Since the age of 16, I’ve loved photography, but I really didn’t begin to learn all the nitty gritty of the art until I started taking classes at the Orange Coast College School of Photography (an amazing program that I can’t say enough good things about)! It was the first assignment in my commercial photography class, a straightforward lighting exercise, or at least thats what my first impression was.
We paired off into teams and went about tackling this project. It started easily enough; find a prop, get the equipment ready and shape the light. We were photographing with a large format view camera (the kind with a black cloth covering the photographers head, like Ansel Adams used) and exposing individual sheets of 4×5 film.
About 3 weeks into the project we had already committed over 15 hours of shooting time alone. After another long day of tedious work and obsessing over every last detail, we went to remove the film from its holder and… disaster!!!
“There is no film!”
“What do you mean, there’s no film?”
“We wasted the entire day photographing with no film?!?!”
6 hours down the drain, with nothing to show from it. We had two stakes of film holders, one loaded with film and the other empty, but we picked the wrong stack! We were absolutely crushed… devastated really! The worst part is that we couldn’t just throw our hands in the air and give up, no matter how much we wanted to!
There are so many times in life when everything goes against the plan and going forward doesn’t seem like an option. In those moments your only choice is to breath… and start again. This is a lesson I am continually reminded of, to push forward when all you want to do is turn into a puddle of tears on the floor!
With our 6 hours of “practice” the next week we did it all over again and again… until we had finished. Remarkably we received the highest grade in the class and learned a valuable lesson: always double check you have film (or a memory card) in your camera, a mistake I will never make again!!!
One of my favorite photographs from my time at Orange Coast College!