I have probably shared the reaction of many “upgrading photographers” when they try to improve their photography: “Oh my, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be.” I’m sure this OMG has happened to people of all ages but I suspect it has really caught older adults who have been taking pictures for a long time by surprise. After all, you’ve taken photos of your family, vacations, maybe sporting events, and even weddings and they were OK. But the transition from OK to really good photography was more difficult than you expected. I understand because I took that journey when I retired.
So after a couple years of trying to improve, in 2015 I decided to share what I was learning, and the challenges I was facing, through a blog I called First an Amateur. Since I had spent the majority of my life studying the teaching-learning process, my First an Amateur blog gave me the opportunity to share the challenges I was facing in photography from the “learner” side of the desk. I really enjoyed the online interaction with many amateur photographers. They asked challenging questions and shared responses that led me to think about the teaching-learning process in photography.
In March 2016 I decided to take what I had learned about “How to Learn Photography” and start a program I called the Peer Mentor Program in the Teton Photography Club. In April 2016 I wrote my last blog post; the Peer Mentor Program was taking my time as it grew from about 6 members to more than 40 committed amateur photographer who meet for a photo shoot and critique meeting every month. In a sense I have taken a three year sabbatical where I learned a lot more about how to learn photography … Now I would like to share what I have learned on the a new First an Amateur blog.
The First an Amateur website will soon have a variety of pages that hopefully will help you to explore photography on a number of levels. I hope to share what I have learned, what my peer mentors have learned, and what challenges we have faced. I will create a Randy’s Gallery to share my photos, a Peer Mentor Resources page that will include the themes of the peer mentor program and the on-line articles we have used to learn about those challenging, and a Contact Randy page for you to give me some feedback or ask questions. I will also have two blog routes you can take; one for the Old Blog (2015-16) and one for the New Blog (2020).
If you are interested in joining the journey, you might want to start by reading Where is Your Photography and giving some thought to how committed you are to improving your photography. Every photographer is welcome and you may find is you are ready to take the first few steps.