Teacher’s Comic Relief

The wonderfully exciting, exhilarating life of a photo teacher and her sessions on the Streets of NY. The absurdities, mishaps, silly annoyances, comical questions and comments.

These were all actual events.

ME:  Walking toward the NY Public Library just before class began when I looked down at my boots and noticed I was wearing one black boot and one brown boot. Hey, easy mistake, I said to myself….they’re the exact same boot! I knew some participants would notice, so I decided to use it to teach them the importance of seeing those little things around us that often go unnoticed, and said to them…
does anyone see anything strange about me?” Two women immediately replied…”yeah, you have two different colored boots on!”

ME: I moved my backpack over to the other side of my back and it somehow unhooked my strapless bra, which was quickly falling down my back, at the same time 15 students were approaching.

ME: Was my first time to Little India in Queens in daylight. I told participants to meet at a particular restaurant I found on the map. I got there 30 minutes early, waited, no one showed…then got a call from a participant asking where I was. Turned out I was at the wrong restaurant that happened to have the same name while 30 minutes late for the session. All 10 people were there waiting, staring at me as I approached. Oh those eyes!!

Sorry I’m late, the damn subway….the bus….the traffic…the snow….the rain…had an important thing at work …my mother called…my dog was sick…just coming from the Upper Westside, it took over an hour….

Two friends continued yakking throughout the whole class, during my instructions, during my critiques, during my announcements….
“yeah, I heard she’s not coming to the party cause her ex will be there,Her new boyfriend is such a jerk,” But he’s cute…” What are you wearing?” That new black sexy dress I found with you, remember?” Was never about photography.

So sorry, I just have to take this really important call…”Hi John, yes apples not pears.

Where will you be in 15 minutes? I have to find a bathroom fast!

My husband and I only have one camera, is it ok that we share it?

Where are you going next? I just have to find a plug to recharge my battery.

Judith, I’m leaving now, I just have too many errands to run (stayed only 1 hr).

1.5 hrs after the session began, I get an email from a no show saying, “I never received the meeting location email you “supposedly” sent, and it was your responsibility to seek me out, and NOT my responsibility to find where you are.”

cell rings, participant on phone…I am in front of the Oyster Bar, where are you?

Turn around, I’m right behind you!


Looking all over for one of the participants at the Met, who was nowhere to be seen. I can’t hold up the group, and I have to assume that he left…. I get a call one hr later, “Where are you?? I was taking photos and you just left without me.”  We are in this room called….still never found him and he insisted that it was “MY” fault for leaving him.

When participants wander off, it’s ALWAYS the teacher’s fault.

ME:Stay on this side and shoot that background there.”

Participants all walking the opposite direction, not listening to a word I say.

Particpants who refuse to do assignments, always face and shoot in the opposite direction.

I missed the promo just by 5 minutes, can I still take your class at the same price?

I signed up for your Fall promo last year but I couldn’t make it, I want to use my voucher for your Winter session.

I bought the Summer voucher and live in DC, and couldn’t make last year’s promo before it expired, wasn’t easy for me to get there, so you need to honor my voucher or I will demand a refund.

Can you honor my unused Fall voucher for the Winter session?

Yes, with a fee as the promo legally states.

Ok, I bought a Winter voucher.

My voucher expires next week, I’m sure you can squeeze me into your full class or will ask the company for a refund.

I live in Jersey and was really hard to get into the City, so please honor my expired voucher. I’m not paying any more.

Asking in early November….You are supposed to honor my voucher after expiration. It says so on my voucher. I can only do your last December 9th session. I was sick, worked, had to take care of my mother, father, brother, son, daughter. I had to go to Japan, China, California, Paris, London, Africa, New Jersey.

I can’t find anything to shoot.

I hate blurry pictures, they’re not my thing.

What should I be shooting?

I don’t like any of the photos I’m taking

My photos don’t look like yours.

I don’t see what you are seeing.

This location does nothing for me.

How do I take a good picture? I was asked to do a wedding this weekend.

I don’t know how to use my camera.

Can you explain the functions of my camera?

I just bought this camera yesterday, how do I…

What camera should I buy? Which one is the best?

Do you like Nikon or Canon?

What is the best lens? Which one should I buy?

Should I buy a point and shoot or a DSLR? What’s the difference?

Is it ok if my friend comes? She doesn’t speak English.

My husband wants to come along, is that ok?

Can I tag along with my 15 yr old? I won’t talk.

Can we leave now to shoot? My 7 yr old son is getting antsy.

I came here just to learn how to use functions of my camera.

But I thought this WAS a photo class?

I brought my manual, so we can read through it together before class.

My camera went black and I can’t get it to work

My camera is showing an “E” what does that mean?

Why are my photos so dark?

What does ISO stand for and why do we need to know about it?

I am trying to figure out how to turn off the flash.

I can’t find White Balance on the No Flash setting.

My memory card shows full, it won’t let me take a photo, what should I do?

I just can’t read a manual, any other way?

What does it mean, “a fast lens?”

What is photoshop exactly? How does it work? Do I need it?

 When I put it on Manual, the photos are too dark. When I use Auto they look fine, why is that?

What is the difference between Manual and Auto and TV and A and S?

I just bought my first DSLR camera a few days ago, and know nothing about how to use it.

The salesman told me to shoot only in raw. What is raw?

Is it better to use Manual focus or Automatic? They both come out blurry.

Can I use a film camera in your class?

Someone continuously interrupted me during my talk with questions, here is how it went down, with my responses:
“How do I change the settings?” I’ll help you after, although this is not a tech class
“What is an f-stop?” I’ll help you after
“Should the shutter speed be at? Please let’s talk after.
“What is the purpose of ISO”  Please wait until I am finished. this is not a tech class
 and with her next question, I couldn’t hold it in any longer, and blurted out in front of 15 people… SHUT UP!!

My friend is a professional photographer and says it’s important first to learn the rules of photography.

My friend’s mother is a professional photographer and told me that I should only use the manual setting, even though I have no idea how or what that means.

My friend’s son does yearly high school portraits and says it’s more important to learn how to use your camera than waste your money learning how to take good pictures. Just look at books/magazines and you’ll get that information.

My friend’s friend’s brother-in-law’s sister’s husband is a well-established glamour photographer with a book out and told me to only use Raw mode when shooting and never ever jpgs.

My close friend’s father’s best friend’s uncle’s son told me he uses only fixed lenses and never a zoom due to its poor quality.

I am looking at a hugely distraction-filled ‘snap shot’ during class, and am asked… “So what do you think of this photo?”

How do I get rid of all these distractions in my photosl?

Can I email you the photos I took today and get your feedback? There’s only 100.

After 15 minutes of sheer boredom trying to keep myself awake, with blood shot eyes…viewing all 30 of her boring snapshot images, most of the same scene, she comes up with this…. I just decided that I have the talent to be a professional photographer. Thank you!

You know my 12 yr old son is such a great photographer, here look at these pictures he took of our new dog.

Oh, check this out (with a proud look, like they’ve just given birth) that’s a photo of my cat, my sister’s baby, my daughter, family portrait, funny shot of my husband shoveling, my son’s weird face he makes, my aunt last Saturday eating dinner, my horrible trip to Mexico when it rained, my 3 yr old’s birthday party, 2 wks in New Zealand, friends in Paris, my apt renovation, that snow storm, Central Park on the hottest day of the decade.

to be continued….

Not meant to be disrespectful, but to feel some compassion for teachers around the world.

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