My last post was about my painting professor and adviser, Angelo Ippolito. Another teacher who I benefited a great deal from working with was Brenton Hamilton . Brenton (or BH, as we called him) is in charge of the Residency Program at the Maine Photographic Workshops (Now Maine Media Workshops). He devoted incredible amounts of time to "eat, sleep and breathe" photography with us. The Residency Program is an intensive six month photography program that I completed about ten years ago, and at the time, had us taking photos, developing film or in the darkroom most hours of the day unless we were eating or sleeping. Our group of residency students developed a strong sense of camaraderie, due partially to some turnover of the teaching staff during our short time there.
One of the things that Brenton helped me to understand was Ansel Adams' Zone System. I remember sitting outside the darkroom one day, for the life of me, not understanding or remembering all of it and he explained it by pointing to the rocks, shadows and grass at our feet letting me know which zone each thing fell into. I finally began to "speak" the peculiar new language and was able to apply it to the world around me and the photographs that I was making in the darkroom.
BH was also instrumental in teaching me that photography could be a language of visual storytelling. Especially in groups, one photograph could lead to another and say something that could not easily be put into words.
For these reasons and more, thanks BH.