The Spring photo workshop in Saint Paul de Vence is cancelled. It’s sad, it’s unfortunate, but there will be others, if you want them. Other workshops, and other resources and opportunities to have fun and get together. This is what this post is about.
First things first: the Layer cake workshop is canceled. I didn’t quite reach the 10 participant number that would have made this safely profitable, so there is no other choice but to cancel. There was a lot of interest up to when firm dates were announced, but then, the chosen schedule collided with too many other commitments and we lost 4 participants. Two more came along after the second post but we are still 3 short.
So, I’m really sorry for all those that had expressed firm interest but I can’t go to all that effort and lose money at the same time. That would feel too much like work.
Is it postponed? Nope. The parting of the clouds that allowed me to secure the 3 experts has now closed and that means starting from scratch for another date, other experts and possibly another formula.
What I realize is that timing these things is difficult. Ming Thein and I have been discussing this quite a bit and he has far more experience than me. Announce too late and people have committed to other stuff. Announce too early and you get loads of cancellations. It seems the sweet spot is around the 6-month mark.
Hence this post.
Remember I’m French. Historically, we crumble easy and quick, but display that pesky, unshakable, stubbornness to resist evil forces right to their end 😉 (Also, to be honest, I’m not in it for the money, so it kind of doesn’t matter …)
So, here’s the plan.
To my eyes, there are 3 pillars to a profitable experience of outdoor photography :
My goal is to create resources along the lines of these 3 pillars. Resources such as blog posts, interviews, articles, possibly ebooks, online training and workshops. Each with a higher level of work and financial commitment, but with as many levels as possible accessible to readers who can’t/don’t want to spend big time, or to dig deep into introspection, just wanting to have some fun.
This structure and process has started (you can see it on the homepage, for example) and will continue for as long as it generates interest. This post is one major opportunity for you to tell me whether that’s something you’re interested in or not. Please don’t spare me, it would be a lot harder to do the work and find out later that no one cares 😉
Let’s start with workshops. My (overly ambitious ?) goal is to offer one workshop for each pillar every year. The Layer Cake workshop, for instance, was very firmly in the intent category. It was all about providing participants with access to curators of the highest order, and usually restricted to high-profile artists, and let them help you understand the underlying themes in your photography and give you a work program to enhance and formalize that vision over the months following the workshop. The promise here was deep transformation.
Ain’t happening, but I have other ideas and other contacts for Spring 2021.
Two other workshops, one for each other pillar, are being planned for 2020:
Of course, all 3 pillars are interrelated as the first is pointless without practical application, all photography is pointless without the production of a beautiful artefact and making the most of a location is very difficult without some understanding of our motivations and how to manifest them in our photographs.
And, as always, the focus is on experience, so food and culture play an important role in any of these events. And, even in non-location workshops, some measure of casual photography will always be included for the pleasure of shooting together, out of work hours.
Where’s does this lead us?
In a cycle. You work on yourself, you hone your technique and the tire meets the road in a location, a situation. Then you evaluate your work, alone or with the help of others, and you work on yourself, hone your technique and …
Only, it’s not really a cycle. Otherwise we’d all be endlessly walking in the same tracks, like horses powering a mill.
It’s really a spiral, growing with the energy you put into it, or sinking to the middle with the energy you give away to manufacturers and social media. The spiral sees us all end up at different places, based on same core principles and personal desires. That’s how it should be 🙂
I will continue to research and offer great opportunities such as those, because that’s what I believe in. It’s up to you to let me know whether you are interested in that or not.
And to bring friends along, if you are.
This time, hopefully, past mistakes won’t be repeated. I’m writing this well in advance to :
(1) Let you clear your schedule if you’re interested in a specific topic/date.
(2) Let me know if there’s something specific you’d like to do/learn/see on that occasion.
(3) Let me know what exact dates work for you, so that it’s possible to accommodate as many as possible, well in advance.
We’ll build those together. I set a general topic and date, you give me feedback and the plan gets more and more precise until we get to the 6-month point at which reservations are made.
Pricing. At Paris Photo, someone told me I made a huge mistake with pricing of the Layer Cake. Instead of pricing it at 3.5k€ for 10 participants, pricing it at 8k€ for 6 would have given it a polish of luxury and sold in 2 days, with me making a killing in the process. Apparently, very expensive and very cheap workshops sell far better than others. A bit cynical, but possibly true.
I won’t design to cost and I won’t overcharge. You’re all adults. If you don’t value a workshop because it is affordable, well, what can I say? All I want is to make sure I’m not in the red at the end of the event and that won’t change. Any profits will help DS grow and will enable me to spend more time doing just that. If that means the workshops don’t sell, be it. Thankfully, this is not how I have to make a living 😉
Whatever the path taken, photography only ends one way: prints. Photography is drawing with light. No print, no photography. Only pixel peeping. They’ve been a long time coming, but the galleries first talked of during the pwintshop discussions (a year ago, ahem) are now a reality. Your feedback helped a lot, so thank you so much!
At the time, you told me various things, among which :
So, let me introduce Phr.
Yeah, you heard me: Phr! Some kids hate their parents for giving them stupid names. Trust me, Phr understands 😉
But, c’mon, I had to find a name … Mayphair was nice, because Mayfair is where lots of galleries are located in London. But … meh.
Photographic Art would have compressed nicely into something UK kids would have laughed at all day long. And it was too pretentious in scope.
Phr stands for fair and photography. It’s pronounced fair, by the way. It’s short, it’s meaningful and it’s memorable. Good ’nuff for me 😉 It’s fair as in:
So, Phr Galleries are now open, albeit in very minimal form with only my own gallery as a demonstrator. Other photographers have expressed their interest in sharing their work there and will be sending their photographs over the next few weeks.
Phr really brings a big smile to my face. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long while, and your feedback has made it possible and good. It makes sense on many levels :
If you’re interested in publishing some photographs on Phr, just send me an email via the contact form. If you’re interested in buying or swapping, ditto, using the Contact button on gallery pages.
If you have feedback for me, it is so very welcome! Same procedure. Let’s make this profitable for all of us, and I well know I can’t to that alone.
And, even if you don’t want to get involved, please share with your friends if you feel the project is worth sharing. Sharing is the only way you can make this grow, if you care about it. I’m not spending a cent in advertising to Alphabook or Facebet. Nor will I engage in waterboarding direct marketing techniques (“Do you want to remain a slave to the system all or your life or thrive as a world famous artist? You know you deserve to. Here’s my personal story. Here’s a million testimonials. Here’s a one time incredible offer that you’ll hate yourself forever for not taking up. Act now, tick tick tick” 😉 😉 😉 ) You’re all grown ups and know what you want. Comments, however pleasant for me, don’t cut it when it comes to actual website growth.
So, if you care, share. It’s only Phr 😉
Enough from me for now. Tell me what you think. At this point, I’m just looking for general feedback, suggestions, ideas, objections. I’ll get into more precise descriptions as plans become more delineated and firmer, in the coming weeks.
So, if you’d like to register your interest for one of the coming workshops or for exhibiting your work on Phr, or just need more info, or want to buy/swap, or …, just leave a comment or drop me a line in the contact page.
Be seeing you 🙂
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