Friday, 9 October 2015

The Mystery Workshop

It's an odd idea - but one I think may have some legs in it, based on the trust of both the general public and all those who know me...

I've wondered for quite some time now whether it would be worthwhile, and perhaps even more beneficial than regular workshops and tuition outings, to do a workshop based on a location new to both me and the client (you?). Workshops generally get so samey - you go over the technique, or show locations you know well and try to explain why something makes a good shot and how to see other good shots... but that can be hard in a well known location. Would it not be more useful to see how the photographer's mind works in a less overly photographed spot? Seeing it minute by minute, how the scene is analysed and comes together in a 2D image?... without the weeks/months/years of planning and forethought than can so often take away from the possible creativity. You'd get to see bits of fruitless wandering, see what happens when the weather doesn't play along, and see how we manage to find something else of interest instead. The process is just as important as the product, isn't it?

There's an obvious risk - what if there is no beautiful photo to be found? What if we both struggle? But that's negated on two fronts...

1) I can't remember the last time I had any trip out and didn't come back with at least a few photographs I was pleased with, either on a personal level or a more general, beautiful level. This is where the trust of the clients comes in.

2) Is it really a failure if you did, for some reason, fail to take the spectacular images you'd intended? We'll find something and, once again, if anything, this increases the opportunities for learning on the part of the client.

This is certainly the sort of workshop that would be aimed at those already proficient in the technical aspects of photography, but having spent years trying to create as many beautiful photos as I can with the aim of keeping up a daily post rate on my Facebook page, from limited outings... with the necessity to constantly be on the move, finding the next shot... it's something I think I could really help people with. I've almost perfected the art of landscape photography as a sport with my many last minute runs to location, rather than the sedentary hobby it is often portrayed as, and this must surely be something worth teaching. I can plan all day long, but the intrique of hidden views and wondering what's around the next corner so often takes me off piste - but doesn't half help with thinking on the spot and the creative side of this endeavour.

It's so easy to get drawn into the idea that photography on the hoof is a bad thing. We should take our time, be deliberate, get our filters sorted, stand and wait. So many of the film generation (quite understandably - with those costs) seem to make out that this is the only way of coming back with a successful image... But the best photos often happen at the most unexpected of times in the most unexpected of places... that's what keeps it exciting... and what better way to learn how to make the most of that than learning photography the way I did - though plenty of hours of aimless walks with only a vague idea of what's in store?
I'd love to know what anyone thinks, from photographers and non-photographers alike... am I insane? Brave? Stupid? Or is it a generally reasonable idea that might work with some forethought?

I've attached some images that have come through my first visits to places - to prove that good things can come to those who explore. They may not be sunny and spectacular, but nice photos nonetheless...

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