by Sicka ‘Shaz’ Mthunzi
I grew each day and everyday and I’m growing through transitioning in different art forms. Viewing the world through the ‘EYE’ is a very interesting and very ‘eye opening’ to how the world functions. The ‘eye’ refers to a camera, a tool that I didn’t have any interest in, until I was introduced to photography. I never saw photography as an art form; I always thought that there was nothing fascinating about just shooting.
August 2015 I registered at Market Photo Workshop (MPW) for the Foundation Course (FC), which took 8 weeks. I thought to myself 8 weeks was nothing, little did I know that pressure and a pile of work waited for me. On the 28th of September I received a call from MPWs admin office asking me to come in the next day to get documents and info on when my classes where starting. The next day I got there and was told my classes start the next day, and I thought to myself these people mean business and it was a wake up call that I must take this very serious and expect pressure.
The first day we had Orientation where we were introduced to every stuff member, rules and requirements of the school. Every member was very welcoming from the head of the school John Fleetwood, to the lady who cleans, I love and adore her and call her mamNthabiseng. There where 11 of us in class and I don’t know what happened to the 12th person since MPW takes 12 per course. For our classes we had my favorite visual literacy taught by Michelle Harris, my other favorite subject is Analog taught by Ilse van de Merwe, adobe Photoshop and bridge by Sanele Moyo, Professional practice with Natalie Payne, Technical practice with Michelle Loukidis and Mpho khwezi as our Analog trainer and assessment supporter.
We then had Mr Tswaledi whom we always went to, to get cameras that we hired from the school, which was a digital cannon 550D camera, a Nikon analog camera and a tripod, but we were not allowed to take both cameras home at the same time. MPW takes 6 FC classes a year, so when we started the fifth FC was about to finish and we were the last one for the year. Every class we attended we were asked “why are we here?”
My response was “my mentor Zanele Muholi is a photographer and I work with her writing and documenting for the Inkanyiso website, and I’m also an artist, so when going for shoots I will know how and where I want to be shot.”
In Loukidis’s class (technical practice) we were taught the functions of the digital camera, how to work with different light and she also took us outside to shoot. With Moyo we got to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and bridge, how to edit and manipulate images using Photoshop. Payne helped us with professional practice where we got tips about the industry and also writing our own CVs, biography and photographer’s statement. Michelle Harris taught us how to view the world in a different way, how to see beyond, create images and helped us build our confidence and communication skills.
Mpho Khwezi was assisted Ilse with analog and he also helped us with preparing for assignments. We did analog with Ilse, which is the old and more traditional part of photography using film and the dark room. We had seven assignments for the course and submitted every Monday. They were visual elements, exposure, home, hard and soft light analog, SA photographer, brochure that I hated and personal selection. During crits we would place our pictures on the wall and present them. Both Michelle’s were critiquing us and in our final crit. we had an extended person added who hasn’t seen our work. Crits were very important because you are told where you went wrong and also about your progress when you are resubmitting.
In looking at an image analysis is very important because you get to notice and understand everything about the image. Usually most people who don’t go to exhibitions, when they look an image they look at it for a few seconds and end up missing the little points that make up the whole image. Through learning image analysis I can look at an image for a long time like we used to see how this top class people do when they get to exhibitions. My experience at MPW was worthwhile and very inspirational and because of my mentor advising me to go, I now respect what photographers undergo. I am looking forward to carrying on with photography and have my own body of work, which I would exhibit in my township.