Courses and Workshops


Photography and the Search for Meaning –
An Extended Workshop

Come join me and explore the notion that photography presents a gateway to meaning. For many of us, meaning can be found in religion, vocation, or in friends, and family. But for others, the search for meaning is more elusive and can be at times philosophical. Some find refining a craft or writing a good story sufficient to satisfy this need. How does this work for photographers? We seek to express our visions in meaningful ways that others can relate to.

The act of making a photograph is one way of assigning significance to the subject, and for us to connect in a way that has a powerful impact on others. There is always a reason for our pictures. We question, remark on what we see, juxtapose objects, celebrate the wonder, and express ideas. As photographers, we use a universal language that has its syntax. Photographs prove our existence, they not only provide context for our story, but they also provide a powerful platform to express our viewpoints

During this workshop, you will be offered informed, constructive critiques, these will help you to build a basis on which to extend the depth of your work. You will walk away from the course with renewed confidence and an informed eye.

Our aim in the course/workshop will be to use your photography to create a visual essay. You will be offered the opportunity to create a series of photographs that express your unique views on a topic that you find compelling. You will be guided and supported throughout this process by the fellowship and community we develop within the workshop. We will all help you discover the threads that already exist in your work, help you to refine, and extend them into a body of work that expresses your ideas and observations into an integrated visual essay.

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Photography AND Visual Language
January to April  2019 at Uvic

Photography is a form of visual communication. Over ten weeks we will look at, and explore the processes, and constructs of visual messaging in photography, and other visual art forms. We intend to develop and understand the basic requirements of content and form in creating images with impact and depth.

We will attempt to integrate the academic, as well as practical viewpoints; working towards understanding the works of the great photographers within the context of visual language. To do this, we will compare visual language to other expressions. We will look not only for the similarities but also the differences that afford visual expression its power.

We will attempt to integrate the academic as well as practical viewpoints, always working to understand the works of the great photographers within the context of visual language. To do this we will compare visual language to other expressions looking not only for the similarities but also the differences that afford visual expression its power.

We will also look into models of communication and comprehension and attempt to apply them to the work that we create in response to assignments.

 

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Vision, Style and Authenticity

A Workshop Disguised as a Course

This is not a course; it is a participatory workshop. You will need to make lots of pictures and be prepared to present them to the group on a regular basis.

Our objective will be to help you find your visual signature, to develop a style to do work that is authentic to you.

It’s a tall order and not something to be attempted lightly, but that is exactly what we will do. We will work from the positives. We will look for the things that we do well, that show the things we need to say, and we will reinforce each other in the process. We will be working from the prints that you make, and our critiques will be constructive. We will take advantage of the fact that we’re with twelve other visual people, and we’re all committed to helping each other achieve mutual artistic growth.

This workshop is in five sections:

The first section is an overview of the program; we will examine our upcoming process, our objectives, and the methods we will use to achieve our intended results. You will be challenged to define a project you will be prepared to commit to by the end of the second section. We should be able to cover this on the first night.

The second section is the review section where each person will present a maximum of twelve prints that represent works they have completed to date. As we look at each person’s work, we will be looking for the threads that tie the work together, the clues to help define their visual signature and style. Each presentation will be ½ hour in duration, and every participant will be asked to make constructive notes on the things they see in the presented works. Those notes will be given to each presenter to take home and consider.

In the third section, each participant is asked to define a project that they plan to pursue through the following weeks. The objective will be to create a tight body of work that demonstrates style, integrity and authenticity.

In the remaining weeks, you will be asked to bring in samples of the work you are doing to share with the group as your project progresses. This will involve extensive group critiques, and ongoing problem-solving. This is the fourth section and it will last for 5 sessions.

Finally, in the last class, you will be asked to bring ten prints that represent your body of work created using the disciplines you developed during the workshop. Our intention is to share our mutual successes. I promise a very satisfying evening for all involved, one where we can celebrate the combined accomplishments of everyone in the group.

 


Boro Coat by Mary Sullivan Holdgrafer
Digital Photography for Artists

The digital camera has proven to be a powerful tool for artists in the 21st Century.

Cameras are ubiquitous whether they reside in your cellular phone, tablet, pocket camera or Digital SLR, they give us the ability to capture and record anything that inspires us.

Indeed, most professional artists will agree that photographs are vital to their career and excellent photographs are necessary to accurately document their work.

As a contemporary artist, you are serious about your work and proud of the pieces that you make. You have spent years learning about colour, composition, scale, perspective, anatomy, light, and so many other relevant subjects that are important to your work.

You know that competitions are normally judged by your peers, that the competition is fierce, and being published is critical.

You know that everyone’s laptop, computer screen or TV shows colour and contrast differently.

You know that your work looks different in window light, full sunlight and in a gallery.

You dread finally getting your work published and finding out the printer has mismatched your colours or the colours are out of print registration.

This workshop will show you ways of dealing with each of these problems. These days of precision technology mean there are no excuses. Either it is right, or someone has made a mistake. Don’t let that someone be you.

In this course, we will address each of the problems listed above and give you practical ways of dealing with them.

In addition, we will also cover the basics of digital photography. You will understand how a digital camera works, and what makes a camera suitable for someone serious about colour. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on one, but some cameras are not suitable for artists. I will give you the knowledge to confidently choose an appropriate model that works well for your individual aesthetic needs.You will learn which cameras are right for you, and why they are ideal for artists.

We will also look at inexpensive, sometimes free, creative apps for processing digital images and getting your creative juices flowing.

This course is divided into five sections and two tracks each session is priced separately.

The first section is essential to the remaining four. It is about making digital technology understandable.

Cameras and lenses:

  • Not all cameras are suitable for copying artwork.
  • The problem of lenses and distortion.
  • Sources for determining the properties of a lens before you buy it.

Understanding the two main colour models used in reproduction:

  • RGB and CMYK.

Practical solutions to solve the problems associated with converting from one colour model to another.

Understanding the reasons for the various file types (jpg, tiff, and raw formats) and where they are used most effectively, including why you should never edit a jpg. 

Understanding bit depth in colour manipulation.

The second is a practical demonstration on lighting and the geometry of photographing flat artwork:

  • Understanding the colour of light, and its effects on the subject when photographing flat artwork.
  • The geometry of lighting a flat surface.
  • Using specular and diffused light sources.
  • Basic tools required to accurately reproduce color.

The third is an opportunity to photograph and process your own flat artwork in a pre-established studio setting:

  • You should bring a memory stick to the workshop so you can take your files home with you.

The fourth is a practical demonstration on lighting and the geometry of photographing 3 dimensional artwork:

  • Understanding the colour of light, and its effects on the subject when photographing colour artwork.
  • Using specular and diffused light sources.
  • Basic tools required to accurately reproduce colour.

The fifth is an opportunity to photograph and process your own 3-dimensional artwork in a pre-established studio setting.

 


 

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Film Photography Courses

From 1999 to 2012 I was an instructor at Focal Point where I taught film based photography.  At UBC, Vancouver Photo Workshops and Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, I taught digital photography until I retired to Gabriola Island where I lived for seven years. 

The Zen of Photography – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored

Intermediate Photography – 10 weeks – 30 hours

Advanced Lighting – 10 weeks – 30 hours

Advanced Darkroom – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored

Large Format Photography – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored

The Nude – Figure and Portrait – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored

Style Development – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored

Creating Your Own Photography Business – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored

Visual Language – 12 weeks – 36 hours – Authored

Color and Light – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored

Photographing Beverages – 10 weeks – 15 hours – Authored

Outdoor Flash Photography – One Day Workshop – Authored

Infrared Photography – Weekend Workshop – Authored

The Portrait – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored

Portfolio Development – 10 weeks – 30 hours – Authored