Diana Hirsch is like a breath of fresh air. Her passion, sincerity and enthusiasm for her life and her work make her a pleasure to spend time with, and to cap it off, she is extremely good at what she does: photography, and the teaching of the art. It seems a little controversial to some that photography should be considered an art form, but to Diana it absolutely is: “The art of photography is a very recent gift to humanity that moves us often in unforgettable ways. Modern life would be inconceivable without images”.
Diana has been working as a photographer for many years now, and specialises in creative photography, weddings, and portraits. Her photographs express joy, beauty, and humour, very much like Diana herself. There are transferable skills that good photographers and teachers share: the ability to connect with people, put them at their ease, and guide them gently into what you want them to do. “There was a time, many years ago, when I was asked continually whether I’d like to share my knowledge, to actually teach how I take photographs. I thought, why not? And that’s how I got started. I have been teaching photography courses and holding workshops for many years now and can say that, for me, teaching my art is as fulfilling as photography itself. So “Photoclasses Majorca” is not just a photography school, but rather my second passion as a photographer”. And so it is in this capacity that I find and meet Diana and attend her Beginners’ Photography Classes.
“Anyone can take pictures. Even a machine. But not everyone can watch. Photography is art only in so far as to use the art of observing. Observation is an elementary poetic process. The reality must be shaped, it wants to speak and reveal”. Friedrich Dürrematt
I’ve been interested in photography for many years now, but being married to a professional photographer (Oliver Neilson) doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to pick up the knack. I’d wanted to take my own photos, and increasingly have had to for my work, but always with a generous dash of hit and miss as I didn’t really understand the second hand camera that I had acquired for myself. I knew that I was not going to learn (like many others do) via You Tube or the internet, as I have to learn in a group with a teacher. I knew that if I just tried to learn at home in spare moments that I would never pick up the skills that I needed to start to make photographs that I would be proud of. I also knew, just like my father hadn’t been able to teach me to drive a car when I was 17 that my husband, as brilliant at photography as he is, would not be able to teach me to drive a camera: we’re just too close and it’s a great way to start an unnecessary row!
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved”. Ansel Adams
Enter Diana Hirsch and her 20 hour (three day) intensive course. The first two days are in a classroom, and the third out on location. It’s aimed at beginners wanting to understand their DSLR cameras, and who want to say goodbye to using the fully automatic mode. We start our course with theory sessions and Diana explains the process of photography, features and properties of lenses, cameras, some special effects such as motion blur, freezing objects in motion, and learning how to control and manipulate your shutter, aperture, ISO, the art of composition and using light, under and over exposure, and depth of field. Diana tells us that “the word “Photo – graphy” comes from the Greek words meaning “to draw with light”. This is a wonderful explanation for what we are doing when we press the button. A good photographer paints with light, conveying a unique message in such a way that can never be recaptured”.
We go outside of the classroom occasionally to practice the theory and soon I cannot wait to get on location and really get stuck in to it. When Sunday morning dawns I am already up, in the car and on my way to our meeting spot in the north of the island. We arrive just before the sun rises and set up. Soon we are taking some of the best photographs I have ever done, and without all the hit and miss, accidental elements that have littered my shots up until now. We go to several different spots and learn and practice and shoot, shoot, shoot.
After a few hours we have all taken a lot of photos and we retire to a bar to look at what we have achieved. We are all delighted with our results, and it’s great to share the experience with each other. “Now you will “see” photos in places you would never have imagined, “ says Diana, “Photography is not only used to make an exact copy of the world around us but to surprise, to move, to impress, to motivate and to dream… You have to keep it up now, you have to keep taking photos and enjoying it!” and I know there’s no stopping me now.
I have been very fortunate in the past year or so to meet a few really fantastic teachers who have helped me personally to move forwards with my own ambitions and dreams and I count Diana Hirsch amongst those people. As we finish our last session on the Sunday afternoon I realise I owe her a great debt now, she has opened up a world to me that I have always longed to understand, and now I am on the other side of the door, exploring, and seeing in a different way.
“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis”. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Diana teaches courses in English, German or Spanish. You can get information about her photography classes here: www.photoclasses.eu . More examples of Diana’s work are here www.white-majorca.com and here www.dianahirsch.com. Tel +34 649 910 951 or email: email@example.com To read more articles about people on the island visit http://www.mallorcastories.com