Instead, it turns out that it is a "social photography" course, in that our photos will be of some social value, meaning they will bear witness to various important issues and problems in the social fabric. Like poverty, illegality in its various forms, garbage in the streets, what to do with all the hordes of unemployed escorts running rampant now that Berlusconi can't cavort with them secretly without everyone and his brother intercepting their phone calls and sms messages! Yeah, social issues, you get it . . .
Tuesday evening I went to the first of the 12 lessons being offered by a local group called Camera a Sud. The course objectives are to help each of us "discover, through our own sensibilities, how images can communicate ideas and cultures, projects and passions, and become the visual memory of our own times."
|photo by: Camera a Sud
In those days my mother sent me to "alternative" elementary schools. At one school "alternative" meant we just ran around in the woods all day and built the occasional geodesic dome. At another, things were a bit more structured, but run by two ex-Peace Corps volunteers who taught us how to play Wari, an ancient African board game, and cook peanut butter chicken (sounds odd, but you'd be surprised at how tasty it is).
Things were fairly mainstream for me for a while, until I chose an "alternative" graduate school in the late '80s. One with no grades and an emphasis on "experiential" learning. I found myself immersed in a familiar environment: beards and long skirts all over again. We spent the first week getting to know our classmates and professors by playing "cooperative games." Holding hands and running up and down the green hills of Vermont, you get the picture.
So, I was curious to check out these "alternative" provincial southern Italians. And what do you think I found?
Beards! Lots of beards, long beards, short beards, beginner beards, expert beards . . . but beards all around! I joked with my husband that growing a beard must be a requirement for membership in the association. No beard? Sorry, come back when you've got at least a 5 o'clock shadow, buddy!
But, curiously no long skirts. Hmmm. That will, no doubt, soon be remedied by the fact that this spring long skirts are in the fashion forecast.
But seriously . . . the first lesson went exceptionally well. The (bearded) instructor was kind, patient, clear and humorous. I was sooo glad about that, because as a teacher I expect a lot out of anyone who thinks they're going to teach me (aren't I terrible?), but Cosmo, with his long, purple flowered scarf and miserable head cold, was perfect.
We are starting from the very beginning with things like shutter speed and apertures. I'll keep you posted on how it goes week by week.