three years ago, when I started at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, I was signed up for a Photo Journalism class. the first day of the program was intense, and the professor gave us a quick look at what we'd be doing over the next four months. he warned us that we would not be successful in his program if we were taking four other courses (which I was), and that a significant portion of the work would be following and documenting the life of a stranger for several weeks, turning the results into a final project.
the class was intimidating and did not go along with my dreams of running off to Paris and Berlin at a moment's notice, so I dropped it. I definitely don't regret this decision, as I know my study abroad experience would have been a little limited with the class's demands, but I do wonder how it would've pushed me as a photographer. at the very least, it would've taught me how to use Photoshop and given me a decent start to a portfolio.
what that one day in class did do for me was give me a newfound appreciation and respect for the people who do go out and capture humanity in a raw, honest form. I loved learning about the Nan Goldin and Diane Arbus-types in my history of photography class in college, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a write up of Tina Barney in the August issue of Vogue. people of all ages and walks of life never cease to inspire these artists, and I can't get enough of this style of candid portraiture.