked to be out of high school all of 20 minutes said "1880s?"  After slamming my head against the computer monitor in front of me, I had to give her points for getting within 20 years.

2.  We had to do presentations on a subject about photography.  This one guy is discussing Annie Leibovitz.  I will NEVER forget what happened next.  The student in question states (and this is pretty verbatim): "I heard somewhere that Annie Leibovitz died.  I could not find anything confirming this, so I'm guessing she's dead."

And that's not the worse part.

Oh, no the teacher then responds with: "You know, I think you are right."

Ladies and gentlemen, people almost died that day.  I was furious with this ignorant student who did such piss poor research and claimed that a world famous photographer was dead.  A 30 second search on Wikipedia IN CLASS told me that she was alive, and lives in CT.  I was equally furious with the teacher for just agreeing with this and NOT looking it up on the computer IN FRONT OF HER FACE.

To cap it all off, one day during class break the teacher asks to speak with me.  She says that I seem... upset recently. (Ya think?)

I fire off my opening salvo: "The general level of ignorance in this class is pissing me off."
Her response: "...well, I don't know..."
I turn broadside and let loose another salvo: " For the record, Annie Leibovitz..alive."
Her response: Blank Look (i must have taken out the generators)
I cross the T and fire another shot: "Oh, and the Civil War... 1860s."
Her response: "..well this is a basic college class..."
I swing around and let loose my final shots: "That's basic fucking high school."

So, just remember, do your research, have some basic knowledge and nobody gets hurt.

One final thought.  I know that not everybody will have knowledge on the Civil War.  And I'm not even asking them too.  However, we were seated in front of computers, so it would be pretty easy to get the correct info, instead of making yourself look like an ignorant ass.

Rant finished.

*I knew you would ask, so...There is a line in Weird Al's Skipper Dan which goes :..and Annie Leibovitz would shoot me for Rolling Stone..."  This then set off the rage.


  1. Ugh. That would piss me off, too. First off, photography should be about getting the shot right the first time, not having to go back in and edit. Editing is for people who can't take a decent picture. Second, who the fuck just blurts out ignorant shit they don't know in a college class, and then lo and behold the ignorant ass teacher backed it up. Sad. And we pay a hell of a lot of money for 'basic college classes' so we should expect more. I would have brought it to the Dean. *steps off soap box*

    1. I never thought about talking to the dean about it. Turns out also that the teacher was not a photographer, but a graphic designer. Her and I also went at it a few times on the subject of editing photos. One week, I would comment that I don't like to do a lot of editing. Her response: 'Oh, you're a purist." Yes, yes I am. The repeat that conversation the very next week. Le sigh. Oh, and now I realize that the rules were 'only pictures taken during the run of the class' but I still think I should have used my panoramic of Mt. Rushmore instead of the panoramic of Three Rivers she made me take.

  2. Sometimes talking to the Dean is the only way to get shit accomplished. The Dean should be made aware particularly in situations where a teacher is acting like the class isn't important (ie. her saying it's 'just a basic class') because the basic classes are what persuade students to join specific majors. If I were the head of a photo department, and I heard a teacher say that, I would consider firing that teacher and replacing her with one that wanted students to be excited about the class, not repulsed by it. :)