Category Archives: Education

Photographs And The Allure Of Still Memories

All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, and mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.Susan Sontag, On Photography

The world we are living allows us to take pictures almost everyday. Cameras are more accessible today compared to any period in human history. Some take photos for monetary profit, other for fashioning their social media, some for personal souvenirs. When I was a kid, playing with an old camera encourage me to understand people as photography subjects. But as maturity settles, it made me realize that the very act of taking photo is intimate but frighteningly cold at the same time. As photographer, you are in the position to look into lives, actions, praxis, and narratives. It is an attempt to empower people by sharing their story. Ironically, you also locate them into a tiny viewfinder where thy are simply subjects under your assumed power as the photographer. And I think this is just one of the many contradictions of photography. Things like this interests me to see how cameras and photographs figure into our mundane existence.

As a form of artistic discipline and technological advancement, photography did not simply emerge out of a social vacuum. The word photography is derived from the Greek word photos which means ‘light’ and graphein which means ‘to draw’. Sir John F.W. Herschel first coined the word in 1839, referring to the method of recording images by means of exposing sensitive materials to light and radiation. Though it wasn’t until 1820s when practical cameras were developed, the science of photography started way back. The origin of modern day cameras are the multiple technological breakthroughs (and mistakes) of the past.

Greek thinkers in the name of Aristotle and Euclid mentioned a prototype of pinhole camera as early as 5th – 4th century BC. It is said that Aristotle pondered on why the sun produce circular images when its light passes through a square hole. This inquiry laid down initial principles on optic laws. Around 1000AD, scholar Alhazen made a thorough study on the manipulation of light, camera obscura, and pinhole camera. During this time, pinhole camera was used to project images of the environment onto a screen. In 1190s, Albert Magnus discovered the use of silver nitrate while Georges Fabricius discovered silver chloride around mid-1500s. In 1694, Wilhelm Homberg documented the darkening reaction of particular chemicals to the exposure of light.

By mid-1820s, Joseph Nicephore Niepce developed the first photograph using camera obscura. Apparently, no other person successfully recorded subjects by means of exposure to light. He called this heliographs, also known as sun prints. This method, however, requires several hours of light exposure and the end results were nothing but crude outlines of the subject. Not to mention the fact that the printed exposure will fade after few days of printing. Nonetheless, Niepce attempt opened a brighter (pun intended) path into the development of better cameras and photographs. Fast forward, this technological innovation served as the prototype of the modern digital cameras and DSLRs that we are using today.

How photos changed the modern world?

I don’t pretend to be making photographs to “help” people. It is a fallacy. But I do sometimes believe that when the images are shared they can illuminate aspects of a life that is overlooked and they can be part of a larger conversation about how we overlook certain people.Stacy Kranitz

In 1972, Nick Ut’s “The Terror of War”, a photo of a young naked girl and other minor civilians crying and running toward the highway after South Vietnamese air force enforced napalm strike on Trang Bang village. After taking the photo, Ut mentioned that he immediately took a lot of water and poured it on the girl’s body because she had been hit by napalm. Thirty percent of her body suffered from third degree burn. This image alone stirred national debates in the US vis-à-vis their direct involvement on Vietnam War. Until now, it is considered as one of the most powerful and influential imageries that raised the ethical consciousness of people on the terrors of war.

Photography changed the modern world in different ways. The landmark photograph taken by Nick Ut tells us how potent a medium photo can become. It allows people to see distant places, cultures, and stories. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, portraits and images are symbol of wealth and prestige. Because getting an artist was expensive, self-portraits and family portraits are only exclusive among the members of the upper class. The invention of photography revolutionized the use of image. It singlehandedly made the production of images available to the public. In the mid-20th century, average people can share their photographs as their versions of their worlds.

Currently, photos have become anthropological and archaeological records. It sketches the life of certain people and draw insights into the complexities of human existence. It helps in bridging the big “Other”. It shows us what it means to be human, and what it means to have humanity.

Final Thoughts…

In just three years, a friend of mine already posted more than 1000 photos on her Instagram account. That’s almost a picture a day! Well, that is a revelation for me. People love taking photos and sharing it to the public.

But why do we enjoy photography? Some may simply answer that it’s for fun. And yes, I would agree to that note. Still, I think there is more to it than that. It is possible that we take photos because it allows us to freeze (slice, if we use Sontag’s expression) moments. The ability to capture memories helps us remember our past. This is why we photograph cool concerts, travels, foods, friends, and family. Photos allow us to narrate our small but personal legacies. It helps us construct our own history.

As an art form, photography is also a way of expression by presentation. While it gives you new insights on how to understand light and the world around you, it also grants you the ability to express how you see the world.

What are you waiting for? Say cheese!

Here’s an Exciting Activity to Educate Students about Entrepreneurship

“The Apprentice” is one of my most favorite reality shows. The best part of the series, for me, is the interesting and fun entrepreneurial activities given to the participants who are already established in the field of sales, marketing and business. It is amusing to think that these professionals who join the competition go back to basics just to prove that they can sell anything.


“The Classroom Apprentice”

I’m not suggesting that business educators should follow the format of Donald Trump’s famous series. I just want the teachers to focus on the activities and the lessons students learn after analyzing the results.

Staying inside the classroom is definitely not enough to learn business. As a former student of Business Administration, I loved how my professor challenged us to big class activities that require us to find connections, promote the products and push sales. Because of the passion I discovered during those activities, I started an online business as soon as I graduated. So far, I’m satisfied with the path I’ve chosen.



In order to encourage business students right now to pursue entrepreneurship just like I did, I’m suggesting this group activity “The Classroom Apprentice” to educators. Don’t worry because I’m going to give steps on how to prepare, execute and analyze the activity. I used a program designed by PACE as an inspiration to my suggested activity.

1. Students have to formulate a business plan.

One of the worst mistakes an entrepreneur can face is stopping right in the middle of business. The reason? It could be that the entrepreneur picked the wrong products to sell. Discontinuing a business is a waste of money, time and effort. A good entrepreneur must own a business that fits his interests and skills. If you want to sell shoes because it can generate a lot of money, that’s not reasonable enough. You have to love shoes, know the popular brands and identify what the customers are usually looking for.

Now, a business plan is composed of questions, guidelines or checklists about planning and expectations. It can also help the students decide on what kind of business to undertake. Its major components are description of the business, strategies for marketing, plans on how to manage the business, and ways to generate investment. This is a good way to teach students that they must be cautious in making big decisions in life, especially when it comes to career.

 



Here are some suggestions so the students can decide faster what kind of business to pursue during the activity. The students can also mix multiple suggestions:

  • A business helpful to the neighborhood
  • A business requiring personal talent or skill
  • A business that can be done at home
  • A business that fits the budget
  • A business popular in the country
  • A business popular worldwide
  • A business good for partnerships
  • A business good for large groups

Meanwhile, here are some specific suggestions for a simple business that’s fun, exciting and unique for a class activity:

  • Repair services
  • Band gigs
  • Computer services
  • Personalized jewelry
  • Secondhand clothing
  • Cleaning services
  • Pet services
  • Shopping services
  • Web page developer services
  • Yard care services
  • Hotdog stand
  • Babysitting services
  • Refreshment stand

On the other hand, here are the sections a business plan should include:

  • Short description of the business (one paragraph)
  • Service or product to sell
  • Personal brand name
  • Target market or buyers
  • Location of business
  • Promotion or marketing strategies to attract buyers
  • Brands currently selling the same product or service
  • Cost of service or product
  • Names of connections for business advice
  • Responsibilities of each members of the group
  • Ways how to gain the products
  • Total amount of required investment (based on expected expenses)
  • Expected number of customers and amount of sales every day, week, month and year (depending on the professor’s desired duration for the activity)
  • Expected profit based on expected investment and sales
  • Ways to generate investment

These lists are still subject for changes because the teacher has every right to decide what’s good for his students. I just gave guides for an easier class implementation.

2. The business plan must be discussed with the adviser.

Obviously, the business plan should be checked by the educator to ensure that nothing goes wrong in the middle of the actual process. Students must avoid changing their business after the launching because it would definitely affect their grades. After all, there is an assigned deadline for this activity.

 


3. The business plan must be discussed in front of the class.

After everything is finalized, each group must present their business plan in front of other groups. I think it would be more exciting if groups are aware of each business plan. I also believe that groups with the same products or services to sell are going to be more motivated because of competition. Let’s face it – the real world of business is full of competitions. The students must face that reality before pursuing entrepreneurship for real.

 


4. The students must give updates regarding their sales.

The groups should report their progress every week. Again, it is nice to be informed. The class can also weigh in their encouragements and suggestions to help groups that are having weak sales. Another purpose of this step is to know which group leads the pack. To give the students motivation, aside from high grades, the winning group by the end of the project must win something as a prize.

 


5. Analysis of the numbers.

After the deadline, the class must analyze the results by comparing their expectations they indicated in the business plan to the actual one. The adviser’s part is to discuss the strongest points of the groups and the weakest. Every mistake along the way should be discussed as well.


6. Celebrate the successful activity.

After all the serious stuff, it would be nice to celebrate the success of the activity. The winning group should be given prizes such as tokens, certificates or trophies. And, if it is okay for the students, the class can have a party with the profit they generated during the activity. If the students prefer saving their money, then that’s fine too. As long as proper acknowledgements are given, “The Classroom Apprentice” would conclude with flying colors.

 


Final Thoughts

Having a taste of what’s out there in the business world while still schooling is essential. Teaching business should not be confined within the four walls of the classroom. Surely, the students would face challenges along the way during the activity. But, that’s really okay. It is part of the learning experience.