Photography is Magic

Screenshot of the photography is magic home page. A group of people are looking in many directions. Photo by John Freyer.

I’m co-teaching a class this semester on digital photography with John Freyer. It’s aimed at undergraduate non-art majors and it’s blended. There will be lots of field trips and a chunk of online work. There is no particular camera required. Many of the students will be using phones but some have DSLRs.

I’m building the companion site as we go but you can see it at and the work is out there on instagram under #phomag and the various challenge hashtags (#phomag_eat and #phomag_hunt so far).

A variety of instagram photos from the phomag_eats hashtag are in a masonry layout.The work aggregates to challenge pages where the challenge is described. This is the #phomag_eats page.

In the week one post, I make an attempt to show some of the value I find in online photography communities and at least sketch out a bit of the diversity you can find there. I highlight Flickr, Wikipedia, and National Geographic’s Your Shot. With Flickr, I do a bit better job showing how the data provided by their interface might help you figure out technical things about your camera and the photos you want to shoot. I’ve always found Flickr’s ability to make exif data public to be a really nice feature that may be passed over if you’re not looking for it. It’s been an educational resource for me as I moved from automatic settings to more manual choices.

A screenshot of a flickr page with the camera settings highlighted.

With Your Shot and Wikipedia, I find the content inspiring/challenging but also like the idea that the site is generating photography challenges regularly. I can feel particularly good about Wikipedia as the photos end up going back into a resource I use regularly and if you haven’t seen the featured pictures (like featured articles) on Wikipedia I think you’ll be impressed.

So that’s a bit about what’s going on there. I have been in a fairly major photo slump for a while but I’m back carrying my camera again and I’m hoping learning and exploring with students will get me back to my previous patterns.