Despite the fact that I grew up in a family who raised 4 photographers, including my dad, my uncle and two of my great-uncles, I am a self-taught photographer.
I did study film at university, in Oxford and Paris, but never graduated. At one point, I had a choice between taking exams or accepting this voluntary job in film postproduction. I went for the latter, which taught me everything I know about video editing and led me to start my own video production business. But I always felt like I did not deserve to call myself a professional, because I never graduated.
Last December, I went to a higher education conference in Philadelphia and interviewed several high-key profiles from Harvard, Google, Noodle Inc and other prestigious institutions and companies. All of the speakers had the same advice: be a continuous learner. Society changes so fast, students are no longer prepared for the jobs they might take on after university, because these jobs do not exist yet. So you need to learn how to learn and be continuous learners to remain competitive.
You will learn about photography as a visual art practice, and how this can help you to become an engaging and active photographer. You will explore the work and concepts of contemporary photographic artists, which may trigger a new interest in what you photograph.
Taught by Dr Shane Hulbert, from RMIT University in Australia.
Discover photography’s roots in both art and science by observing the diverse ways the medium has been used across time to capture a single subject familiar to us all.
Taught by Sarah Meister, Curator of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
This free online course is designed to help current or aspiring commercial photographers get to grips with new media and moving image photography.
Taught by James Smith and Jeanette Bolton-Martin from Norwich University of the Arts.
So I decided to take their advice. I stopped feeling bad about not holding a piece of paper myself, and enrolled for several online photography courses. The best part is that they were all free to attend.
The courses helped me question the way I choose composition and framing. It inspired me to try new things which I have comfortably avoided so far.
I was forced to learn and try new techniques before moving on to the next topic, such as how to make a cinemagraph and why can it be useful today, in commercial photography for example.
And even if I knew most of the things presented to me, it felt good to realise I did. Because I was not necessarily aware of the skills and knowledge I have gathered along the years. I have always been intimidated by the talent and skills of other photographers or cinematographers to even dare saying out loud, I am a photographer.
So whether you are or are not a photographer, I do encourage you too to be a continuous learner. Here are a few suggestions for free online photography courses: