Mobile School of Photography
by Thobeka Bhengu
Photos by Thobeka Bhengu and Lebo Mashifane
The Johannesburg team arrived on the 18th and immediately joined the Photo XP 2018 in Durban for a session that was already underway as part of the Durban Photo XP, Mobile School of Photography. Half of the team had already arrived in Durban and had been joining in at different dates from the 13th of December. When two facilitators arrived from Johannesburg, there had already been sessions that started on the 13th of December with two groups from Themela and Duduzani Primary School.
Thembela “Terra” Dick was facilitating a session on the themes the participants had chosen to explore. Each participant had their own camera and SD card handed to them and a session on the basics of using a camera followed the handover. It was followed by a session on photo techniques which comprised of practical exercises such as shooting an eye on auto setting where the exercise was used to test if participants can see clearly and have no eye problems. Terra managed to cover multiple things in one session, lighting, angles, landscapes and portraits.
The participants were encouraged to write and read, as part of the Mobile School of Photography because being able to read and write is very important. A slide of different kinds of photographic work by Terra were shown in the session, to help them understand the theory through images they can see. The presentation also included an exercise where each student had to individually tell if an image is a portrait or landscape.
The following session by Prof Zanele Muholi, looked at particular technicalities when using a camera at the beach and where there is water, since the students were meant to shoot at the beach. However, they were unable to shoot at the beach due to the rain. Muholi also explained the concept behind Photo XP and what the project does and the need to have the Mobile School of Photography. The school is the first mobile school of photography to exist in South Africa, Durban because of how it is not fixated in one place. Muholi also spoke on presentations that the students need to work on and compiling biographies for all participants.
The session by Muholi also included an exercise where participants had to sing a song as a way to warm up. The groups were then allocated to different smaller groups to work with one facilitator and assist with their projects or any difficulties they may encounter.
The group later went for a group shot with Lebo Mashifane and Lizzy Muholi, other present facilities assisted when needed. The day was filled with tons of information and practical exercises that kept the students focused as much as they could. The small off topic conversations in between sessions, allowed the participants to have mini breaks in between sessions.
The sessions have been lengthy and had a lot of content and practical work. Students are encouraged to learn as much as they can in each session. Which can be overwhelming but also good for them as they need to be pushed to work fast and smart.