Ryn Clarke taught her Beginning iPhone Photography class this past Saturday, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say:
What an absolute blast.
I knew it was going to be fun. I knew it was going to be informative. I didn’t know I was going to learn something.
After all, I’m not a beginner. I have a real camera. At one point in my past life, I taught photography classes. Made students learn f-stops and shutter speeds. What could she possibly teach me?
Then, halfway through the class it escaped from my mouth before I could even stop it:
Whaaaaat?!?!!! It can DO that?!?
That thing I thought only “real” cameras could do? That thing I didn’t know anything other than hours of extensive Photoshop could do???
I wasn’t the only one blurting it out. It quickly became a common refrain. We were all blown away by something.
I’ve been reading about the concept of shoshin lately, a Japanese word meaning “beginner’s mind”. It’s a concept from Zen Buddhism where one drops their preconceived notions of what they think they know and open their mind to learning. As the saying goes, “in the beginner’s mind, there are endless possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.”
Back in my teaching days, I remember looking around at my students and realizing how some mental light bulbs seemed very click-ey, while others seemed to be more of the pull-chain variety. Some were bright flourescent bulbs, while others seemed to be more like twinkle lights, always sparkling in lots of directions. The most challenging, and magical, part of teaching for me was discerning just what would make each student’s eyes go wide with wonder.
It’s this magical part of teaching, the part that is more art than science, that I got to witness yesterday. I’m not often in the passenger seat. Sure, I take classes from time to time, but usually online. The dynamic is different.
But here I was, learning and witnessing clicks and pulls and sparkles. The fireworks that can happen when sparks are flying so fast words can’t keep up with them. That is magic.
My only regret is that I wish I could have known what the class was like before hosting it. I would have talked about it more. I would have done it justice.
I mean, I talked about the class, sure. But I didn’t talk about the magic.
So, here’s my promise: there will be a next time. I don’t know when, but I do know where. And when it happens, pack your lunch and your shoshin – it will be amazing.