CELINA — Junior scholars from New Knoxville, New Bremen and Minster attended a photography class at Wright State University Lake Campus on Friday to learn from photographer Mike Lamm about the evolution of photography from its manual roots to its digital form.
Lamm, a news, portrait and wedding photographer, said that in its infancy, photographers were hands on, in a mechanical and chemical field working hard to be recognized as an art form. He covered major photographic artists, like Ansel Adams and Minor White, as well as the rise of new technologies from Nikon’s lenses to the bankruptcy and rebirth of Polaroid.
Now, Lamm said photography is not only considered an art form, but it is a medium making art accessible to everyone.
New Bremen art teacher Sharon Whittler said as many of her art students are competing in competitions with their phone photos as with traditional cameras. It’s an art form they participate in almost every day. Because of that, she said the class teaching photography’s roots in film was good for the students.
“It’s a much more in depth history,” she said.
Lamm said this revolution has opened doors for everyone, but has also put some photographers out of business.
“It’s a double-edged sword for professionals,” Lamm said. “I know people who went out of business, because their phones just stopped ringing.”
Photography has also been changed by the amount that can be done in post-production.
“There’s rarely a straight print anywhere,” Lamm said. “Even taking off a dust spot. It used to be everything had to be perfectly clean. Now you don’t worry.”
He said it is amazing the number of people who use Adobe Photoshop to fix their prints, changing the idea of a photo as a truthful representation. As for the students themselves, the junior scholars were selected for their academic standing and for their interest in the subject. Minster brought 21 students, New Bremen and New Knoxville approximately 15.
Minster teacher Kim Seaver said she’d brought at least one student she knew was interested in a photography career, and knew the other teachers had done the same.
Coordinator Marty Kich said the Lake Campus tries to host several junior scholar programs per year covering a variety of subjects from art to science to math. Photography, with it’s chemistry roots and artistic slant, bridges those subjects nicely. The goal, Kich said, is to bring something over and above what the students will get in class.