Use the Creative Commons to nurture photojournalists
Photographer Jonathan Worth, a National Teaching Fellow and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce, describes his photography program and a new open course of learning from World Press Photo
I’m a photographer, and I teach a photography class called Phonar. I'm from the generation that made photographs on film, for transfer to paper, whereas the students I teach make pictures out of pixels for screens. These screens come with speakers, which means we have to learn about sound, which is okay. Throw into the mix, though, the fact that screens want to play movies, not stills, and things get more hectic.
Surely that means I should be teaching movie-making, right? As all this is no longer something restricted to a few highly-trained pros, we also have to work out just what it is that we photographers do that's different to what every cellphone owner does.
In 2009, when my undergrad class started, I just didn’t know. So I opened it out online, for free, and open-sourced the problem.
The latest iteration just finished up. Every version has had stuff to take away, about photography or teaching or learning online versus learning onsite. But this time it was something bigger.
This time, the most interesting piece of work didn’t come from someone in the room. (Sure, there was awesome work from my paying students, who kick all kinds of ass). Instead, something came in after the classes finished, and it blew me away. It was from a young woman called Priyanka Ghetia, who hoped one day to attend university. She’d been doing the Web versions of Phonar quietly, on her own, either drawing on her schoolteacher for help or teaching herself. She’d used her phone to make sound recordings; her old camera; and even a torch when light was short.
What she’d made just stopped me in my tracks.
Now, that’s very cool. It turns out that by running my classes in this open model, I’m more likely to get awesome students apply to study with me, after becoming part our ‘storytelling’ conversation. It means people who might not otherwise have got involved, for whatever reason—money, geography, culture, age—can join. The dialogue can bloom.
Its already bloomed to the point where we’ve had up to 35,000 join over one ten-week iteration of the course: a big "chat"! But what about moving beyond a university classroom of 25? What about applying the same open and connected approach to say, the most prestigious Photojournalism Award in the World? And what if the starting point wasn’t 25 photographers, but instead was their 10 million-strong community?
That’s what I asked Maarten Koets, Deputy Director of World Press Photo. He took a moment to think about it, then decided that you can change the world with that sort of thing. #Boom
Six months (and a massive amount of behind-the-scenes work) later, anyone can “attend” the World Press Photo Academy.
You can’t rock up to the onsite classes taking place in north Africa (those places have gone to photojournalists from the region, who won a competition to attend), but you can take the same workshops, listen to the same interviews, and submit work to the same briefs. You just need to bring your own chairs to the Facebook page.
Here's the kicker. If you’re a teacher, you can pick up Creative Commons Licensed teaching materials (which are naturally authored by the most acclaimed figures in the multi-media industry) and relay them to your own classes, wherever they may be.
This means that a teacher in Nairobi, the Netherlands or Newport Beach can plant her class right in the middle of what was, until now, one of the most exclusive networks of industry experts, and enable her students and become a part of their conversations.
Also, importantly, this is a storytelling class with images and sound. So we're not only teaching people to speak clearly, but putting them in a situation where they stand a better chance of being heard. That’s something that traditional learning institutions don't really do.
I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if the most interesting, successful and winning work submitted to this first connected learning World Press Photo Academy came from someone who won a place in the onsite class, or even a professional tagging along for the ride. But watch out for something awesome, made by someone using something like a mobile phone and a torch.
How to join.
Jonathan Worth is an English editorial portrait photographer who never won a World Press Award. He did write the world’s first Open and Connected Undergraduate Photography courses though (picbod and phonar) and that made him a National Teaching Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce, so he’s not bitter.
Photo credits: Banner: Abdella Azizi , 2-4: Eefje Ludwig, 5: Screengrab from Inas Gohar (in the picture we see Mosa'ab Elshamy on assigment), 6: Eefje Ludwig, 7: Rebecca Simons, 8:Virginie Nguyen Hoang.
Mick Rock: The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973 – An amazingly impressive object, even by Taschen standards
See sample pages at Wink. Mick Rock: The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973 by Mick Rock (photographer) Taschen 2016, 300 pages, 10.8 x 15 x 1.2 inches $44 Buy a copy on AmazonWhen I asked Taschen’s PR person for a review copy of the hardback edition of Mick Rock: The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973 […]
Math teacher at Dana Hills High School in southern California, late 1970s. Pitted. So pitted. Posted by the engaged educator’s son on r/OldSchoolCool and making the rounds again.
Portugese artist Tomba Lobos sculpts bizarre facial deformities out of Play-Doh and then uses Photoshop to apply them to his subjects. “I would like to think this project as a low budget tribute to old school Special Effects wich can be seen, for instance, on Cronenberg’s movies like Videodrome and Chris Cunningham’s music videos like […]
Jared Sinclair developed the RSS reader app Unread, which made $10,000 in its first 24 hours on the iOS market. And we’ve all heard the story of Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen, whose creation was reportedly earning $50,000 a day at the height of its 2013 explosion. While those are rare examples, they’re also testament to the […]
If you or your company’s IT system are besieged by black hat cyber attacks, an ethical hacker might be all that stands between crippling damage and a company’s long-term prosperity. It’s no wonder that the market for IT security specialists is exploding. Certification is the key – so learn the tenets of ethical hacking and get […]
Your laptop and mobile devices are top of the line…so why are you trotting out that raggedy decades-old suitcase when you go somewhere? Time to up your travel game with a complete 5-piece Herschel Travel Luggage bundle…and we’ll even give it to you for free!Of course, you’ve got to win the Ultimate Herschel Travel Bundle […]