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Surfer
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS

The Creative Camera

Use online learning to enhance your visual literacy

Lockdown began a few short weeks after I started teaching photography workshops, so the challenge has been to teach people how to take creative control of their camera via Zoom! Happily, there have been gaps in between lockdowns, when 1:1 sessions outside have been possible.

I wanted to use my lockdown time to achieve something, so that when I look back on this period, I will remember the positives. So, I decided to work for my ARPS and was delighted to be awarded it in October 2020 for black and white images from my ongoing documentary farming project.

Cuba Boxer
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS
Cuba Hats
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS

I also volunteered for the RPS in early 2020, again as a consequence of lockdown. That decision has meant that I have ‘met’ (virtually of course) many other volunteers, plus RPS staff, who all share my love of photography. It has been an amazing positive influence, during these difficult times.

As a volunteer, I am hosting zoom meetings for some of the new online RPS workshops that have, out of necessity, sprung up. The benefits of online learning have proved to be many, including the removal of geographical barriers, and devising new and exciting ways to teach interactively. We have had people attending from all over the world!

Boardwalk
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS
UK Chips
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS
Homeless person with placard Dump Trump
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS

I am delighted that the RPS intend to continue with virtual workshops (as well as returning to delivering face-face-workshops again), once the pandemic is over. I am particularly enjoying hosting the zoom meetings for the new RPS Creativity Live series, which is presented every Wednesday evening at 6.30pm, by one of my mentors, Jon Cunningham.

Young man with earphone passing a political poster
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS

Visual literacy-the ability to read, interpret and communicate detailed feedback on an image is a skill every photographer requires, but it is rarely taught outside of a formal degree. As a professional photographer and tutor of many years, Jon also shares lots of pro tips and tricks, so people have some really accessible creative techniques to ensure their work gets seen. 

Two important questions I have learned to ask from the Creativity Live series:  If someone looks at your image, what would they know?  And would your image transport them there? 

Have I achieved this with these images from California, Cuba the British seaside and London?

UK Deckchairs
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS
UK Cold Seaside
CREDIT: Valerie Mather ARPS

You can see images from my ARPS panel and from my new book (and the recent book reviews published in Country Life, The Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Life), plus other work, on my website.

Follow this link to find out more about the Creativity Live series.