Art and Design
When I meet people for the first time I’m often asked if I went to school for photography. I did not, in fact I studied graphic design while attending OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) back in Toronto. I am in essence self taught, much of it through trial and error, brief stints of assisting and having a former roommate who’s a first rate shooter himself.
At the time I didn’t even think of photography as a career choice, it was something I just did more for fun. I am not going into the details of why I made a detour in my career and now being somewhat more of a hobbyist graphic designer and a more serious photographer, that’s a story for another day. However, the knowledge and education I received in the graphic design program in college was perhaps the very best thing for the development of my photography.
The so called “rules” of design were beaten and ingrained in me to the point where I didn’t even have to think about why I made things look the way they did. You were composing based on how things felt right and looked right. Using the ideas of contrast, hierarchy, colour use, size relationships, leading the viewers eye through composition etc. were all important design factors I learned while in school. These rules of two dimensional design are generations old but stand the test of time, they make sense and transcend over to so many aspects of applied art and design.
I had no knowledge of composition and was thoroughly schooled after only a few classes. Creative directors and photo editors have remarked that my photography work takes on a very graphic approach/style, and that there is an understanding of how it works with type and design. They’re probably onto something there.
Above photo of Vanessa Michels for Les Editions All.