Interest in visual arts, and photography in particular, has grown exponentially since the 25 January revolution. Images are flooding the Internet moments after events take place and amateurs and professionals alike are re-confirming the old adage that a picture is often worth a thousand words. Inspired by this growing emphasis on imagery, many are seeking more knowledge in the art of photography and the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) offers exactly that.
Founded in 2004 by a group of visionary artists and photographers, CIC aims to encourage the development of “artistic practice, engagement and discourse” as stated on their website. Part of this mission is the CIC PhotoSchool that will start its fall semester on 25 September. This week, open photography classes that offer a taste of the different subjects that will be taught this fall are available to anyone contemplating signing up for a class at the CIC premises.
“The CIC offers a huge space for discussions, workshops, lectures, exhibitions and courses related to art and specifically photography,” said Shaymaa Sabra, the CIC PhotoSchool Coordinator. “Our extensive art and photography library is open for the public every day and we have a large dark room that is available for rent for fees that only cover the costs. We are currently installing a high quality print and scanning facility that will also operate on a cost-covering basis.”
Going into its third semester, the CIC PhotoSchool fall semester encompasses seven different classes that are taught by six different instructors. “Our instructors all have a vast experience, both as artists and photographers,” Sabra said. The courses are offered in English, since every course attracts foreign as well as Egyptian students and the classes have space for a maximum of 14 students.
Even if some photography aficionados join the classes purely to get better at their hobby, most that join have a different goal. “Most students are looking to start a career in photography and many continue their education with us. A large percentage of those that have signed up thus far have taken classes with us before,” Sabra explained. “Most students have their own equipment and during the course the instructors will make sure they will understand their cameras well. For those who do not own a camera CIC has equipment available for use.”
Besides the facilities of the CIC and the comprehensive curriculum their PhotoSchool offers, the centre fulfills a function as a meeting place for artists to work, share views, exhibit work and generally participate in an artistic exchange that inspires and motivates those who participate. Learning the art and craft of photography in an environment that is inclusive of knowledge and artistic expression is likely to inspire all students that sign up for the courses.
The CIC PhotoSchool offers stand alone courses to those with less time or a limited budget, or complete packages like the General Introductory Photography Curriculum which is recommended to all beginning photographers that are interested in a career as a professional. The latter consists of two obligatory courses, Foundation to Photography and Photography Practice, after which the students can choose a specialised class from topics varying from Narrative Photography and Photojournalism, Photoshop for Photographers to Studio Lighting.
Average course prices hover around the EGP 1000 mark, but the Foundation to Photography course costs EGP 1400. Those interested in signing on for the complete beginners’ package will receive a discount when they sign up for the course.