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I’m very excited to announce a new workshop I’ll be teaching this summer in Florence, Italy, with Juniper Workshops!

The Juniper Workshops promote an interdisciplinary approach, encouraging students “to go beyond simply capturing pretty images. Our students learn to go deeper into their subjects to produce a body of work that expresses more than just surface imagery. As we push students to go beyond the expected image they learn not only the craft of photography, but how to see deeper into their subjects.”

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Situated in the heart of Tuscany, the Florence workshops are comprised of four complementary workshops. The structure is a little bit different than what I’m used to, specifically that I’ll be teaching alongside three other instructors, including Paul Taggart, Regina Saisi, and my dear friend Ben Long. Although we will each have our own specific workshop, class time will be spent with all four of us. There will also be presentations, exercises and critiques that will involve the entire student body, providing the opportunity to mingle with students from the other classes. Ben and I have taught together in the past, including at the Oklahoma Arts Institute Workshops, as well as through the award winning online instructional video library, lynda.com. I think working alongside one another and teaching in this format will be an exciting and effective way to push students to the next level in their work, and I’m really looking forward to it!

My workshop, “Seeing”, encourages photographers to see differently. 

That may sound crazy, but consider this: Our vision is often limited by our expectation of what we think we should see instead of what is actually in front of us. Our brains guide our vision and while that guidance allows us to move quickly through a complex visual world, the brain’s interference can be a real hindrance to the process of photography. The fact that we see what we expect to see can inevitably leave us feeling like we’re making the same image over and over. The fix for that is to learn to see the world differently.

In this workshop we will learn that what you photograph is not as important as how you photograph it. Through exercises, assignments, and discussions, you will learn to use your camera as a tool to discover new ways of looking at and experiencing the world around you. Instead of thinking about what makes the best shot and being in control, we will learn to develop an intuitive visual approach in our work, trusting in our eyes to guide us through shooting. Working in a supportive environment, we will emphasize process is over product, while encouraging playfulness, and exploring the idea of mistakes as pathways to discovery. This class is suitable for all levels, though a working knowledge of your digital camera is important.

From the Juniper website: “Juniper Workshops offers unique photography workshops with an emphasis on adventure around the world. Like any workshop, we will help students find the best photos, but we believe that good photo instruction requires something more. Because the best photographs tell stories, we push our students to go beyond simply capturing pretty images. Our students learn to go deeper into their subjects to produce a body of work that expresses more than just surface imagery. As we push students to go beyond the expected image they learn not only the craft of photography, but how to see deeper into their subjects.”

To learn more about Juniper, click here!

And stay tuned for more information and details on “Seeing” in Florence, Italy! To sign up for updates, submit your email at the bottom of this page,

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My new images are different, or at least they are to me. Okay, so now I have been photographing in mirrors for a few decades.  In the beginning there were lots of new discoveries and fewer and fewer as time goes on.  This makes sense because I see much of my job now as a more nuanced one of refining and pushing.  Recently, in the beginning of 2016, I have seen a shift in my work and by my standards – a rather major one.  Yes I am using the same mirrors I have always used and using them to reform the human body and to use shapes of broken shards to exaggerate gestures and forms.  Nothing new there.

What is totally new, however, is my appreciation of the edges – sharp and angular or round and curved.

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Untitled #01-07-16-121

Now I am not just breaking the shards but gouging them, digging into them with screwdrivers, utility knives and using paint to selectively bring bits of color into the marks. The result gives them a visceral quality – distressed and marred. Because the focus is on the shape of the shards, the edges and textures, they flatten the space. This flattened space results in the body appearing as if broken into flat planes.

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Untitled #01-14-16-502

These broken planes are disconnected from each other so the figure appears to be put together from disparate pieces. Their loose, often imprecise construction makes me think of marionettes, or dolls.   The figures appear less individuated because the emphasis now is not on particular individual features, but more on shapes. The images are still dark and disturbing, as most of my images are but more removed from the form of the human body.

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Untitled #01-12-16-101

The way the shape of the mirrors relate to each other is similar to Hannah Höck‘s photomontages. An artist from the German Expressionist era, Höck would collage together different elements, torn or cut out magazines, photographs and drawings. The shape of these elements created a similar flat sense of space that my mirror planes do. Figures in her work are often redefined through the edges of the paper and images she uses. The effect is often twisted, almost comical in it’s bizarreness, but disturbing to the point of being haunting, and this new mirror work seems to echo that strange emotional quality.

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Hannah Höch- Dada Puppen (Dada Dolls), 1916

 

photomontage by Hannah Höch

 

I’ve also found the figures in the latest mirror images to appear in odd, uncomfortable and perhaps unnatural gestures. Although there may be nothing particularly twisted about the bodies themselves, the way the mirror shards reshape and redefine the body’s extremities make these gestures seem rigid and stiff, and jarring, reminding me of the way the figure is depicted in the work of Egon Schiele, or Oskar Kokoschka. Their drawings and paintings of the human form are immediately recognizable for their simple yet exaggerated linear quality. The figures are often twisted, sometimes to the point of being grotesque, and frequently have elongated, disproportionate limbs and/or features. Since the latest mirror work focuses on the shape of the mirrors, the arms, legs, torso and even heads of the figures are forcibly redefined into these rigid shapes, echoing the taut oddness of Schiele or Kokoschka’s figures.

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Egon Schiele – The Dancer, 1913

 

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Oskar Kokoschka- Nude with back turned, 1907

Much of the figure in my latest mirror images becomes similarly flat and simplified, often breaking the body into flat planes. This effect gives them the same gaunt, stark, and desolate appearance as seen in both Schiele and Kokoschka’s work.

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Untitled #01-12-16-192

 

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Untitled #01-05-16-366

Since I have taken more liberty with defacing the mirror surfaces, the “hatching” effect has become louder, and is visually similar to Käthe Kollowitz‘s mark making. Through the expression of her mark making there is an element of tragedy in her work, one of desperation and despair. The figures in this latest mirror work exhibit a similar quality of despair, reflecting more of an internal, psychological state rather than representing actual, physical beings.

 

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Untitled #01-05-16-292

 

Käthe Kollwitz- Call of Death, 1937
Käthe Kollwitz- Call of Death, 1937