It used to be that if you wanted to have an in-depth learning experience from a master photographer, you had to attend a workshop or if you were lucky, serve as their assistant. The first could be prohibitively expensive, especially if travel was involved. While the latter was only available to those talented and persistent enough to secure such a position when they became available.
In the YouTube age. you might have access to short clips of these photographers at work, but they were never long enough or existed primarily to promote equipment. What many of us were hungry for was a convenient way learn from photographers who inspired us.
Masters of Photography promises to provide just such an opportunity for online master classes with photographers including Joel Meyerowitz, Steve McCurry, and Albert Watson. Each of these courses revolves high-production video content featuring interviews, critiques, BTS footage of the photographer at work as well as downloadable lesson plans. The service also provides an online community for photographers to share images and to build a community.
I received access to the first offering which features street photographer, Joel Meyerowitz. Joel is a personal hero of mine and I had already exhausted what I could learn from his many books, interviews and the short videos that I have been able to find. This was an opportunity to dive deep with a photographer who continues to inspire and challenge generations of photographers.
The video segments offer a wealth of material that goes well beyond Joel's experience as a street photographer but also delves into his work as a portrait and landscape photographer, his documentation of the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 attack as well as his more recent forays into the world of still life photography. Each segment allows Joel to not only share parts of his photographic story but also offer valuable insights about observing light, paying attention to gesture and carefully framing a subject or scene within the photographic frame.
Joel is as adept a teacher as he is a photographer. So, each segment is rich with an insight of what it takes to create striking and moving image not only of the poignant and dramatic, but also the ordinary and mundane. Through the eye of the camera, Joel reminds us of the power of photography to reveal beauty and awe.
Though in his eighties, Joel has not lost his enthusiasm and love for photography and that comes across in each segment. It is nothing short of inspiring to see him running down a street in pursuit of a shirtless man with a ladder that he caught a glimpse of. Regardless of the subject matter, Joel demonstrates that photography is less about equipment and technique and more about how one responds to life.
The video segments are professionally produced and are easily accessible via computer, phone or tablet. The cinematography for the series is deserving of a large screen. So, if you the capability of linking your device to a large television, I recommend that you do so.
The content can't be downloaded to your device or computer and can only be streamed while connected to the internet. I would have loved to have the option to download the files while traveling when a reliable internet connection is lacking. It would also be nice if the service would remember my place during the playing of each segment as sometimes, I had to interrupt my viewing partway through.
However, those are minor concerns which do not eclipse that great content provided in this master class.
Through I admittedly binged watched all 34 chapters for this review, I look forward to revisiting the class at a more thoughtful pace in the near future, when I will be able to apply so much of what I have gleamed for my next outings with a camera.