Photography: Allowing Everyone to Tell Their Own Story
Jonathan Worth, an award winning photography class instructor and a National Teaching fellow think that the traditional classroom teaching is no longer the ideal place to teach these days. Because of this, he resigned from the educational institution where he is teaching to prove his words. And he did this for one reason and that is to teach everyone how to tell their own story through photography.
“I started teaching photography in 2007 and by that time, I felt I don’t have the answers to my questions. Hence, I resorted to the photo community for help”, Jonathan said.
“While I was teaching, an impression came to my mind, asking myself what a 21st photographer has to be when majority of us owns a smartphone, with the potential to become a publisher, photographer and witness”, Jonathan added.
So, Jonathan started to conduct open classes and he has compared this act to Jack Johnson; a 7 year old boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy who led the England Rugby Team at Twickenham who played against Australia on the World Cup.
Like a professional photographer, Worth was looking for a sustainable model when the traditional techniques are no longer working.
“I used to tell excited students and parents during university open days that I am no longer working as an editorial photographer but I know of a better medium to transfer skills and that is through digital fluency and visual literacy; the internet”. Jonathan said.
These days, Jonathan Worth is no longer teaching photography but shifted his means of teaching people. He instead urges everyone to tell their own stories and work on their own representation.
Jonathan emphasized the importance of learning photography by yourself by citing the image taken by John Stanmeyer; a professional journalist from New York who took an image of African migrants who raised their phones to receive signal from Somalia. This picture tells a lot of story in itself. However, for Jonathan Worth, it is a tragedy to know that it still requires a professional photographer form New York for these migrants to tell their own stories, considering the fact that they are holding smart phones on their hands.
“Why are they not doing their part and tell their own stories?” Jonathan said. “Many magnificent stories were not saved simply because they did not fall on a professional photographer’s lens” Jonathan added.
This served as a challenge to Jonathan. He then felt that since not all people can enroll to his class and sit on his classroom discussion to become a good Headshot Photographer or know other types of photography skills, he must go out and reach out to these people instead.