My name is Catherine and I live in Surrey. The purpose of this learning log is to record my progress on an Open College of the Arts Photography Course.
Most of my working life has been spent in the social care field – Probation Service followed by Social Work (specialising in mental health and learning disability). I hadn’t enjoyed my grammar school education and left before ‘O’ levels. I’d like to think it was because I was too independently minded and questioning of what I was being taught but, being honest, I think now it was more a case of not liking to have to knuckle down and focus!
I went back to education as a mature student and then really enjoyed learning. Working in an Adult Education Centre brought me into contact with ex-offenders wanting to improve their life chances and this is why I eventually ended up training as a probation officer. I met many people with a talent for drawing or poetry, which had somehow been unrecognised at school and also other types of creativity, which had been applied to their detriment.
In recent years I’ve been involved in training on a self-employed or sessional basis. I enjoyed helping other people to learn and, more importantly, to acknowledge the skills and knowledge they already had. I learned a lot about how people learn and how they can get ‘stuck’ and lose motivation. It was strange to experience this process myself when I did a short Mentoring Course.
You might be asking yourself now, “What has all this to do with a Photography Course?” Well – quite a lot for me. I’ve always been interested in the photograph as an image of record, and have many handed-down photographs to prove this. I’ve liked to take photographs on holiday and family occasions. However, until this year (2010) I’d resisted anything other than a compact camera used on auto. Digital just made it easier for me to send pictures in email and store on my computer. Encouragement to use my camera’s other programs fell on stony ground until this year! Whilst on holiday in the Dordogne I became frustrated because my camera (a Canon Powershot) wouldn’t take wide-angle views. When I came back home (June 2010). I decided to take the leap and get a DSLR, with Canon being the first choice because my husband also has a Canon and I could use his lenses.
I really enjoy my EOS 500D. Technical aspects of the various programs have taxed me but I’ve tried to persevere. Subscribing to a Flickr site has helped me because it’s motivating to see what other people can achieve and, of course, it’s nice to see that they have a look at my pictures as well. I’ve felt I’ve reached a plateau though and need more challenge. So, here I am waiting for the Course materials to arrive – feeling some trepidation but excitement as well. I’m going to be interested to record how I learn; what gets in my way and what encourages me to keep trying and improving.