May 26, 2002

A Workshop - Day 1 (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

One of the biggest internal debates I have is in regards to teaching workshops; I regularly teach basic photography on a small scale, but where that is concerned with a straight-forward technical process, a workshop on photographing the nude encompasses an entirely different set of issues. It is one thing to teach exposure and development, and quite another to give an outsider insight into learning how to see. Add to that the added issues of fairly compensating the models while still making the entire process financially reasonable, the simple reality of the weather, and things get rapidly more complex.
6x7 cm film
All that said, when I was approached by an American photographer about facilitating a one-on-one workshop for him on working with the nude, I decided after some debate to agree. After some on-line and phone conversations, I planned out three days of intensive photography of the Nude.
6x7 cm film
Fortunately, unlike the previous sessions, the weekend of the workshop was relatively warm (I say relatively because while the air was warm, there was a significant breeze that kept a chill in the air), and permitted us to work outdoors.. Our first day was spent working within the still leafless woods of Nova Scotia, working on both rocks and trees. Mixed with the great setting was the light, a near perfect mixture alternating between angular direct sun and soft, diffused light from behind high cloud.

The first day of the workshop, more then anything else, served to set the tone for the days to come. As the two of us photographed Carol, the model, in an alternating pattern, I tried to give insight into the process I use to create my work, while giving the student the freedom to take where I began and generate his own images off that beginning. On the whole, it was a fairly functional process.
6x7 cm film
One of the reasons I felt comfortable with the workshop as we designed it was that it facilitated my working, as well as the students; in this way, I both continued to build on my own imagery, and created compositions which permitted the student to look directly through my lens, and see what I was seeing. While there was a definite division of attention, with mine being split between the student and the model, I still managed to make a number of very successful images, my favourite of which were all made on infra-red or infra-red sensitive film.

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