So, we regularly get asked about our future workshops. What happened to Paris V2 ? What happened to Berlin ? Amsterdam, Marseilles, London, Singapore, Tokyo, Iceland …
I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, lately.
The thing is … workshops are largely dead and largely boring.
Yes, we had a blast last April in Paris and yes we made a (small but OK) profit on the workshop. We’d have made a lot more by simply going about our regular business, but we’d have had a lot less fun.
But the fact remains : workshops are largely dead and largely boring. One perhaps because of the other.
One is a fact. The other, well, is a personal opinion 😉
No official statistics have been published regarding the demise of professional workshoping but the falling prices and alarming amount of pushy marketing that surrounds them speak volumes without McKinsey having to release a white paper.
The fact is that Internet killed the workshop stars just like video killed the radio stars. Google any famous location (one you can find a workshop for) and chances are you’ll find a host of spectacular (I didn’t say good) photographs and a host of easy to digest information that makes the thousands of bucks and serious effort involved in trying to learn from someone’s experience just seem like too much.
So prices are plummeting with demand, which can only lead to a reduction in quality and a downward spiral. Not for us, thank you.
Boring ? That’s my very personal opinion. I love to walk about. Sitting around listening to someone telling me how to create something that looks like a lesser version of his/her work, well … no.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that but it’s just not who I am as a student so it would be hypocritical to pretend to teach like that. Plus come on, New Top Gear is streaming, there are better things to do 😉
So, short answer … No. No more workshops for DearSusan. Sorry.
However, yes, however, there is something we’d enjoy doing more of. And that’s photographic experiences. Ze Workshop, in Paris, last April was as much about experiencing essential Paris as it was about photographing iconic locations. We’d researched a lot of very good restaurants, booked a quitessentially Parisian model and organised for typically Parisian weather 😉
And we’d like to do more of that, if there are some takers. So, here’s the plan.
(1) There are a number of cities / areas we are confident we know well enough to organise a visit in : Provence, the vallée du Rhône, Marseilles, Paris, London, Tokyo, Singapore, Perth, Amsterdam, Venice, Istanbul to name a few.
Then, there are others we’d love to visit or re-visit with fellow photographers but don’t have enough personal knowledge about : Berlin, Porto, Tuscany, Hong-Kong, Yellow Mountains, Four Corners, Namibia, Italian lakes, Amalfi, Puglia, (heck, anywhere in Italy), the Nile, the Western Isles, Cape Town … to name but an even fewer few … For those, we’ll hire the help of a local expert photographer and work on the most interesting options with him/her.
Finally, in heavily trafficked areas (Iceland, in particular), 90% of the trip will be off the beaten path. There are loads of operators who will gladly squeeze you into a tour of the Golden Circle with a million (literally) other tourists. We’ll be elswhere 😉
(2) In every location, photography will be 60% of the subject but we’ll also focus on a secondary interest that’s typical of the area and important to fully experience it. First of all, this means there’s more to do if the weather doesn’t cooperate. And, secondly, we believe that blending in with the local culture inevitably leads to better photography.
(3) Some transformational experience included. Whether it’s working with a model, learning about lighting, practising composition, … we want every meetup to contain some small out-of-the-comfort-zone experience for most participants. There will be no “look at how I do it”, but at least one half-day of trying something new.
(4) We’ll keep the numbers low. 8 participants max. Small groups are more nimble, less intrusive, have better inner interactions, …
And, one last thing …
(5) We’ll co-create each and every trip with participants in advance. Not that we can guarantee to satisfy all the various desires expressed, but we will systematically ask to hear from everyone, and will organise discussions between groups members before setting anything in stone.
Price : we’ll aim for real quality at a reasonable price. Authenticity over globalized luxury. Security, taste and options. That means expensive, in real terms. No spit-and-sawdust hotel, no second-rate model, no frozen burgers. As much fun and photography as can be condensed in to 3 – 5 days.
How does that sound to you ?
So here’s our answer to the questions we’ve been receiving. If that works for you, that’s really great 🙂 🙂 🙂
But it will only happen if YOU take action NOW. Let us know if you’re OK with the idea. Tell us about anything you’d like to add or disagree about. If you know of anyone who can be interested in that formula, please share. Below 6 people, we’re non starters. Let us know which destinations you’re most interested in visiting / photographing. Let’s talk and get cracking.
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