An image is a model of reality.
The objects in the image are represented by the elements of the image.
In the image theobjects are represented by its elements.
The image is made up of its elements that remain in certain relations to one another.
The image is a fact.
Teaching theoretical subjects that belong to the sphere of general knowledge in the course of photographic studies is a challenge that is quite difficult to face. When trying to teach at a level adequate for academic education it is easy to adopt "a scientific manner typical of the university" - which the students so often reject, while on the other hand if we simplify the problems we lecture on, we tend lose their meaning.
In an attempt to find a compromise in this situation, Western universities and academies have come up with a method called "critical practice" and I also use this method in my didactic work. It is based on offering students proper equivalents of theoretical problems in the form of practical exercises they ought to perform. The students may find the material to be used in solving theoretical problems presented in this way mainly listening to lectures and during individual consultations, but they are also asked to reach for selected literature. Thanks to this method they can understand the questions important for a given theory better because later they have to "illustrate" them in practice while constructing a given photographic image. The results of these exercises are of a greater value for artists-practitioners than reading and memorizing comprehensive and frequently very difficult books that demand the knowledge of their context. This method proves to be highly effective especially in the case of extra-mural students.
Theoretical questions connected with the structure of a photographic image, questions which analyze its basic elements and the effects of the means of expression that have been employed, presented in the context of the basics of visual communication, both from the point of view of psycho-physiology of visual perception and cultural conditions - make up the sphere of theoretical knowledge which has now become the so-called "programme content" of our classes. The specificity of practical exercises proposed by teachers has to do with the stressing of fundamental qualities, visually active in each image, which in the case of a photographic image become somewhat dysfunctional due to the transparency of photography. Not counting other factors, it is also the result of a generally known fact that the sense of vision is the richest source of information about the world around us and that in this respect it is unquestionably unsurpassed by all the other senses. It is precisely the junction of those two facts: "transparency of photography" and "the excess of visual data in human perception" that forms the seeming obviousness of photography as a system of imagery in which the image remains
Therefore, in our practical exercises we return to the basic problems whose exploration forces us to see reality in a way that eliminates objects from our perception and transforms reality into a working material for an image; reality becomes the source of reflection that the world consists of points, planes and figures. The process of creating an image thus becomes a logical play with the juxtaposition of the elements employed, juxtaposition of all kinds - from the fundamental plastic sign to the opposition of solutions our imagination offers. The photographic image of this world - in turn - is but a flat object, a piece of paper covered with emulsion containing tiny particles of silver; an object that has been given the function of an image by force of cultural convention. However, does it always have to be the same? After all, the essence of each creative act is an artistic revolt against all forms of convention.
Curator: prof. Stefan Czyżewski