Jul 082014

In 2011, I had the honor of teaching a workshop at the Oklahoma Arts Institute, a rigorous two week arts program for high school age students focusing on acting, creative writing, ballet, modern dance, orchestra, chorus, drawing and painting, photography, and film and video.  The workshops take place at the beautiful Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center, a resort located in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma.  I recently returned from teaching another summer session there, and once again had a fabulous time working with amazingly gifted young students.

Team Photo

We’re baaaaaaack! Team Photo was reunited as I joined up once again with Konrad Eek and Ben Long. Since meeting and working together for the first time back in 2011, we’ve kept up correspondence but rarely have the chance to see each other in person, so this was a great opportunity to reconnect. Ben was outnumbered by three “Con’s” this year as we were joined by newcomer Connor Choate (far right) joining in the fun.

The Lecture

During the first week, I presented my work with a slide show and lecture and loved the audience. Everyone was not only intrigued and receptive to my work, but they were warm and appreciative. This was one of those very special occasions when I am totally relaxed and feel like I am having a conversation with the audience.

The Students

were FANTASTIC. They were a brilliant class that were incredibly fun to teach and very eager to learn. They were all sweet, fun, and extremely enthusiastic. The two week workshop is intense, demanding a lot of hard work in a short period of time, and yet we still managed to have a blast through it all.

Student Work

I could not be more thrilled with the work the students produced in the short two week time we had together. I was, and still am, blown away by the caliber and quality of the images photographed by such a young group of photographers. The level on which the students were seeing went above and beyond my expectations, and they created some truly breathtaking and inspiring work. There was so much more than what I’m sharing here and it was difficult narrowing it down to these, but here are some images that really stood out:

Ben Davis

Charity Jack

Hayley Russell

Iasiah Pickens

Jacob Rabon IV

Carter Link
Jackson Fall

John Voth

Sarah Allen
Kayla Andrus

Kelsie Box

Kitkat Stotler

Landon Bahr

Lauren Tedford

Lucky Coffey

Carsyn Abrams
Molly Shanahan

Olivia Prichard

One thing that really impressed me was how quickly the students could let go of their “old” ways of seeing things and jump into a new approach. With so many of the workshops that I teach, the emphasis is on working intuitively, using photography to explore and discover new ways of looking. Just as it is with any creative process, it is so easy to fall into formulaic ways of seeing, photographing in ways we know will produce results which may be nice, but rarely exciting. The students at OSAI came into this workshop clearly knowing their way around a camera, and had already learned how to make images. What they learned through this workshop was the distinction between photographing based on the subject/event vs. photographing based on seeing/vision. They managed to let go of preconceived ideas of what works in an image, how you’re “supposed” to photograph certain subject matter, and instead photograph with a much more #dynamic approach. *wink*

After two weeks of challenging exercises, the final assignment was open – they could photograph whatever subject matter they chose – and one student griped that they no longer knew how to photograph their friends now that they had become so aware of working with edges, shapes, line and light. They could no longer settle for casual snapshots of their friends. It was a comment that signaled to me that they truly “got it”.

The Closing Show

Every year, the workshop ends with a show exhibiting the best of the work from throughout the course of the workshop. The show this year was exceptional, and truly displayed how far the students had come in such a short period of time. The images looked excellent and all of us could not be happier with everyone’s progress.

THANK YOU ALL for being so wonderful, so enthusiastic and so receptive, and for the incredible work you did! I am extremely proud of this group and excited to see where they go next…

Thanks, as always, to Team Photo – Konrad Eek, Ben Long, and Connor Choate! I will miss you guys, and until we teach again, be in touch!!

And of course, thank you once again to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute for hosting such a great program and inviting me to be a part of it! It is always a pleasure and I am already eager for the next opportunity to be back in Oklahoma! 

 July 8, 2014  Posted by at 7:53 pm Workshops No Responses »
May 062014

Every year, I look forward to a handful of workshops that I teach throughout the summer.  This year I’m thrilled to be continuing work with two of my favorites workshops:  The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA and the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, ME.  As I gear up for these fabulous courses, I’m looking back on some of my previous experiences teaching the wonderful students I’ve had.


The Fine Arts Work Center:

As with many of the other classes I teach, Creativity, Intuition, and Seeing is centered around an intuitive approach to photography and the creative process.   We are taught our whole lives to think things through, be in control, and act with reason rather than intuition, but that approach limits our vision to see just what we expect to see, not what is actually in front of us.  Through exercises, assignments, and discussions, the goal of the workshop is to learn to use the camera as a tool for exploration, and to discover new ways of looking at and experiencing the world around us.

The last students I worked with at FAWC were just incredible, and really managed to grasp what it means to photograph through an intuitive visual process.  Here is just a small selection of some of their outstanding work:

Howard Rubin
Binney Wells
Dreyden Hebb
Laura Ward
Margaret Zaleski
Creativity, Intuition, and Seeing is just around the corner and runs from July 20 – July 25 at The Fine Arts Work Center at 24 Pearl Street, Provincetown MA 02657


The Maine Media Workshops:

The Human Form is a class that is near and dear to my heart.  The body can be a classical and provocative subject, seen in one instance as graceful and alluring while challenging and provocative in another.  It has been an inspiration for artistic expression for centuries, and through working with it as subject matter has the potential to explore assumptions of beauty, our understanding of “self” and humanity, and the mysterious dynamics between body and spirit, body and mind.  Similar to my class at FAWC, The Human Form is a class that encourages an intuitive approach to working with this wonderful subject as a means to challenge the typical framework with which we make sense of the body.  The work my students have produced throughout the course of the workshop is always astounding, with everyone creating images that are unique and liberating for such a profoundly popular subject.  Here are some of the photographs from my 2013 MMW class:
Mark Harris
Amber Laurent
Charlie Lemay
Enrique Monasterio
Ruth Steinberg
Harry Ulmen
The Human Body is taught when the weather in Maine is GORGEOUS, from August 17 – August 23, at The Maine Media Workshops, 70 Camden St, Rockport ME 04856

 May 6, 2014  Posted by at 6:49 pm Workshops No Responses »
Aug 282013

Last week ended another great week at the Maine Media Workshops.  As always, this was my favorite week of teaching throughout the year.  Maine is beautiful, the weather is gorgeous this time of year, the lobster is delicious, and the students the workshop attracts are always wonderful.

Our class!

This year, my class comprised of six motivated and responsive students who pushed me to push them to a new level, which I find brings out the best in me as a teacher.  We had very engaging and challenging discussions about originality, authentic seeing, and how to photograph such a popular and controversial subject as the human body.  We talked about the multitude of vulnerabilities for both the model and the photographer, and how to look beyond the “concept” of the figure to see it in a new way.  My students responded very quickly to the assignments, producing work that was outstanding and it was nothing short of impressive to see how far everyone had progressed in just one week.

Every year at Maine Media, the week ends with a closing celebration featuring the best videos and slides of the work all of the classes produced.  I was so proud and delighted with my students work, and I’m happy to share some of the work featured in the Friday slide show here:

Mark Harris
Mark Harris
Amber Laurent
Amber Laurent
Charlie Lemay
Charlie Lemay
Charlie Lemay
Enrique Monasterio
Enrique Monasterio
Ruth Steinberg
Ruth Steinberg
Harry Umen
Harry Umen

This year was the 40th anniversary of the Maine Media Workshops, reminding me that I’d been there for the 20th and 30th as well.  Through all these years I look forward to this workshop with excitement and anticipation, and I can’t wait to see what the 50th anniversary will bring!

Thanks to the folks at MMW for all the beautiful memories and for keeping me around year after year, and a very special thank you to my class!  You were all truly wonderful to work with and I can’t wait to see more of your work in the future!

 August 28, 2013  Posted by at 5:30 pm Workshops 3 Responses »
Jun 132013

Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching a three day workshop for the Union of Arab Photographers in Sharjah, one of the United Arab Emirates.  The request from the UAP came up quickly and was unplanned, but I jumped at the opportunity to travel and teach in the Middle East.  Having seen the Lynda course I recently published with Ben Long, they were interested in hosting a class on composition. 

This was such an exciting trip and I found it fascinating to be in a culture so different from my own but sharing the same passion for photography.  I found the UAE to be very enthusiastic about photography, to really value communication, and felt like it was a deeply appreciated medium.  
All of the people I met with were incredibly warm, welcoming, and hospitable.  The students I worked with were extraordinary- all were very enthusiastic, open, and eager to learn.  Photography is such an important language, one that transcends cultural differences and communicates in rich, profound ways.  It was a wonderful experience and I hope I have the opportunity to visit again some day!
I’m hoping to receive some samples of students work to post here within the next couple weeks…
Our class!

 June 13, 2013  Posted by at 7:52 pm Workshops No Responses »
Sep 142011

Another recent workshop I had the honor of teaching at was the Photography Workshops at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.  I’ve been a part of this workshop for the past 4 years, and every year has been an incredibly fun and fantastic experience.

For one thing, Provincetown is SUCH a cool place.

The Parade

The workshop was August 14th-19th, which happens to be one of the biggest weekends of the summer for this little town.  On August 18th, we had the chance to see the town’s Gay Pride Parade, a truly outrageous, fun, and all around extravagant event.  It was such a blast, you never knew what was next…

The Fine Arts Work Center

The Fine Arts Work Center is brimming with creative energy; everyone is inspired and excited to be participating.  I had a wonderful time when one night, my class and Cathy Bowman’s poetry class got together over cookies and wine to discuss creativity and the creative process.  We had some really excellent discussions on the idea that metaphors can be visual, and these “visual metaphors” can enhance and create new meaning.  Some of my assignments take idea’s like these, where verbal language and visual art intertwine and overlap with one another.  Cathy was also interested in these concepts, and was interested in transforming some of my photo assignments into verbal ones, encouraging her students to stretch the meaning of words.  We were thrilled at the idea of doing a collaborative workshop, and hopefully some day we’ll have the opportunity.  In the meantime, here’s a shot of Cathy at the parade:

The Students

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Proust

The students at Provincetown were, as usual, wonderful.  They were so eager to explore the idea of “seeing with new eyes” and developing a more intuitive visual approach to photography.  Encouraging process over product and intuition over reason, the assignments are admittedly challenging, but the students handled them brilliantly.  Their work was simply outstanding, and I was more than impressed by the work they did:

Ann Falvey, “Spatial Relationships” assignment

Da Xu, “Ordinary as Extraordinary” assignment (it’s a folder).

Da Xu, “Ordinary as Extraordinary” assignment (it’s a folder). 

Toby Taber, “Spatial Relationships” assignment

Tom Geyer, “Spacial Relationships” assignment

Margery Gans, “Light As Subject” assignment
Gina Campbell, “Spatial Relationships” assignment

Thank You!

I was thrilled to have such extraordinary students and to see them make such exceptional work.  THANK YOU ALL for your hard work, dedication, and eagerness to learn!  It was a joy working with all of you, and I hope you continue to expand your vision and explore the world without expectations or assumptions.

And of course, big thanks to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown!  It was -as always- a pleasure to be teaching one of your workshops, and I look forward to being a part of the Summer Program again in the future!

Jul 222011

Last month, I was honored to be part of a workshop at The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at the beautiful Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center.  The two week long intensive program is aimed at the education and advancement of high school age students in the arts, including acting, creative writing, ballet, modern dance, orchestra, chorus, drawing and painting, photography, and film and video.  It is an amazing academy and an excellent resource for gifted young artists.  I found the students to be fantastic, all of them bright, enthusiastic and eager to learn.

Team Photo

Working alongside brilliant photographers Konrad Eek and Ben Long, I knew we were in for a great time when these two knuckleheads launched an impromptu 20 minute comedy routine to kick things off…

  Konrad teaches photography at Oklahoma City Community College and runs Maxwell Eek Design Photography, a commercial photography studio focused on product and fashion photography for wholesale and retail catalogs.  Ben is a San Francisco based photographer with a long list of commercial clients, a longtime contributor to many magazines including MacWeek, MacUser, Macworld UK, and is currently a senior contributing editor for Macworld magazine and a senior editor at CreativePro.com.  His book, Complete Digital Photography, now in it’s 6th edition, has become something of an industry standard.  Together, the three of us formed “Team Photo” and had a blast sharing our diverse passion and knowledge of photography.  (Taking notes myself during their lectures, I found the students weren’t the only ones who had something to learn.)

The Lecture

It was a wonderful experience!  Upon arriving, I gave a lecture and presentation of my work and never have I spoken to a more appreciative audience.  The reaction from everyone was enthusiastic, with great questions and insightful responses to my work.

Oklahoma Wildlife

Even when the students weren’t working on assignments, we found ourselves taking advantage of every opportunity to photograph.

Early in the first week, we pulled over on a bus trip to the city of Mangum, spotting a dead snake on the side of the road that just beckoned to be photographed.

Konrad and his new snake skin belt.

It was great fun, and when somehow word got around that we were interested in photographing dead things, students started collecting and donating dearly departed Oklahoma wildlife:

The Students

Ashley Hale

The work the students completed on their assignments was remarkable, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the work they produced.  In one assignment, the students were asked to see “light as subject”, giving them the challenge of making light itself the main focus and subject matter of an image:

David Parks

Maggie Knobbe

Chris Tran

In another assignment, students were encouraged to photograph something in such a way that a shape in the foreground visually relates to a form in the background.  It’s an undertaking that is usually a lot more easier said than done, so I was very impressed with how well everyone handled this one:

Amber Griffith
Ethan Yates

 The students were thrilled to do an underwater shoot, photographing models in a pool with “splash and trash” type disposable cameras.

Kaylee Howerton 

Kaelea Crowell

By the time they finished cannonballing into the pool, they did a great job and came away with not only excellent images but a new appreciation for what I do and the obstacles involved in making my work.

Closing Show

The show we mounted at the end of the workshop was extraordinary and extremely professional.  I am so proud of all of the students, for the outstanding work they did, and how much they grew and progressed in just two weeks.  THANK YOU ALL for being such a wonderful group!

Also, thanks to The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute for the invitation to be part of such a fantastic program and wonderful experience!  And of course, special thanks to the rest of TEAM PHOTO, Konrad Eek and Ben Long!  It was great not only to teach with you but learn from you as well.  Hope we can do it all again soon…

Mar 232009

The opening at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art was great!  Lots of interesting folks and good conversations.  There was also a wonderful review at the Falls Church News-Press by Kevin Mellema on March 18, 2009:

and the exhibition at the DCCA was also reviewed in the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 13th 2009 by Victoria Donohue:
The Heineman Myers show is up until April 25th, 2009 and the DCCA is up until April 12th, 2009


 March 23, 2009  Posted by at 3:37 pm Workshops 1 Response »