By Graham Cruise, Sevilla Site Specialist.
Every semester, the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo-Sevilla offers the course Introduction to Photography: Photographing Seville, which takes students along the trails of the past to explore Sevilla’s timeworn architecture. While learning camera skills and history of the city in the classroom, students will take to the streets to photographically capture the essence that enshrouds Sevilla’s most prized and influential monuments and neighborhoods.
This course utilizes the city as its classroom and students will get the unsurpassable opportunity of developing a profound understanding of the intricacies that make Sevilla such an illustrious place, all through the creative lens of the camera.
Here’s what two students in the Spring 3 2015 International Studies, Business & Spanish Language had to say about this unique course offering that can only be taken through ISA in Sevilla:
How has this class changed your perspective of Sevilla?
Alyssa Francis, Spring 3 2015:
This photography class has changed my perspective of Sevilla because each week, we have the opportunity to visit a new place – sometimes it’s a famous building or monument, and other times it’s a traditional neighborhood or park in Sevilla. Our photographs are supposed to represent the atmosphere and life in Sevilla, which helps us learn what it really means to be a sevillano.
Mikenna Marin, Spring 3 2015:
I’ve always enjoyed photography as a hobby and strongly believe that life looks different through a camera lens in some of the best ways! This class has only reinforced that idea. It has forced me to see the city through different perspectives (sometimes as a local, sometimes as a tourists); it has amazed me how easily I adjusted to life here in Sevilla and how quickly I started to not notice the small (or big) unique details all around me in the city. Being forced to take pictures with different focuses has trained me to constantly be aware of the intricacies of my surroundings and never let the beauty “get old”–it doesn’t matter how touristy you look, if it’s beautiful and you like it, take the picture! It has also given me the opportunity to see many sites that I might not have discovered on my own.
What have you learned about photography that you never knew before?
I thought the class was primarily going to be about how to take good pictures, so I was surprised when we started learning about the history of photography. I’ve learned how photography has changed over time to match the desires of society, and I’ve also learned how the introduction of photography has influenced art and brought about new artistic movements.
The 3 rules our teacher is always repeating in class are as follows:
1) Take care of light/the sun is the enemy!
2) Make sure the picture is straight, always
3) Try as hard as you can to get the whole building in the picture–if you have to cut part of it off, it’s better to cut off the bottom than the top.
However, as long as you can adequately justify your deviation from the above rules (usually “artistic freedom/style/interpretation” or “different perspective” will suffice), your deviations are acceptable.
We’ve incorporated a bit of art and architecture history in order to look at how the three have influenced each other over time, which has been very interesting. For example: Cubism was started in response to the modern day camera/photography in an attempt to capture something or present a perspective that could not be done on film.
Would you recommend this class to other students?
I’m so glad I decided to take this photography class this semester. I would recommend this class to anyone who wants to explore Sevilla, learn how to take and edit pictures, and have class outside! It is a class that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their major, interests, and creative ability.
Yes! It’s a great way to see and learn about the city–once a week we take a “field trip” to the location of our photography subject to know where it is and how to get there, see it, and learn a little bit about its history. On these field trips, you also get to know some of your classmates and your way around Sevilla really well.
It also guarantees that you’ll go home with some awesome photo souvenirs to show your friends and family and remind yourself of the amazing time you spent in Spain!