Tagged With « workshop »
In my last blog entry, I wrote about how interns/teaching assistants can maximize the opportunities that such professional opportunities can offer them. Since then I have received a few comments and queries based on what I wrote (including two that are at the bottom of that blog entry.) This week I want to answer another professional development question, in this case about photography workshops, which I saw posted in a forum. It was one of those rare questions that I see on line which I actually feel qualified to answer.
I admit it! I am obsessed about photography education. Of course I am. I teach workshops around the world. My wife is a university professor teaching photography. I run two web sites focused on photography education. I write about photography education on this site (and on other web sites.) I do all of this because as a photographer, I grow as I teach. The more I teach, the more I grow. And I love to grow as a photographer. So, a recent question about education got me thinking even MORE photography education.
The workshop I finished last week in Italy got me thinking about lap top computers, digital imaging and photography workshops. When I started teaching photography workshops, almost twenty years ago, arguably the biggest concern was how to get film processed in a timely manner, so we could look at the work the students were doing. Early on, we worked with black and white negative film and then with color transparencies, each media having strengths and weaknesses. Today, the digital revolution has eliminated that set of problems. On the other hand, it has opened up a whole other can of worms when it comes to computers digital imaging and photography workshops.
For me, blogging, like life, is most interesting when seemingly disparate things come together in unusual and thought provoking ways. A recent series of events got me thinking about photography workshops in particular and photography education in general. Since I studied the history of photography, work as a photographer, and teach a fair number of workshops, this is not new territory for me. What is new is where my thinking ended up at the end of the mental twists and turns that I recently went through.
Last week, I was one of thirteen photographers teaching at the first annual California Photo Festival. The instructors brought a diverse range of styles to the temporary community of photographers that briefly sprung up near San Luis Obispo, California. As I flew West, I was very curious about how the mix of instructors (and photographic styles) would work together. Now that the festival is over, I can look back (and talk about) what happened, at least from where I was sitting. The lessons I learned will benefit most any serious photographer.
I recently wound up my time in Asia with a stop in Singapore, where I gave a few short presentations to large audiences as well as some longer workshops for smaller audiences. Everyone I worked with seemed happy with what I did, so I will be going back next year. So keep an eye on the workshops page of my website to see exactly when I will be going back and what I will be doing. The very last thing I did when I was there this year was to teach my favorite class. I ended that class with my favorite teaching exercise.
I just finished a couple workshops in two very different places. I have found that whether I am teaching in places as far away as Greece or as nearby as Cape Cod, certain things are the same in all workshops. I was going to call this “ten commandments for those attending photography workshops,” buy I thought that such a title might be misconstrued as religious in nature.
During a motorcycle ride over the past weekend, I went to Oakland beach in Warwick, Rhode Island. I was enjoying the view and watching one wedding photographer at work with a bride as she rolled around in the ocean water as she “trashed the dress.” When I looked farther down the same beach I saw four other brides and photographers doing much the same thing. It is true, it was a particularly nice Saturday in August and a good day for a wedding. Still was I really seeing five brides trashing dresses in one place?
This podcast is a profile of David H. Wells, photographer and teacher, in the style of the TV show, “60 minutes.”
I am heading off to Guatemala later this week. Besides getting away from the lingering winter cold in Rhode Island, I am going there to teach. That got me to thinking about workshops and teaching as well as why I do it and the transformative power of photography.
When I went to college, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, my mother encouraged me to put my energy into what she called “learning how to learn.” I just finished a workshop where a student told me the best part of the class was that he had “learned how to learn the way to make the best photograph possible of a given situation.”
As an aspiring documentary photographer/photo-essayist there was always one workshop I always wanted to attend, but I never could. Now that I am in fact “established,” there is one workshop I really want to teach, but I wonder if other students would want to attend such a workshop.
I have posed this question to thousands of photography students. Some were in my workshops, others had worked with other teachers and many had done both. Base on what they told me, I think I have a good idea what makes a great photography workshop. I am happy to share that, (in what I hope is only a mildly self-promoting blog entry.)
I just finished teaching a class on the basics of multimedia, at Calumet photo http://www.calumetphoto.com in NYC. I was teaching members of Professional Women Photographers http://www.pwponline and staying with friends who live in NYC. The class, and the time with my friends, who are also photographers, reminded me of the very important (but usually under appreciated) role that practice plays in good photography.
I just finished teaching a particularly fascinating workshop in Singapore through an organization called Objectifs. In my best workshops, and this was one, I learned as much as I taught.