Some of my regular readers will know that I’ve been pretty quiet since the pandemic began. It’s been hard to find a silver lining when your career in travel photography is suddenly shuttered by global events. With vaccines bringing hope of a slightly more familiar future, once again we start to think about the workshops and tours that have been such a big part of our lives pre-covid.
Since late last year I have been running a handful of online workshops, in an attempt to bring my teaching experience into the digital realm. I have trouble speaking at the best of times, and the lack of proper feedback when talking to a screen is something I seriously struggle with. But I persevered and one of these workshops in particular, on eBooks and Curation, is proving to be a really good fit for the technology.
I set down the framework and then get our audience to complete homework tasks online. We review the work online as well, and I can tinker with presentations in real time to demonstrate the power of simple ideas to transform your images. It’s dynamic, creative and free of many limitations that the real world imposes on us.
But a few months ago we ran a real workshop, in a real farmhouse, with real humans and four days on really big smiles. And that was sooooo much better than anything we do online. My wife and I have been running Food Photography Workshops for many many years now. Shellie is an amazing photographer, and also a fantastic cook and stylist. You can imagine why this workshop works so well! It felt great to be back in that creative space and helping people find their confidence with the camera.
We were lucky. We ran the workshop in between short lockdowns across various states. My Grand Outback Photo Tour scheduled for June was not so lucky. It’s exhausting when events outside your control shut down all the work, effort and planning. In the week leading up to the June lockdown we worked so hard to find ways to keep the show on the road. Each solution was met with a new lockdown in a new state, and eventually we had to give up.
Disappointing for my travellers. Crushing for me. I really needed a fix of outback wilderness, and now there eight wonderful people who simply miss out on this amazing experience.
At the end of this month we’re running something new, a workshop in a remote part of rural Victoria. It’s not about food. Or landscapes. Or star trails. Or wildlife. It’s about changing your photography and making a new start. In truth we could have run it anywhere, but as always we like to make simple things special – so Shellie is doing the catering and we chose a gorgeous farm house on the far side of Great Ocean Road.
Just getting there will be a journey, but we hope the five day program will lead our guests somewhere even more special. I’ve been thinking about this workshop idea for a long time, and things really took shape when I started talking to photographers who were struggling to break out of their routine.
Some were from camera clubs, some were professionals. Their stories were the same.
We called it “What they won’t tell you at camera club”, but the core of the workshop has taken on a much broader foundation since then. Next year we’ll call it “Change Your Photography” perhaps. I’m also considering the merits of calling it the “ReImagine Workshop”, because in many ways it is my photo book brought to life. I hope to share some of our experiences during the workshop, and will try to capture a video to inspire others to join in future years.
The reason we do any workshop is because we are looking for change. We want to capture new images, in a new way. It’s not just about learning, but experiencing. Shellie and I love creating these immersive experiences, a world away from our everyday lives, where people can connect with their own creative potential. We love seeing the art of photography reimagined by a group of eager souls.
We’re just a couple of weeks away from the new workshop, in Portland Victoria. The tentacles of this pandemic are once again reaching outwards and we’ve already lost one of our participants who will be locked inside Sydney instead of exploring new worlds with us. We desperately hope that this workshop will still go ahead. As much as we value the online world and all it brings, the offline world is where the true magic happens.
Here's a link to the Portland workshop for July 29 2021: