Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Havana - September 6, 2010

Presentations at Fototeca & Exhibition

This morning in Havana we saw lots of parents and children in uniforms headed off to their first day of school.

On the way to Fototeca, our guide and translator, Jesus, spoke to us a little about the Waves of Art/Style in Cuba, and the 3rd Avante Guard of paintings, which have an identifiable style: black outlines, stained glass colors/look; e.g. tile "painting" in courtyard we saw when we arrived at Fototeca.


At Fototeca, four members of our group gave presentations to audience that included several local photographers and artists. Jorge Gavilondo gave a quick introduction about our group, and overview about what some of our group would be presenting: our group is from the San Francisco Bay Area; we're here doing professional research; and Ron Herman (who will be presenting first) is a Professor at Foothill College.

Ron Herman- Digital Photography Presentation
"Fotographia Digital" - Digital Photography Presentation

Historical Context
- Adobe Photoshop 1.0 was introduced in 1990, and it was a very basic program; you could manipulate images, converted to a negative => onto a transparency => It was still important to print.
- In 1991, Kodak introduced a 1.3 Megapixel camera; it was a very large, heavy $25,000 camera.

Ron's Academic Background
- 1991- 1994 - graduate school University of Notre Dame
- Studied - Martina Lopez
- Scanned to film...went back to darkroom
- Collage was popular at the time due to Photoshop
Ron's Work Experience
- Spiegel, Ralph Lauren, some fashion work
- New York, Cornell University - a lot of good work, but he was interested in more digital
- Came out to California - San Francisco
- Foothill (film?) photography program was started by Marion Patterson, who worked with Ansel Adams & so the Foothill program was modeled after school.
Quote from Ansel Adams
Steven Johnson started the digital photography program at Foothill College - large format landscape photographer who shoots with a digital back. Foothill is located in Silicon Valley.
Foothill has some exhibit venues, e.g. we are planning to have an exhibit this Fall.
We're looking forward to having some shared images - some from Cuba; Ron is looking forward to talking further with those here who would be interested in being part of this exhibit.
Showed picture of the Lab at Foothill - high-end Apple systems, used for music as well.

Digital photography was not widely accepted
Foothill had a digital program, which was attractive, unusual at the time.
This was interesting, but digital wasn't "real" photography, some still thought.
The name of the program was "Photography and Digital Imaging"
But, people have been manipulating images since the beginning of time, e.g. (showed examples) from 1857, 1858 -- where they combined many images.
Jerry Uelsmann - well known for his work.
In 1997, we were running 8 different sections of beginning photography - with waiting lists too.
We had intermediate and advanced classes that would run also.
But we could barely get people to sign up for digital photography.

We went from 8 sections in darkroom to a dramatically reduced number, darkroom is barely staffed.
Several intermediate and advanced (traditional) classes were cancelled.
We created a hybrid traditional and digital course
We also changed our name to the Photography Department
And we have wait lists now in digital classes.

Teaching Challenges
- Develop Curriculum - what and how?
We had to create one; there really wasn't anything in place
- Textbooks
- Upgrading hardware and software
- Updating curriculum and materials, etc.

We're using Adobe Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop.
What we found was the the photo classes end up being tutorial sessions where, at least initially, more and more advanced students don't know how to use their cameras (more emphasis on computers/applications).
Fast-paced - we see more interest in workshops than long courses; students want the answer(s) now.
We've also been teaching online classes.
We offer at least 3 courses online per quarter; this helps open up who/how students can take classes.

Advisory Board
- We have representatives from hardware, software, education, and commercial areas to help keep us up to date.
- We hosted a conference with local photography departments, talked about changes, trends
- Some programs are teaching Introductory digital classes and darkroom for more advanced; some schools don't have a darkroom(s) anymore.

Examples of Ron's Work
- pinhole camera
- digital work
- traditional
- fashion
- Alaska - converted a camera to infrared (very interesting shots, examples)

Examples of Student Work
- Showed a very nice variety of shots from Foothill students

New Developments
- Metal Prints
- Chromogenic
- new on the market
- printing

Russell Brown (Adobe, Photoshop)
- RAW will become more and more important
- New ways to be able to see differences between JPEG and RAW regarding the ways of working with them.
- Video and still - will be able to get/grab a single still
- Canon concept camera introduced in Shanghai - 0-5,000 millimeters
with more focus, more storage, high(er) resolution

Other Trends
- fast wireless
- face detection
- super telephoto ranges
- image stabilization so can handhold with super (accuracy?); more touchscreen, fewer manual dials;
- will be able to grab a single still from a movie
- HDR image from a single photograph

Technology at Stanford University
- Light field camera
- Take a shot and change the focus later
- and will be able to copy focus from one layer to another
- HDR will become available on lower-end cameras
- more 3D options with cameras - we see this now with Fuji camera that shoots in 3D

Next: We have 3 individuals in our group who have something to show/present
1.) Harlan Crowder will talk about HDR workflow
2.) Neeley Main will talk about photo books
3.) John Thacker will talk about his personal workflow

"Post Cards From California" Exhibit
After hand-carrying our prints in mailing tubes to this venue in Havana (with fingers crossed that the tubes would not get damaged or misplaced in overhead compartments, buses, planes, etc.), it was exciting to see the groups photos nicely framed and hanging up on the walls. The mid-day reception was well attended, and it was great to speak to local photographers.

Union of Cuban Writers and Artists
After lunch, we were given a tour of the Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, which was located in a very nice facility, by a woman who was herself a union member/official.

We also walked through a gallery, and saw works on exhibit that resembled wooden toys or games with images/messages cleverly applied in black paint.

Farm Visit
We visited an urban farm this afternoon. A variety of crops were being grown, including lettuces; mint (for mojitos); sunflowers; sugar cane; herbs used for religious purposes; and some fruits.

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