To paraphrase the great David Bailey, we all have a truly great image in us, but the difference with him is he will have many, many more. It is rare to get as many great images in one life time as Bailey, but we can aim for more than just the one. I write this from a computer that is just a click away from a lifetime and beyond worth of learning materials, websites, online tutorials and advice from the greats - more knowledge available than at any other time in history. But is it enough? In conversations about photography, I've heard countless examples of people buying teach yourself books or distance learning diplomas only to give up, tired of their generic copy and use of 'inspirational' stock images to illustrate their points.
Many people are drawn to photography for different reasons and subject matters, but I know I am not alone in being drawn to photography as a way of telling stories and exploring the urban experience. What do you do then, if you wish to learn and explore beyond how to use equipment or take generic, stock like images? Well, delivering a 1-2-1 workshop in Brick Lane, East London, last week, I was set an objective to help rediscover a missing 'photography mojo' and to kick start a future of creative practice.
The workshop looked like this:
Becoming Visually Literate
Some of the best advice I've been given is to continually challenge what it is about an image you like or dislike. How it is constructed, the emotional feel it leaves you with, where the eye is drawn and what are the potential stories created from this image are just some of the strategies to help read an image. Being able to deconstruct why an image works directly feeds in to your own image making process and the choices you make.
Types, tone and qualities of light is the very essence of photography and during the day how it creates your images is continually discussed. Where it falls on the subject, how it fits to the camera settings and composition of the image are key factors in creating a keeper of an image.
Composition and Camera Settings
The real benefit of a personalised workshop is the ability to go through the full image making process and examine each step. Once a subject is identified, what ratio would work best, landscape or portrait? Where in the frame works best for the subject? How do you want the depth of field to be seen - all in detail or isolating an element against the background? What height should you be to your subject? These combinations of factors are in play continually as we create our images.
Portraiture and Rapport Building
How does it make you feel to take photographs of strangers, talk to them and take impromptu portraits? Whilst the details are examined in my The Art of the Street Portrait blog, having someone with you to not only help engage with the subject, but also provide feedback on settings and composition, is invaluable.
Creative Themes and Projects
The long term aim as a photographer is to build a body work that can be examined and explored. During the day, the subjects of narrative building, shadows and reflections are used to create a theme of images that can be carried forward in to practice beyond the workshop.
If this sounds like something you'd want to take part in to take your urban photography further then 1-2-1 workshops are available in Birmingham and London, starting From £95
For more details and to arrange a suitable date, pop your name and email address below.
* All images in this blog were shot during the workshop.
Till next time,