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Finals Week

So I’ve made it through to finals week, once again taking 9 hours of classes on top of working full time. I think I said I’d never do that again, but it really wasn’t so bad this semester. I e-mailed in my take home final in Computer Organization and Architecture last night, and I take my Politics of the European Union final on Wednesday evening, so I have plenty of opportunity to prepare.

My third class, Visual Communication, has been one of the most enjoyable I’ve taken. I signed up not knowing what it would entail, simply needing to fill an elective requirement. It turns out that Visual Communication is really Photojournalism, and since I’d never actually used a 35mm camera, it was all new to me. We spent the first half of the semester shooting black and white Kodak Tri-X and learning to process and print our own images. The second half was spent shooting color film and manipulating the images in Photoshop. After the first class I went to Sunny Schick’s, a local camera shop, to find a used camera. The old man wasn’t lying when he said, “you just wait; there’s nothing quite like seeing an image appear on paper and knowing that you captured it.” I bought a used Pentax Spotmatic that’s probably older than I am. Fully manual, without even a hot-shoe, it evokes a visceral pleasure every time I press the shutter release. I’ve since purchased a Minolta Maxxum 70 , but I still shoot with the Spotmatic because it seems more immediate and precise.

So what started out as a requirement filler has turned into something I’ve really enjoyed and want to continue working with. I’ve gone from an unfulfilled desire to capture images to learning to look through the camera and see what I’ll get. And I’ve gone from complete ignorance to an addiction to and talk of F-stops and aperture. This is what an education should do: it should inspire us to think about things differently and notice what’s going on in our lives. Needless to say, I’m glad I took this class. Now where am I gonna put my darkroom?