This is Connie and Gilbert, my grandparents, on one of their first dates in 1929, on a rowing boat in Maidstone, Kent.
Of course there’s actually 3 photographs (and 3 photographers) at play here, for this is now one image (taken by me) of two others. But then I’m presuming Connie and Gilbert passed the camera between them. (No chaperone on a first date in 1929? The shame that brings).
The image on the right is partly obscured by a camera strap. To me – and perhaps only me (the rest of my family don’t tend to dwell on such matters) – this means something. Transcending accidental status it is heartfelt-funny and very familiar: Early evidence of Grandad at play with a new gadget, and Grandma’s (albeit slightly clumsy) enthusiasm. I love it still.
Memories, hopes and fears can all be multiplied by a photograph and contexts inevitably shift as time passes. These two moments shared in 1929, were never intended to offer me anything, but perhaps that’s how a ‘wrong’ photo can become so right. Within the unexpected and accidental we are free to find our own meaning.
I’ve referred to this photo – and subsequent response often, and it was nice to read this recent post from an ex-student. But why dig it out again now? Well, it seemed relevant…
Wrong? Pass it on
As you may have read here, we are soon to launch Photopedagogy, a new web based resource and network for photography teachers. To mark the event – and with the kind support of Firstcall Photographic - we are currently putting together our first publication.
Taking John Baldesseri’s series ‘Wrong’ as inspiration, our first issue will reflect on (breaking) the conventional rules of photography – and the teaching of it. We are aiming to celebrate the accidental, the absurd, and the unexpected within our subject. And, if you are quick, there’s room for your contributions too. We’d love to gather some wider thoughts – whether you are a teacher, student, professional or just passing through (if you’ve stumbled this far by accident, then especially you. That’ll be perfectly wrong).
Here’s a few prompts: Use the comment boxes below or email any thoughts to Photopedagogy@gmail.com
Is it wrong to:
- explore the accidental with students before mastering the conventional rules of photography?
- soley teach digital photography or, conversely, only traditional darkroom techniques?
- to use Apps that provide generic effects?
- to teach photography if not trained to do so? (for the record, I’m not).
- get overly excited about the one photo that a student took by accident?
We’d love as many people as possible to be involved at this early stage – to share thoughts and ideas, and to help build a supportive network. So do please join in and contribute. Wrong not to!