#897. Monday Post (2 Sept 2019) – Ambitious workshop project, new resources and new galleries

By pascaljappy | Art & Creativity

Sep 02

We hosted Ze Workshop over 3 years ago and generally found it fun, stimulating and an experience to renew. An opportunity to do something new has recently surfaced that I’d like to discuss with you as early as possible, as early booking is required. A masterclass workshop like no other I know of.

Looking back.

The projected workshop supports my desire to reorient DS in a more art-centric direction (we’ll still talk about gear, news, and locations, because it’s fun, but will add more actual art to the mix). It would consist of 3 prongs :

  1. Shooting and reviewing work with artists. And I don’t mean uncle Bob who has a pic hanging in the local grocery but artists with work in galleries, corporate collections, private collections and museums. This is to unlock the personal in our photography, to move away from the postcard shot into the meaningful photographs that connect with others.
  2. Editing and curating with a professional curators with prestigious portfolios and exhibitions under their belts (possibly collecotrs, as well). This is to learn to eliminate ruthlessly and with logic to create a real portfolio of our work. Also how to title work, decide of edition numbers …
  3. Printing with master printers. If you’ve seen exhibitions that tour the world, it’s hard to be satisfied with the output of an entry-level inkjet printer using third-party inks and cheap plastic paper. A really good print transforms your photograph into a precious object and we’ll learn how to do that.
Spiral jungle.

This “tourist to artist” workshop will probably take place over 5 days in the South of France, possibly Saint Paul de Vence (near Nice) but alternatives are possible if that suits more people. This being DearSusan, a strong focus on fine gastronomy will be part of the deal as well. Predicted dates: early spring 2020. If all goes well, another workshop will take place somewhere else in autumn 2020 (Japan is being investigated).

Unlike walkabout workshops where you follow a leader and mimic her/his style, this will be a transformative experience because it will expose you to expertise and a form of reasoning you have probably not been in contact with previously, and will focus on you, your photographic interests and how to make them more clear in your mind and how to let them direct your photography more powerfully. None of the professionals present will be there to beef up their own portfolios, all will be payed to mentor participants individually.

I’ll give more details as the various personalities confirm their presence, but it would help to know if there is interest ahead of that. To make this financially viable, 10 participants are required. First come, first served.

No computer

How much will this cost?

Mentorship of this calibre doesn’t come cheap, obviously. But we’re working with (very nice) hotels / restaurants that need the off-season traffic and doing everything we can to eliminate all costs that do not go towards the quality of the experience.

I’m expecting the price to be around 3500-4000€ for the 5 days. Not money to sneeze at but still cheap compared to some other workshops that take you to exotic locations but teach you very little, and virtually free compared to a university degree that would bring you in contact with that level of expertise.

This workshop is about permanent transformation. About making photographs that matter to you and to others. You won’t just bring back mementos but an increased ability to create more wherever you go.


Before the workshop, a series of preparatory resources will be published (for all readers, participant or not) and for free, to make the most of the occasion.

Courses are on their way. The first two being about composition (in photography, which is not painting, and not the usual rule of third litany) and an approach to pricing your own prints. More will follow, particularly if the workshop is a success.

New resources are already online. If you’ve not yet seen them, here’s a quick list:

I hope you enjoy them and feel like contributing information of your own to make those resources more useful for all of us.

Also, the galleries we’ve been working on are almost ready to launch. Stay tuned πŸ™‚

Cat and mouse

Let me end this with a question and a request: would you be interested in the workshop at those dates, that location, that price point? I need 10 participants. It’s 10 or zero.

So my request is: can you share this information? If you have friends who might be interested, can you let them know? Can you inform buddies on forums and other blogs? I’ll spread to word but won’t go spamming other people’s websites with ads for my own. I have access to those experts whether the workshop happens or not. If you’d like yourself or others to be able to as well, all you have to do is apply or share. Can we make this happen together? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


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  • Pavel Bochman says:

    Sounds very interesting.

  • Andreas says:

    Brilliant idea. I really hope it will work out and I would love to go (and I know the venue, it’s wonderful) but the opportunity cost? it’s about the same as a used X1D on ebay, -and frankly the value proposal of the hassy is a more certain one at this point in my β€˜career’. Unless of course, you can get Nick Brandt and Salgado to come…
    So, I’m on the fence on this one.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Ah, that’s the eternal problem πŸ˜‰ I understand your reasoning, particularly when it comes to an X1D. Unlike 99% of the digital cameras on sale today, this too will stay with you for a long time.

      No Nick Brandt or Salgado, sorry. I’d have to triple the price, or more πŸ˜‰ Besides, there are 2 other reasons. One is that I don’t want environmental artists. Their cause is excellent but too universal for the purpose of the workshop. And being famous doesn’t mean having the right psychology to be a good mentor. I’m looking for youg artists with an experience of galleries and museums but a very personal approach and the eagerness to find that approach in others. Fame can’t do that. You need to be in the process yourself.


      • Andreas Aae says:

        You are quite right about the two celebrities. But, this made me think about whether a photograph also carries some ‘artistic metadata’: Refer to your Kahn interview with her statement that 99% of all artists work in projects, -plan ahead. Thus a project must have a mission statement, -which is exactly what Brandt and Salgado do.
        (Though I am not sure that this accounts for all genres. How about street? Did HCB plan ahead ? Certainly, within a few minutes of a shot, to arrive at the decisive moment, but otherwise? Not so sure, seems to me that he let himself be carried by circumstance to a large degree)

        • pascaljappy says:

          Hi Andreas, I don’t mean that Brandt or Salgado are inferior artists because they work on environmental subject. Only that people attending the workshop will probably benefit more from less iconic artists that are doing more “personal” work.

          HCB had one life project, I guess. And the work he did prior to shooting is unknown to me. He probably read a lot, had interested in many other topics than photography. I’m not sure he’s very representative of the art world today, but he’s still super interesting. What I want for the workshop is mentors who are able to help participants get a grip on what it is that motivates them to shoot, what makes their photography personal. I need people who have bbeen through this questioning and have mastered it well enough to be recognised by large institutions and have the psychological skills to help others through the same process in just a few days. No easy task πŸ™‚

  • Pascal, excellent idea, but the wrong year make it Spring 2021 and I’m in.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Oh boy, you chose the wrong year to defect France Dallas πŸ˜€

      If this sells out, I’ll do two a year. One in Europe and one outside Europe. We’ll see πŸ™‚

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Re.: DearSusan “New resources”

    Thanks Pascal for some new good reads!
    I’m eagerly anticipating the rest, … and more…
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    “What is art?”
    I do like your interpretation!
    Here is another aspect: “Disciplined love”?
    ( .. and the classic one: “If it survives time..”, but too much art has drowned – and sometimes resurfaced – because of changing fashion and prejudice.)
    – – –

    Re.: Articles about composition.
    Perhaps also a list of links, e.g. to some of Ming Thein’s articles on that and on essentials – and philosophy – in photography?
    ( I’d.be happy to suggest a few.)
    [ Some are elementary and some more advanced. (He is now republishing a few.) And perhaps he’ll make a separate category in his archive for those?]
    I’ve also occasionally seen good essential articles on PhotographyLife.com.
    – – –

    A couple of ideas on Print Exchanges:

  • Michael Fleischer says:

    This premise resonates like a great idea, becoming a photographic butterfly through skilfull assisted 3-way transformation…;-). Unfortunately, my budget for the next year is already pretty tightly
    planed, although the price seems very reasonable. Yep, I will definitely have to look into this again!
    Hope the project becomes a reality!

    Best wishes for the project –
    and those hopefully participating.


    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you for the kind words, Michael. I understand budget issues and am looking at ways to distill some of the interesting information to those who can’t make it to the workshop. I hate the idea that money should make a difference.

  • Chris Stump says:

    Hi Pascal,
    I love this idea, applaud it, and heartily congratulate anyone who can attend.
    With a 3yr old at home, and another on the way, this is not going to happen for me anytime soon. Regretfully. πŸ™‚
    All the best,

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you Chris? I totally understand and am investigating much cheaper/easier ways to get some of the benefit from the workshop without attending. More soon, I hope πŸ™‚

      All the best, Pascal

  • Johannes HΓΌttner says:

    Sounds like it will be an awesome experience. I would love to be there not only for the photographic adventure but also the culinary one. Count me in if a slot is available and the date does not collide with my travel plans to Patagonia in March 2020.

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