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Telling Your Story: Narrative Photography with Craig Havens

This fall we’re pleased to offer a new photography course with instructor Craig Havens.

ART X 450.99 – Telling Your Story: Narrative Photography  (Fall 2021)
September 21 – December 14

This course focuses on essential tools and techniques for communicating effective and compelling personal stories through your photographs. Students will develop a unique visual storytelling perspective and define their personal narrative voice.

Course assignments will provide practical experience in defining a personal point of view, effective pre-production and planning, linear and non-linear narratives, effective Image sequencing and editing, compositional strategies for visual storytelling, lighting for dramatic effect, dynamic interactions with subjects, and professional digital image workflows.

Instruction also covers the use of smartphone cameras, social media integration, as well as use of the Adobe RAW workflow editing environment.

Butte de Leon & Dirtpile by Craig Havens

Join Our Visual Arts Open House on August 17th

Direct Zoom link: https://ucla.zoom.us/j/98463221573?pwd=MUx5VXZhSTQxaWNQbFJwd0hMYnhQdz09

Join us for a free information session about the Design Communication Arts, User Experience, and Visual Arts Programs. Learn about career pathways and creative outlets and meet a few of the people involved with the programs.  

Tuesday, August 17th
12-1pm PDT

Enroll here today!

Interview with Stephanie Landregan: UCLAxOpen course Photographing Natural Phenomenon

Photography by Stephanie Landregan

Join us Thursday, July 22 at 6pm PT for Photographing Natural Phenomenon, a free UCLAxOpen short course taught by Program Director for the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program and the Horticulture and Gardening Program Stephanie Landregan.

Stephanie tells us more about herself and this exciting area of photography:

You’ve got quite an eclectic professional background as a photographer, a landscape architect, and a project manager. How has photography been a thread throughout your career or was it something recently reawakened?

I have enjoyed photography throughout my life. In fact, I was a darkroom technician in college and ran a large-format photogrammetry photo lab in New Mexico. But outside of functionally recording spaces, I’ve become obsessed with nature and capturing those fleeting moments.

What makes a camera phone your preferred tool to capture? How has it shaped your work?

I had some fine cameras when I was younger, but with the exceptional quality of the pixel, I focus on using the phone camera. Traveling with larger format cameras and concern about theft makes my phone preferable, and a new tool to master.

Do you manipulate your images or do you prefer to capture natural phenomena as an unfiltered moment in time?

I only crop images, and light images when necessary. Nature doesn’t really need manipulation!

What are two things you hope students will take away from your seminar?

I hope to inspire students to look closely at nature, to be open to using what is on-hand to capture the moment. I’ve learned that, with my phone, I can often be in the moment, capture amazing natural phenomena, and share it with others. I also hope that I inspire folks to challenge their misconceptions, which sometimes prevent us from seeing beauty.

Thank you, Stephanie. Enroll in Photographing Natural Phenomenon today!

Interview with Photography Graduate Jonathan Mark Hedrick

Congratulations to recent Photography Certificate grad Jonathan Mark Hedrick! We spoke to Jonathan about his path to photography, and where he hopes to take his practice. All images included are his.

Tell us about how you got interested in photography and what brought you to the Photography Certificate

My interest in photography began in an organic way. Visual stimuli has always been a means of comfort, inspiration, and education for me. I have always been artistically inclined, drawing and building worlds with things like Legos when I was very young, to taking art classes through my youth and studying art formally in college. I have always been an observer, probably due to the nature of my life as an Army brat and later as a sailor in the US Navy. Furthermore, being adopted has contributed to my preference of observing things, so watching the world in real life and in media is something I respond to. Photography seemed like the logical step for me and my pursuit to find a means to create and express myself.  I learned about the certification program at UCLA Extension and I decided that I wanted to pursue photography in a serious capacity and enrolled for the certificate to learn about the craft.

What’s something about photography that beginning students might not realize?

Beginning students might not realize that photography involves more than making a pretty picture, or the type of camera one uses. Beginners can be overwhelmed with the logistical aspects of photography along with the diverse disciplines that make up the genre, before they find the thing or things they want to photograph. My experience in the time I was enrolled in the program has led me down many paths that photography can offer, and I believe that it will be a constant learning experience. One can learn how to operate a camera and operate lights, read a scene before them, compose it even. I think photography is more than that, and a large component is what the person behind the camera is doing it all for. I know I didn’t sign up with that in mind when I wanted to learn “photography”. 

For your portrait series, can you share what you were exploring with these images, and how you approached the project? 

My conceptual works stem from current and past experiences, observations, and the feelings I personally have about those experiences. During my Photography II class with Natasha Rudenko, I was introduced to works by Cindy Sherman, Gregory Crewdson, Carrie May Weems, and other conceptual photographers. It had a profound effect on me. It was exhilarating and inspirational that a distinct messaging style of portraiture could be created by using allegory and visual metaphors. I like to understand and explain things with analogies and I suppose this is why I gravitated to this sort of composition.  

I am exploring the human experience through my eyes, using analogies that inform me of the ways I can express what it’s like to be unseen, consumed, distant, oppressed, afraid, etc. 

Where do you hope to take your photography practice in the future? 

At this point, it’s challenging to decide on one thing to do or where I see myself. There are so many aspects to photography that I deeply enjoy and am attracted to. I would love to work as an editorial/portrait photographer like Richard Phibbs, or do long projects like Alex Soth and grand tableaus like Gregory Crewdson. I can only stay dedicated and hope that will lead me to creating meaningful work aside from just doing photography as a conventional job. I want to contribute to the world and it feels like I’m just getting started. 

UCLAxOpen Free Course: Choosing and Using a Digital Camera

Join us Tuesday, June 14 at 12pm for Choosing and Using a Digital Camera, a free short course taught by photography instructor Dr. Craig Havens.

This course covers digital camera features including camera bodies, sensors and lenses, as well as brands, quality and price comparisons. Get recommendations for a variety of different needs. The 90-minute course ends with a Q&A session.

Craig Havens (US/DE) is a visual artist working in the lens-based media of photography, video, installation and projection. He lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin. His practice is concerned with expanding the function of photographic and moving images beyond the role of documentary monuments through the use of counter monumental strategies derived from post-war German public sculptural practice. 

Welcome New Photography Instructor Baz Here

We’re happy to welcome new instructor Baz Here to our photography program. Baz will be teaching Photography I this coming spring. Let’s get to know Baz with a few questions below…

How did you get started in photography, and what drew you to this art form? 

I started taking photographs when I was about eight years old after my grandmother gave me her old Nikon. I continued exploring photography through the courses my high school offered and just never stopped taking pictures. Oddly, I never considered myself a photographer as music was my primary endeavor. It wasn’t until my twenties when my journey with photography shifted. I needed promotional photography taken for my music career and started hiring different photographers—I never got the photos that I imagined in my head. I decided to start taking my own portraits. Through that process, my obsession with achieving my own perfect aesthetic led me to further my education and obtain my MFA in Photography.

Baz Here

What are you focusing on in your current practice?

I am interested in the sound current and its effect on visual aesthetics. The amalgamation is somewhat nascent in my practice, as in the past the two artforms seemed somewhat separate for me. I am fascinated by how sounds can alter meaning in a photograph. My most recent work has been mostly an exploration of religious iconography (and Christianity in general) and the psychological weight it can impose on a young queer person. But of course, as a white male artist, considering my privilege is impossible to not weave into all that I do at this point. I’m on my path making art, loving teaching art, and trying to be aware as possible of the spaces I occupy.

Baz Here

You’ll be teaching Photography I – what can students expect in your class? Can you show us a sample assignment?

I love the basics. One of my favorite parts of teaching the basics is that I get to relearn them all of the time. In my class, we will, of course, learn all the basics of photography—exposure, composition, lighting, post-production, and editing—but we will also begin to explore what it means to photograph something and the difference between “taking” and “making” photographs.

As far as sample assignments go, we will do all of the exercises one would expect in a Photo I class—learning how to use the camera in manual mode, and understanding how to compose an image—but perhaps my favorite assignments are introductions to portrait patterns (e.g., Rembrandt, butterfly…) and exploring light and shadow—using shadows of interesting objects to create abstract compositions.

Baz Here

What do you hope students take away from your class as they continue on with their photography education?

Whether my students journey into portraiture, fashion, landscape, food photography, etc., I hope the students will be inspired to think about all of the aspects of photography making—the technical, the aesthetic, the psychological, and of course, the incredible joy of clicking that shutter. I hope we can have a dialogue that will encourage motivation to improve but also the reliance on failure to find success.

Baz Here

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in photography but not sure how to get started?

Well, my advice would be quite simple. Just start making photographs!

Baz Here
Baz Here

Interview with Photography Graduate Yuki Yoshimatsu

Visit yyoshimatsu.com to see more of Yuki’s work

Tell us about how you got interested in photography and what brought you to the Photography Certificate.

I used to study filmmaking and worked in the industry for a while. During that time I would also snap a few photos on set. The more I took photos and the more I would look at other people’s work, I got more interested in it. It became a hobby that I wanted to expand my knowledge on and work on my craft. I decided that in order to do so, I should learn from the basics and work my way through. I believed UCLA Extension would be a great place for me to learn because they offered different styles of photography from Event Photography, Portraiture, Architecture Photography, Studio Photography, Street Photography and so much more. It was a great opportunity for me to study these different styles, but also to learn about myself and my style of photography. It made me appreciate the art and understand that some forms of photography are not my strong suit while others I excel at.

Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu

What’s something about photography that beginning students might not realize?

At the very beginning you may take a few good photos that you will be proud of, but the more you work on your craft and the more you learn, the better you will become. Be patient. Keep practicing. Take lots of photos and explore different styles of photography. You may believe you’re a fashion photographer, but in reality you may actually be an excellent street photographer, and your interest and passion may shift. Also, befriend photographers who take different style of photographs from you. You will learn so much from observing how they work and how they take photos.

Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu
Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu

What was your favorite course and why?

It’s very difficult to pinpoint which one was my favourite because all of the classes I took were amazing and I learned so much from them. All the professors I worked with were extremely patient and talented. Their style of photography is very different from mine, but they would give extremely great advice on how I can improve my craft. I guess if I have to choose, I’d say Photography II with Natasha Rudenko was one of my favourites. She’s such a passionate teacher and pushed all of us to do our very best. She pushed us so hard that some of my classmates and I joked how it caused us to have a mental breakdown while creating our final project; it was totally worth it though! She pushed me out of my comfort zone and I saw an immense improvement on the way I took photographs and how I viewed them. In addition to that, I truly enjoyed Street Photography with Weng-San Sit because she sparked my love for street photography. She would take us to a few field trips and had us explore the city of LA to take as many photos as possible. It was a lot of fun exploring the city with my classmates, but it was extremely interesting to see how we all viewed it so differently even when we were shooting the same exact location.

Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu
Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu

If the phone rang right now and somebody offered you your dream job, who are they and what’s the job?

My filmmaking love is going to collide with this answer. The person calling me will be the genius Mr. Roger Deakins. The job he will offer me is to be the behind the scenes photographer for his films that he will be the cinematographer for. I would love to work with him and have him as my mentor. His way of lighting and framing has always left me in awe. I’d love to be able to capture those amazing moments of him in action whilst picking his brain on how to work in the film industry. I believe my eye from street photography and my knowledge in the film industry would benefit capturing amazing moments.

Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu
Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu
Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu

Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

In 5 years I see myself still immersed in both film and photography. I see myself working in the film industry whilst also working in photography. Perhaps as a BTS photographer while also working on personal projects such as street photography. I hope in 5 years my personal project will grow to the point that I am able to open an exhibition or sell my work on my website.

Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu
Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu
Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu
Photo by Yuki Yoshimatsu

Distinguished Instructor Series – Craig Havens, Photography

On Tuesday, July 14 at 12pm, we are pleased to present our first talk in the Distinguished Instructor Series, weekly free presentations from core academic areas in the Visual Arts.

Benütze Foto als Waffe! (Use Photography As A Weapon!)
Reimagining Monumental Structures Through Countermonumental Strategies

Presented by Craig Havens, PhD, Photographer and Artist

Craig Havens. Butte de Leon & Dirtpile. Waterloo Battlefield, Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium.
Pigment Print on Paper. Edition of 2 / AP 1, 110 x 148 centimeters.
Courtesy of 50°49’19.50”N 4°21’25.53”E galerie de l’erg, Brussels.

The ability of Photography to memorialize a moment in time with crystal clarity was the reason for its enjoying such success in becoming the dominant visual medium from the 20th Century through today. At the same time, this singular focus on capturing monumental perspectives is precisely what has constricted the practice and possibilities of photography.

This struggle to not allow a memory to fade is the problematic underpinning of why monumental structures consistently fail. In trying to last forever they make their temporality even more apparent and their ability to preserve themselves even more futile.

Join us to explore how Photography and other visual art forms can be seen not only from a binary position of Monument or Anti-Monument, but through the multiple facets of a Countermonumental perspective.

UCLAx Instructor Craig Havens, Ph.D (www.craighavens.com) is a visual artist based in Los Angeles and Berlin working in the mediums of photography, moving images, performance, sculpture and site-specific installation. Works have been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Weserburg-Museum für moderne Kunst in Bremen/Germany, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp/Belgium, the Armory Biennial in Los Angeles/California, the Nanjing International Biennale in Nanjing/China, the Heritage Arts Space in Hanoi/Vietnam, the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg/South Africa, the Brugge Triennale in Brugge/Belgium and Galerie Andreas Schmidt in Berlin/Germany.

Join our free Distinguished Instructor lecture series this summer!

Join us over lunch for a series of live talks and presentations in the core academic areas of the Visual Arts. Each week we feature a distinguished instructor and dive into their area of expertise. Areas of focus for this series include Photography, Art History, User Experience (UX), Design, Studio Arts, and VR. Sessions begin at 12pm, last between 60-90 minutes, and are free and interactive. Bring your ideas and questions. Enroll for free today!

  • Tues., July 14   Craig Havens (Photography)
  • Tues., July 21   Dahn Hiuni (Art History)
  • Tues., July 28   Pash (DCA)
  • Tues., Aug. 4    Mayee Futterman (Studio)
  • Tues., Aug. 11  John Selig (Unity/VR)
  • Tues., Aug. 18  Diana Barraza (UX)
UCLA Extension Summer Cover by Matt at Varnish Studios
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