The idea that a third party - particularly one with considerable experience in the subject - couldn't possibly help somebody who's new to the subject think through where they stand in relation to existing images is clearly daft. Maybe you had tutors who tried to force you to do things you didn't want, rather than helping you decide what you did value? Most university lecturers would encourage their students to look at as much existent work as possible and to consider what importance it has for them - I do this all the time with my students. But I also work hard to help them think through and achieve what is important to them. I guess you think this last stage is useless (from what you and Russ have written ad nauseam), but maybe you're wrong?
Indeed, the possibility is always there. I have often been wrong; but that's not usually on basics such as this we are discussing.
It's all there in your post: "help...... think through where they stand in relation to existing images..." I already said they should do that: read magazines, look at film, tv and all sources available to them. But they have to do the looking; it's a lonely, singular person, journey.
Neither you nor anyone else, to my mind, can really help; they can certainly influence, and there's the rub. Influence in such a direct and personal
situation is too strong. It will overpower the native thinking of the neophyte. On the other hand, such searching through available images, done alone, will create an understanding of the type of thing, the genre, that really appeals to the person. It has to come from within, cleanly and uniquely. Or at least, that's how I see it.
Tutors that I had? The good ones were fellow photographers in my first photographic employment; the worst was in the night school course I was obliged to attend in parallel. A 100% waste of my evenings and the taxpayers' money.
In fact, you are right: I have stated ad nauseam that you canít teach people how to see, which I believe is the part of teaching/learning that we find difficult to agree upon.
A far as teaching the mechanics, sure, thatís pretty essential, particularly in the digital age: wish I knew a hell of a lot more about it, but then, for what I do, I know more than enough. Were I to be into professional retouching and things like that, then I would need tuition, badly; but fortunately, itís another world.
The important thing, thinking an image in a genre I love, has never been a problem for me; as I think I posted somewhere on LuLa, when I did my first model shoot I had never, by definition, done one before. But it never struck me that I wouldnít be able to wing my way to that particular heaven. It just comes naturally, and itís the same with models, as I discovered around fifty years ago: those that can do, and those that canít fail. They recognize it in you
; the feeling is what itís all about, and Iím sorry, but you canít fake it. Thatís why good shooters still canít get heavenly results from lousy models. Itís a team of talents, nothing more and nothing less. Itís why one stellar lady looks great with top snapper A, but only so-so with top snapper B; they are all good people in that situation, but personality comes into play, as ever, and the magic might still not be there.
Well, I guess we all have axes to grind Ė somewhere, but mine has pretty well rusted to the shaft and so thereís not a lot of point in my whipping the fog, if I may mix a variety of metaphors for a moment.
might be wrong? It's all possible.