Willoughby_VisualConverstions

By Olaf Willoughby

“A Visual Conversation sets up a rhythm, a pattern of communicating in which images fit with one another, with a chosen text, a piece of music or artwork of any kind. It helps develop our voice and vision.

Working through a series of Visual Conversations, each becomes a stepping stone which exercises the creative muscles and takes us beyond our regular shooting routines.

Visual Conversations work so well because they are based on the centuries old principle of ‘call and response’. A tradition of improvised exchange evident in everything from Hindu spiritual chants to modern day blues/gospel and jazz. From Japanese Renga linked poetry circles to folded paper stories.

How does this work in practice? I select an image which resonates, share it with you and ask you to shoot an image which rhymes, fits or starts a conversation with the original. Pretty straightforward, although there are systematic approaches to doing this. And still more ways of building that into a dialogue.

Now what if I select a painting by Rothko, or a poem by Edgar Allen Poe or Roberta Flack singing, ‘The first time ever I saw your face’? It’s a little more difficult. It requires more intense study and understanding of the original work of art to interpret it photographically. It stretches our minds to think about art in new ways.

Or how about if we develop the conversation into a narrative through storytelling? There are multiple permutations leading into other exercises…. I’m sure you get the idea. Add into this group discussion and feedback and it becomes an exciting learning experience. Each call and response takes us out of our routine and asks us to think differently about our photography.

But that’s not all. What makes this special is that your creativity can be extended beyond assignments into the process itself. As you’d expect, some Conversations involve working solo but others take ‘the road less travelled’ and involve working together on shared projects.

There is a spectrum of co-operation in the arts. Whilst some prefer to write books alone in coffee shops, others operate in collectives. Some partner up at different stages in the production process (choreographer/dancer, author/editor) and some of the most famous simply collaborate. Think Lennon & McCartney, Picasso & Braque. Look around. Every movie, play, symphony, rock ballad, even architectural space and garden involves artists working together. Yet collaboration is rare in photography. There are examples like Bernd & Hilla Becher or today, the Starn Twins but they are few and far between.

Occasionally we catch a glimpse of the collaborative spirit in photo workshops. At the end of the day, participants gather to share their solo work and you can feel the buzz in the air as people are amazed at the different ways of seeing and shooting, even though they were often at the same location.

Sharing projects captures that buzz and helps us let go of the need to control. We both give and receive in creative decision making and come to see our own work in a different light.

I’ve experienced the benefits of Visual Conversations and collaborative projects first hand. They are fun but clearing the creative blocks arising from routine ways of working can be challenging.Expect to be jolted. But also expect to benefit from taking a different approach to your photography and returning to your personal work refreshed and enhanced.

I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with Eileen McCarney Muldoon, a talented photographic artist in Jamestown, Rhode Island. We’ve captured that creative buzz and put it into a workshop. We’d be delighted if you would check it out. Even better, the course includes complimentary access to Leica equipment.

Plus a guest appearance during the week from a world renowned digital artist. I’ll leave you to guess who that might be!”

For more information contact: olafwilloughby@gmail.com or emmimageloft@gmail.com

Recently I got “Discovered”. I awoke one morning to 3 emails all from strangers. The Huffington Post, UK SWNS and the UK Hot Spot Media. They were all wanting the work that I had published on the Adobe Behance website called “Greenland Reflections”. I had published several images from my trip to Greenland in 2012 as I was preparing for my return trip in 2013. I wanted to see what was working and what was missing so that I could more fully flush out a body of work. Well a blogger found me and posted my work on My Modern Met that got noticed.

This would not have happened if not for two key events. Since I began this journey in 2010 I have been working extremely hard on my vision and my mechanics. John Paul has been there on so many occasions to feed my imagination. To coach me and then to set me on my own path. There has been a lot of help freely given by the Next Step group over the years. In person, from the website and over emails. The group is so diverse in their own visions and mechanics that it allowed me to dream. To dream bigger than I ever thought I could.

The second event is sharing. You have to share your work to some degree to get noticed. I’m using Behance, Google+, Facebook and more recently Dropr. I generally only post images on Google+ and then post a link to that on my Facebook feed. You need to put your work out there for people to find. There is of course the downside to sharing as well. But you have to just take the risk and get yourself out there.

I have been trying to write something to accompany the images that I post. It generally has to have a theme that the image pairs well with. I think that sharing your thoughts along with your vision makes the work somehow more personal, more intimate, more intriguing. I think that it allows the audience to connect with me on some level.
In summary – Dream big, really Big. Then work hard to get there. Then allow your work to be seen. Allow yourself to be known.

Learn more about Michael and see more of his work here.

Collaborative Creativity – Olaf Willoughby

March 31, 2014 | Comments Off |

Why don’t photographers collaborate more often?

Collaboration is how we get through the day. Most of us have some kind of interactive support; from partners, teachers, friends and family. It is also commonplace in science and the arts. From Marie & Pierre Curie through Rogers and Hammerstein to Picasso & Braque inventing Cubism. Andy Goldsworthy even enlists the land as his partner.

Read more

Alumni Kathy Beal has opened her own signature line of fine art silk scarves featuring her own images. Her online store is now open for business!

From http://kathybealsignature.com/

“I’m thrilled to announce that Kathy Beal Signature™ fine art silk scarves is now open for business.  You’ll find three collections for 2013 plus a special edition scarf.  The Summer Collection features designs in peaches, lavender and sage and are printed on soft silk Georgette.  The Fall Collection has warm and wonderful fall colors, and the Winter Collection features sparkling jewel tones.  Both the Fall and Winter Collections are luxurious silk crepe de chine.

Every year I will design a Special Edition Scarf dedicated to a worthy cause.  This year’s design is dedicated to women’s breast cancer research, and 10% of the proceeds will be donated to this cause.

There are two options for shipping; USPS Priority Mail is free (yes, free!) and delivery is within 2-3 days.  Overnight Federal Express is $35.

And if you make a purchase before the end of November 2013, you may use the coupon code of F&F2013 for an introductory, friends and family discount of 15%.

Your comments are always welcome, so please send me an email (kathy@kathybealsignature.com) with your comments and suggestions.”

 

 

OnStage Magazine is proud to announce that veteran tour manager/photographer Harry Sandler has come on board as our Director of Photography. Harry brings a wealth of musical history to the table, and we are certain that this partnership will help us develop the magazine in new and exciting ways. Harry plans to contribute both published and unpublished photos from his time in New York during the late 60’s early 70’s right up to the present day. Together with our writers, he will also recount his experiences working with some of the top talent in the music industry.

Read more at onstagemagazine.com

Feedback on work produced during a workshop is an important part of each learning experience. Useful feedback usually starts with identifying core strengths before a discussion about how to improve (no matter how successful images are) and identifying possible next steps.

Here’s a collection of participant images from our Antarctica Crossing The Circle 2013 Voyage and a quick note about each image’s core strengths.

Ginette Vachon presents peak action in a way that elicits empathy

Cathrine Spikkerud enlivens an other-worldy stage with quiet understated action

Nancy Leigh animates an already dramatic stage with an energetic gesture

Marilynn Nance uses rhythm and perspective to make an historic building even more interesting

Robert Pettit use repetition to create a play between balance and imbalance

Fusako Hara explores the transitions between realism and abstraction

Benoit Feron uses line and texture to reveal natural processes

Jodie Willard uses opaque layers a strongly felt sense of space through design

Karin Pettit use transparent layers to portray depth

Norm Larson uses abstraction to portray not just an external reality but also to suggest an internal state

Celie Placzek uses number and proximity to suggest community

Jim Brewster uses negative space to highlight important figures amid chaos

Dennis Lenehan uses mass and volume to create dramatic contrasts

Geir Morten Skeie employs a delicate palette to create a transcendant mood for a monolithic structure

Joelle Rokovich expresses contrasts in scale to express size and distance with a minimalist efficiency

Find out about our 2014 Fly Antarctica Sail Across The Circle Voyage here.

Only 9 spaces are left.

 Charlotte Bailey

Here are a few images from Digital Photo Destinations 2012 Arctic Voyage.

View more alumni images from our Iceland 2012 Adventure.

Seth Resnick, Arthur Meyerson, Ragnar Th Sigurdsson and I had a great time with a fantastic group of people while photographing three arctic islands this month – Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland. Polar bears, reindeer, walrus, whales, and countless birds populated the diverse and historic arctic landscapes we passed through. Cryophilia (love of ice) set in when we entered one of the largest fjord systems in the world – Scorsbysund, Greenland. We’re all excited to return to Greenland and see more, which already we’ve begun plans for.

There’s limited space left in our Antarctica 2013 Voyage.

We’ll be announcing our Iceland Northern Lights 2013 workshop soon.

If you’d like to join us for a future adventure / voyage email jpc@digitalphotodestinations.com.

Linda Sandow

Olaf Willoughby

Michael Quinn

Evan Anderman

Danielle Vick

Campbell Gunn

Barbara Ventura

Jed Best

Jim Brewster

Cathrine Spikkerud

Charles Kleiman

Geir Morten Skeie

Charlotte Bailey

Paul Tornaquindici

Bob Peterson

Kathy Beal

Read more

Here are a few more alumni images from Digital Photo Destinations / Focus On Nature’s 2012 Iceland Adventure.

Seth Resnick and I had a great time with a great group of people in Iceland last week. We visited old favorites (Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Jokulsarlon, Rekjanes) and some new favorites (Snaefellsnes, Landmanalaugar). 4-Wheel drives to the highlands, Zodiac cruises, and glacier walks took it up a notch. Every one of us learned a lot and improved our photography.

We’re now planning a northern lights, super-jeep, and ice cave adventure.

Be the first to hear about our March 2013 Iceland workshop.

Email jpc@digitalphotodestinations.com.

Yves Perrault

Charlotte Bailey Rush

Duane Miller

Kathy Beal

David Cho Yee Young

Graham Smith

Richard Moreau

Olaf Willoughby

Carla DeDominicis

Michael J Quinn

Michael McGinnis

Here are a few first alumni images from Digital Photo Destinations / Focus On Nature’s 2012 Iceland Adventure. I can’t wait to see what they make by the end of the week!

Seth Resnick and I have been having a great time with a great group of people in Iceland this week. We visited old favorites (Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Jokulsarlon, Rekjanes) and some new favorites (Snaefellsnes, Landmanalaugar). 4-Wheel drives to the highlands, Zodiac cruises, and glacier walks took it up a notch.

We’re planning an aurora and ice cave adventure now.

Be the first to hear about our 2013 Iceland workshop.

Email jpc@digitalphotodestinations.com.

Yves Perreault

Richard Moreau

Duane Miller

Carla DeDominicis

Michael McGinnis

Olaf Willoughby

Charlotte Bailey Rush

David Cho Yee Young

Kathy Beal

Get 10% off all Dane Creek products with this code is INSIGHTS.

Looking for a simple, affordable, yet elegant solution to presenting a set of your loose prints? Neil Enns of Dane Creek has a solution.

“Dane Creek Folio Covers provide an elegant and inexpensive way to package your favorite images. They are great for fine art photographs, wedding packages, and gifts for friends and family.

Dane Creek Folios began in the spring of 2009 when we couldn’t find an existing source for folio covers after seeing Brooks Jensen talk about them in LensWork magazine. We started out with a single color: charcoal. As our customer base grew we listened to their requests to expand the range of color options. Eclipse Black, Haute Red, Chocolate Truffle, Natural White, and Midnight Blue joined the original Charcoal line. Our covers are designed to hold 10 sheets of high-quality 8.5×11″ photo paper. Each cover comes with a piece of matboard to add stiffness and finish the inside, as well as a clear plastic bag to protect your completed folio.”  -  Neil Enns

Find out more about Dane Creek here.

Learn more about Neil here.

(Neil is also a member of my Next Step Alumni.)


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