Did you know that John Cabot University offers a variety of EXP one-credit courses? These courses give students the opportunity to explore new subjects that they are passionate about and they are offered on four Fridays of the semester.
I heard about this opportunity and immediately looked up the list of courses available. The one that caught my eye was the Travel Photography class. As someone who loves to photograph everything and anything, I jumped at the opportunity to take it! This is not your typical photography course, though. It is partially on-site, which means we got to explore Rome and practically master the art of travel photography.
Professor Paolo Soriano, a photography lecturer here at JCU, opened up my eyes to something I hadn’t given much thought about in the past. He introduced us to the art of “documenting places, people, and traditions in a manner that the image itself narrates a feeling of time and place, and a portrayal of the art, and landscapes and societies it engages with.”
Anyone can go somewhere and take a picture of a monument or a landscape, but a travel photographer would look for much more than that. A travel photographer would capture the atmosphere of the city he or she is in. A travel photographer would capture the feeling that he or she gets when exploring a new place.
We focused on things like different types of lighting that occur throughout the day, shooting architecture and monuments in unique ways, and photographing people as a way of showing character in a particular place. Each day was in a new place and had a new focus.
Our first class started off as an introduction to the course by our professor, but that did not stop us from getting out there and starting right away. We headed over to Piazza Navona with nothing but our cameras, empty memory cards, and a desire to learn something new! The theme was “Life in Piazza Navona”. Not just the monuments, but the tourists, the performers, and the locals passing through. It might seem like an ordinary piazza in Rome, but through my lens, I was able to see much more.
The second class took place at a traditional Roman market near Piazza Vittorio. Our professor insisted on showing us the non-touristy parts of Rome–which I really enjoyed! We got a taste of what the locals do on a typical Friday. Here, we had to take an otherwise mundane event like food shopping, and turn it into something beautiful in a photograph.
The third class was quite interesting as well. We went to Mattatoio di Testaccio, an abandoned area that is now a tourist attraction. We learned to photograph an otherwise empty area and give it life. Professor Soriano really helped us with lighting and shadows in this class. It was a sunny day and we used it to our advantage!
Finally, our last class was where we had the opportunity to showcase our work. It was this meeting where we learned how to use photo editing and slideshow programs! Each student had a different vision for their project and the best part was, the photos spoke for us. After each presentation, we discussed the possible meanings, the connections between the photos, the presenter’s strengths, and offered constructive criticism.
This class was an opportunity to explore my love of photography while learning new things that I might have otherwise not known. The comfortable environment within the class made asking questions and seeking advice a lot easier. This course strengthened my confidence when taking and sharing my photos, broadened my horizons by showing me new parts of Rome, and opened my mind to the art of travel photography–which is a lot more than just pointing and shooting.
Class of 2020
Hometown: Fanwood, New Jersey