Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting Started and Expectations

I raced downstairs this morning when the doorbell woke me up to sign for my OCA course materials for my first distance learning module, The Art of Photography. I'm super excited to get started. Going in to this course I am pretty much an absolute beginner. I have been taking photos since I was around 10 and my gran gave me my first point and shoot film camera. I finally saved up for my first DSLR (Nikon D5100) in August 2011 and found myself completely hooked. I did a one day course learning how to use the damn thing (so many buttons and settings) and a short course in Photoshop Elements. Now I'm discovering new ideas, buttons, techniques and inspiration every day and wanted to take this hobby seriously and see where it leads me. I've often thought about where my creative talents lie being from a family where everyone but me seems to have an art gene of some kind. They are skilled at languages, creative writing, classics, graphic design, drawing and painting whereas I got the science gene. Don't get me wrong, I love science, but I like to think there is more to me than chemicals and formulae.

Going into the course I'm aiming to continue learning until I get to the end and graduate with a BA Photography. I'm trying to be realistic though as I'm nervous about coming in with so little experience, plus I work full time in a fast paced and demanding industry. The initial module is 400 hours of study and I am aiming to commit to 10 hours a week. I think this is realistic if I do my reading and reflecting in the week and most of my practical work at the weekends. I'm again hesitant to make this too solid a promise and will see how the first two months go and if I have set myself too high a goal.

Basically, I'm aiming high but am being flexible and taking it one day at a time!

I think one of my first personal goals is to start reading up on different photographers and finding four or five that really resonate with me and begin studying them in more detail. Up to now all I've been doing is trying different techniques out with the camera with not much thought to the discipline and what has come before me. As I'm off to Prague this afternoon my tutor mentioned three photographers to research so I will start with this while I am away : Ivan Lutterer, Josef Sudek and Josef Koudelka.


  1. Hi Rhiona. Your blog is looking good though you shoudl give some thought to having a couple of pages to organise exercises and assignment material so people (esp tutors and assessors) can easily find them. I think you are very wise to manage your expectations at this time. It is challenging to manage a busy job and studying for a degree. I also have a busy job and have studied for professional exams before I started with OCA. In my experience the challenge is even greater when you are purusuing artistic studies at it isn't simply a case of hitting the books. The rewards (again in my opinion) are much greater also and it is worth it. Best of luck - look forward to following your progress!

  2. Ooops - just realised I got your name wrong (I know a lot of Rhonas and Ronas and didn't spot that your name is quite different. Sorry about that.

  3. Thanks Elleen. I was going to look into seeing if I could display my tags for the different posts to make it easier to search,but if not it's easy enough to add pages for reflections, exhibitions, research, exercises and assignments. I will try and organise it as I add more posts. Good luck with your studies and thanks for stopping by :)