Are cameras obligated to capture reality? Can a photograph ever be abstract?
Renowned American photographer, Minor White, provides the inspiration for this lesson, which challenges students to reconsider the perceived limits of photography. Once students have mastered the rules of the medium – how to use shutter speed to freeze motion, how to focus to render crisp detail, and so on – this lesson encourages students to break those rules. Students will make “mistakes” that render a subject barely legible: frame a subject too closely, or alternatively, from too far away, blur it in motion, or find an unusual point of focus. The subjects of some photographs may be revealed under close scrutiny while others will remain a wash of shape and color.
This project encourages high school students to think of artistic rules in service to a goal or concept. When that goal changes, as this project requires, the artistic rules must change, too.