I’m coming back. I mentioned way back on the 7th that I had a sore throat, but was recovering. That turned into a cold; I’d recovered by the 11th, but on Wednesday, March 12, I woke up with an awful sore throat, headache, and fever. Two days later, I noticed the white patch at the back of my throat, so Dad took me to the doctor (it’s expensive without health insurance), who proscribed one gram of amoxicillin (a sister of penicillin), twice per day. He assumed it to be strep throat, skipping the test. My Grandma notes how large the dose is; it’s interesting to read that doctors now proscribe super-doses to everyone because the bacteria has mutated, developing antibiotic resistance from decades of being slaughtered. Obviously, this can’t be a long-term solution, as just like with the Borg, the enemy’s adaptability requires an ever-changing attack strategy.
I’ve been on antibiotics since Friday; I wasn’t well enough to go to school today (Monday), though. The white patch is down to specks, and it hurts less to swallow, so I’m targeting Wednesday to return (no classes on Tuesday, though I’ll miss work). No school missed last week, because it was spring break. But plenty of lost money and grades. Instead of studying, I spent five days suffering on a couch, watching the shameful wart that is network television, sipping from a bottle of dry ginger ale when the pain of dehydration would surpass the pain of swallowing.
I’m thinking I’ll get a B in photography class (there’s no formal feedback, though). I need Monday to develop film and print, but missed today, and my teacher said I was below the standard last week because I developed one roll of film instead of two. Apparently it doesn’t matter that the roll is 36 exposures instead of 20 or 24, or that I put time and/or creativity into each image instead of shooting three dozen images of a tree. I’m so glad I’m not going into photography as a career. Not in the neo-traditional, professionalized sense. Or perhaps, I should trudge through the program, commanding worship and respect for graduating from a community college. Then, I can open a studio, get a little plaque saying I’m a Certified Professional Photographer to hang on the wall, and then print up plain-white business cards saying that I’m a qualified professional photographer and imaging specialist. There will be no images on the cards, of course. That would be unprofessional. There will only be promises of terribly professional conduct.
What I do hate most, is being told that film unlocks my creativity. It’s a lie. It LIMITS my creativity. If you use it, you’re being held back, too. It’s terribly expensive, dust-prone, time-consuming, et cetera. Non-zooming (prime) lenses limit your creativity too. Not doctoring your photos in Photoshop limits your creativity. But we’re fed the same rubbish argument from higher math: “it teaches you how to think.” Would we put up with four years of classes of brain-teasers? If any subject does anything, “teaching you how to think” needs to be secondary, lest the whole thing be a diversion. When Jefferson proscribed reading, writing, and arithmetic, he didn’t mean algebraic theory and calculus.
So how do they say film teaches us to think? First, we’re forced to learn the basics of metering, aperture, shutter speed, etc. Then, we put more time and thought into our compositions, because of the terrible expense of film. This logic is putting the cart before the horse. It’s like trying to first learn the alphabet backwards so you’ll be more prepared to learn it forwards. What we need to do, is to take a ton of photos on a digital camera (even a cheap one), without reading dozens of technical pages from textbooks. If we’re making our photos horribly blurry, or overexposed, or off center, or there’s a trash can in the background, we see it right away and correct it, and from practical experience comes expertise. What could be better for teaching us to think? The professionalized model for “learning” photography is like learning how to drive a car from a year-long technical course. It’s hard to believe that standardized education can make fascinating subjects so boring.
One note on the site: I out-sourced to FeedBurner for my email newsletter, instead of running software on my server. I’m on shared hosting, so this will be more reliable, and free up computing resources for visitors. Sign up today; it’s the same stuff that’s in the RSS feed, which is the same stuff that’s on my website.