Life Through A Lens

by Louisa Reynolds | 2014/15 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow

December 01, 2014

Behind every picture there’s a story. When I’m writing a narrative journalism piece, I like taking photos of the people and places that I’m writing about because looking at them while I’m writing helps to jog my memory and recall a person’s features or expression.

I also enjoy taking photos when I’m traveling. I take pictures of people, bustling markets, children, landscapes, any image that captures the essence of a particular place.

But if I’ve ever managed to take a good photo it’s been through sheer luck rather than skill.

For a long time I had been meaning to take a photography course and I finally found one that was aimed at clueless beginners like me, with absolutely no technical skills whatsoever.

The Introduction to Digital Photography course taught by Chris Padgett at the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) has opened up a whole new world for me. I’ve finally learnt what each of the different modes on my camera is for, I’ve learnt how to master the ISO and shutter speed and I’m no longer terrified of leaving the safety and comfort of the “auto” mode.


Chris Padgett’s digital photography course at the BCAE

Chris also taught us the basics of Photoshop, he gave us a brief introduction to the history of photography, and he gave us dozens of practical tips such as why it’s so important to format your memory card and use the right battery for your camera.

After taking this course, I now have a profound respect for photojournalists. Press conferences are often like a battlefield. You get pushed, shoved, and trampled on and sometimes tempers fray. But now that I’ve realized how difficult it is to adjust all those settings whilst you’re under intense pressure to take that perfect shot of a person or scene in a matter of seconds, I feel a great sense of admiration for their work and I’ll definitely be more patient and understanding next time a photographer accidentally whacks me with a huge camera lens.

Chris is a great teacher and I’d definitely recommend his courses to any future Neuffer fellows who’re interested in gaining some basic photography skills. He’s got a sense of humor, he’s very patient with beginners and his course got me hooked on photography classes.