Meet Your Master
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Hi. I'm Joel Meyerowitz. Welcome to my course. (upbeat jazz music) You probably ask yourself, "What am I gonna get for this course?" "What am I taking this course for?" I think you're gonna get a lot out of it, because it's about finding your identity. Your identity as an artist and as a human being who is interested in the world around you. You can come with anything that you want to make a photograph. You can have your smart phone or a real camera. I would prefer that you use a real camera so that you aren't thinking about making a phone call while you're making photographs or watching a little video on the Internet (laughs). You know, you don't have to have alike camera to make photographs, but something that feels like a photographic instrument in your hand, gives you a kind of authority. There's a quality of dignity to it. There's a sense of the adv...
enture of photography, because once you have a camera in your hand, you have a license to see. And seeing is what photography is all about. You'll learn about yourself, and you'll learn about the world around you. Photography has taught me, in the 55 years I've been making photographs, everything I know about the world around me and about myself. You know, when I began, (object thumps) I didn't even have a camera. I was an art director at a small agency in New York, and I had designed a little brochure, and my boss hired a photographer to make the photographs for the brochure. And I spent an hour and a half watching this photographer work. I didn't know at the time that he was Robert Frank, one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. (Joel drowns out speaker) But in that hour and a half, the things that he did were so astonishing to me, as simple as they were, that when I left the location and went out on the street, the world was alive to me in a way that I had never experienced before. Every gesture, every incident on the street, seemed to have meaning. And by the time I made my way back to my office, I realized I had to quit my job and follow that immediate instinct I had of wanting to be a photographer and wanting to see the way the world showed itself to me. And when I told my boss, "Harry, I'm gonna quit, because I need to be a photographer." He said, "Do you have a camera?" And I said, "No, I don't." "No, I don't." And he said, "Joel, you need a camera to make photographs." And he loaned me his Pentax camera, and it was the start of a 50-year journey to find my identity and my passion. And you're at the beginning of a journey of your own right now. So come with me, and let's see what we can discover. (upbeat jazz music) You know, I remember being a young photographer and having some having some insecurities about how the work is developing. And I just wanna say to you that that's part of the game. When you're starting out or when you're trying to raise the level of your game as an artist, there's always some doubt. I wanna urge you to accept that I wanna urge you to accept that and move ahead, and move ahead, because the photographs are the touchstones that keep giving you information and confidence. And part of the way this course will develop will be to help you to arrive at a kind of confidence and magnitude. and magnitude, a way of expressing yourself through photography, because it's an incredible medium because it's an incredible medium for reflecting for reflecting the power of your ideas and your observations. You know, photography is about looking at the world You know, photography is about looking at the world and seeing in the world just the pieces of it that make you feel like you're connected to it. It's not the kind of humdrum stuff all around you. It's those moments of instinct and observation and observation and recognition. and recognition. It really is about awareness. So, have no doubts. You're a conscious thinking person. You have passions and feelings about things. Trust that. Trust that. And go for it. Don't hesitate. Because in photography, hesitation is lost. is lost. And every picture you lose is like a wound. I know. I've lost a few myself, and I've learned from those. So, have the confidence to just try anything. So, what I'm really saying to you is instinct and impulse, as soon as it arises, react, do it, go for the picture. react, do it, go for the picture. Don't think too much. Let the intuitive, physical part of your being, your body and your brain join in that moment, your body and your brain join in that moment, and you'll make a photograph of something that is disappearing right in front of you, 'cause that's what photography does. It tears a little piece of time out of the whole flow of time. And that piece is identified just with you.