After recently completing the Photography Certificate, student Barbara Huber invites us to look further into how her journey began. Below, Barbara shares her personal work and experience taking photography courses.
Tell us about how you got interested in photography, and why you chose the UCLA Extension Photography Certificate.
My interest in photography goes way back – my mother gave me the equivalent of a Brownie when I was about 8 years old and then introduced me the basics of photography. With a hiatus of about 10 years, I’ve been taking and making(!) pictures ever since. There came the point when “dabbling” wasn’t enough anymore and I felt a serious desire to line my passion with real technical knowledge. An acquaintance with serious photo-graphic tendencies introduced me to the UCLA Certificate Program. It provided me with the right teachers and affordable classes, but also with the scheduling flexibility I needed as a professional with a demanding day job that other programs didn’t offer. The rest is history! It was fun, it was demanding because I took it very seriously.
For someone who is new to photography, what should they know about getting started?
Don’t fall into the equipment trap when you start out! It’s first and foremost the photographer who makes the picture. The process is the same for a cheaper model as it is for a super high end camera. Once you know what you want to and what you need to get there, it will be much easier to find the right camera that that fits that particular bill. As a beginner (and despite years of snapping away I would call myself that in the days before UCLA!) I didn’t even know what my needs were, and felt completely overwhelmed by so many choices. I see much clearer now.
What was your favorite UCLA Extension class and why?
Oh, where to start… I had fabulous teachers with a wealth of information on tap; it’s a hard decision to make. But if I really had to pick, there are two that stand out. History of Photography and the Portfolio Class. Both very demanding, but immensely rewarding.
Trying to replicate historic photographs and getting into the old masters minds was very challenging, but gave me a complete new understanding of the medium.
The Portfolio class really gives you yet another push when it comes to critical and especially self-critical evaluation. By then some of us had already found our voices (or at least were pretty close to finding it), and this class really gave us a last push over the edge to professionalism. I appreciated that particular guidance very much.
How have the UCLA Extension classes helped improve your work, and or expanded your professional development in the field?
For one, I work in the film industry and the technical knowledge I have gained has made an active participation in the world of post-production a) possible and b) really fun.
For two, it has helped explore and then focus on the underlying force that drives my creativity, which is a fascination with those hidden lines of non-verbal communication that form this invisible web all around us. It pretty much informs all of my photographic work now.
Where do you hope to take your practice in the future?
I’m working on setting up a collective of photographers and subsequently mount an exhibit of our work.
What are you working on right now?
For the moment I’m working on expanding a street photography portfolio I’ve started in class, and a separate project specifically involving street performers.