Extract, from the April Edition of UKEdMagazine.
Book Author: Jane Hewitt (@JaneH271)
The world of photography has become more accessible in recent times, with most of us walking around with a camera in our pockets most of the time. Concerts, museums, disasters, weather phenomenon, etc. will all be covered by someone who has a smart phone camera handy. Many of these cameras have advanced so far that the point-and-click photography culture is now threatening advanced photographic skills, whose results are just as rewarding as any art masterpiece viewable in any gallery.
In her new book, ‘Learning through a lens – It’s all about photography’, teacher Jane Hewitt gives pupils the skills to understand how they can they can best take photographs, whether using smartphones, iPads or cameras, being used as creative tools that can be used every day.
“Most children will have a camera on their phone, and I think banning them in schools is counter productive. We should be teaching them how to use them for their work. I’m not sure we should teach photography as a separate subject, but we should use it.” Speaking to UKEdChat, the Yorkshire based teacher celebrates this recent surge of photography, making it available to everyone. “Smartphones are making photography accessible to everybody, and if you want to take it further you can. There are stock agencies that are now using Smartphone images.”
[pullquote]Just because you have an expensive camera doesn’t make you a photographer. You can have the cheapest camera going and produce the most amazing shot.[/pullquote]But the skills behind photography are essential, with many people not understanding the full features of their cameras. Helpfully, the book offers advice for the beginner to get to grips with such features as: shutter speed, aperture; ISO, white-balance; metering; and an explanation of the different modes on most cameras – all helping to get a good understanding of the capabilities. “You can have all the gear, yet no idea on how to use it. You see people who have huge lenses and properly kitted out, having spent thousands of pounds, and leave their camera on automatic not knowing what the other buttons and features do, openly admitting that they don’t know how to use their camera beyond the basics. Just because you have an expensive camera doesn’t make you a photographer. You can have the cheapest camera going and produce the most amazing shot. It’s about being creative.”
“To me, photography can sit across the curriculum – I have used photography to teach literacy, and have done for years with transition work using images and photography skills. I’ve used Preiser figures to build them into characters and build their homes, then taking photographs to turn them into a story. Pupils then need the photography skills, the literacy skills, the IT skills. To me, this is fun and a tool.”
Photography can be a great substitute for those who have an eye but are not confident at drawing. Indeed, Hewitt confessed, “I can’t paint; I can’t draw, which is one of the reasons why I got into photography, because I got frustrated. I maintain that anybody can take a photograph – it might not be a very good one, but you can do it and you can see the results immediately. You develop an eye, and it is like art in that way.
“I love dead flowers, street art, and texture, but my favourite photographs are from my trip to Uganda, as it was the first time I really realised the power of photography. If you look at the central image on the front cover of my book, the two children had turned a water carrier into a toy, but my favourite image was a little girl standing at a fence watching a school, which she couldn’t afford to go to.”
Gaining inspiration from other people’s work is essential, and any budding photographer should explore images that resonate with them. Jane told us, “I love Steve McCurry’s portrait work – just the close-up of faces and love the expressions that he captures. But there are so many. You can see something and think that it’s amazing, such as the Slinkachu (Little People) images. Even that can be adapted, with young people using Lego figures – and there are so many different characters – this can be linked to outdoor learning, creating all sorts of things. Like I said, you can use photography as a tool. I’ve used it for Year 7’s in English when we’ve been writing about school – their school – and they have given the chance to take five pictures, to sum up their school. They are evaluating; analysing; coming back with five images and it makes it so much easier than asking them to just write a passage about their school.”
It’s clear that Jane Hewitt loves photography, and has inspired many educators with her work……
Click on the below image to view the book at AmazonUK: