Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photography, Rare Breeds and Heuristic Teachers

I had a wonderful experience this morning of meeting a visiting fine-art photographer Andrew Danson Danushevky. I was auditing this class though normally at this time I would be in my my Open Media class, but asked permission to attend this special lecture and presentation. I am so grateful I got to attend. I was rather dumb struck by his presentation of 35 years of amazing work. What an honour and privilege to meet such an artist of his talent and caliber.

This experience helped to clarify why I seem to have had an ongoing love-hate relationship with photography, especially since coming to Mount Allison in 2009. When I first enrolled in Professor Thaddeus Holownia's class, part of my intention was to of course learn about photography, mostly however this class would be a means to an end, in that, I would hopefully learn how to take good photos-in turn enabling me the skill of being able to document my art work, which is primarily painting. I was soon to have my eyes opened to deep discovery. This discovery I believe is the direct result of having a teacher and mentor like Professor Holownia. I hope he is not a dying breed of photographer and teacher but he certainly is a rare one.

Not unlike Professor Holownia, Andrew Danson Danushevsky clarified this struggle of discovery for me, that I have been trying to resolve and understand. Photography is a conduit to energy that is about a path to understanding self, and life, in a profound yet simple way. It does not mean that this is in any way easy. In fact it is difficult, very difficult. This struggle I think for me, is directly related to my love-hate relationship with photography.

Over the past year and a half, I have asked myself, why do I continue to take photography when it seems to give me so much anxiety, grief and stress? I think it is all about the struggle. It is where the growth lies under the creative skin of life, that you can come out the other side, somehow a better person and a better artist.

Andrew Danson Danushevsky was able to put this into words for me and my vision is becoming clearer. I can feel myself going through a metamorphosis of change, getting to a deeper level of my own commitment, and my creativity, as an artist. I think really, it is personal integrity that is imparted by those who can teach. I am so very grateful I am in an environment where I have the opportunity to learn from those who are heuristic teachers. This kind of learning, I believe is not unlike the way First Nations people teach their children and those lessons stick. The lessons I am learning are finally beginning to stick.

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