Not contradictory at all; you were trying to draw a parallel between the learning of language and the learning of photography where no such parallel exists. I simply made the point that whereas you can teach grammar you can't teach anyone to write and that, in that negative sense there is indeed a common element between the two disciplines: in neither can you teach the spiritual but only the mechanics. Perhaps that's where you see a parallel - in the shared impossibility of buying the artistic ability?
Whatever you mean by the study of language, what I mean is the study of how usefully to use it as communication, nothing more and nothing less; in other words, how to form sentences and transmit, accurately and unambiguously, meaning and intent.
How did I learn language? At home from family and then, later, in my pre-teens onwards by being an avid reader. In other words, the learning process was pretty much the same as with my later learning of photography: I was interested and the rest, in my case, just followed. Many others at the same school(s) were also interested and passed their English exams with flying colours, but not a lot managed to do anything with it after that. Their skills with structure and all the rest were developed, but that's as far as anything seemed to stretch. And sadly, the same pattern was repeated by pretty much everybody else with whom I had to sit in a photographic night school class: it's simply not the way, and for many, there just isn't a way, which is part of the huge problem for those who dream that there is, only to find defeat and disappointment within their chosen path. I wonder if 'teachers' and photo-gurus ever step up to the plate and take responsibility for ruined lives, handing back the fees for their courses and peddled dreams.
Look, I'm perfectly happy for you to believe in such teachers as the way to your personal nirvana - I really hope you find it - I simply don't believe that all things are teachable, and in that list I place the 'art' of photography. A photographic technician is another matter; perhaps that's what you've been thinking about instead. After all, the modern world is full of pixel-peepers who make the same confusion.
Be happy - I've nothing more to add.
Rob C “ Nobody can teach anyone else how to see or think for themselves.”
opgr “Care to elaborate? Seems a blow in the face of every decent parent and teacher in the world.”
Just remembered the barb: nope, simply the way you choose to represent the statement which you’ve taken right out of context, said context being the possibility or otherwise of anyone teaching another how to be an artist, and especially from the basis of photographic critique, the least valuable method of them all, IMO.
It has nothing to do with regular teaching, with parental duties nor even of their success. My wife stopped her job the moment she discovered she was expecting and she didn’t give it another whirl until both children were both well into their schooling. Both children received the same devoted help at home with their education; one turned out to be very academic, nose always in a book, the other couldn’t have cared less about school or working therein. As with art, it’s inborn or it’s not there and you can no more force it than buy it.
Now I really am finished with this circular thread.