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

American Premiere of Ken Carl´s Photography Exhibit: Joy Possible With Special Guest Jo McGowan, Executive Director of the Latika Roy Foundation.

“In India people with disabilities, who constitute almost four to eight percent of the population are still fighting to get equal access to healthcare, education, employment and inclusion in society. Despite the magnitude of the issue, both awareness of and scientific information on disability issues are lacking.”

Award-winning freelance photographer Ken Carl will be displaying various photographs from a spiritually-altering trip to India where he was sent to capture the essence of the Latika Roy Foundation, a resource center for children and young adults with special needs. Calumet Photographic, 1111 N. Cherry Ave., will host the display from May 9 to June 2, 2013, and all images will be printed by fotoflōt.

Through an opportunity with Momenta, an international journalistic based organization focused on creating unique opportunities for photographers and non-governmental organizations throughout the world, Carl’s goal was to expand his knowledge and horizon, capturing a glimpse of life in a part of the world with which he wasn’t familiar. In the end, Carl obtained much more of this venture.

Regardless of Carl’s years of experience and expertise, the project came with challenges. “After two days I just felt a sense of failure and it was really hard,” said Carl. Going through the initial photographs, Carl didn’t feel as though he was capturing what was necessary. “I thought, ‘I’ve been given this amazing opportunity and I can’t get an image out of it.’”

With that, Carl took advantage of the days he had left. Along with integrating himself even more at the foundation, he asked for permission from the executive director of Latika Roy Jo McGowan to visit students at home and photograph them along with their families.

During his visits, Carl was able to capture nothing short of amazingly true images that exhibited the struggles and realities of families with their special needs children.

“These children have disabilities yet that fact is not a barrier to being a positive light,” said Carl. “The human spirit can never be disabled.”

Two years later, with photographs full of color, emotion and joy, Carl is ready to give people outside of India insight into the school in Dehradun and bring awareness of those with special needs.

“This trip brought and heightened awareness in my photography,” he said. “I want to share the message that joy is possible through sharing, caring and treating each other well.”

Dates of Exhibition: May 9, 2013 – June 2, 2013
Reception: May 9, 2013 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Location: Calumet Photographic Chicago, 1111 North Cherry Ave.

Information on the event can also be found on Facebook.

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.

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

 

My new free screensaver features images and facts on Antarctica.

Download it here.

Antarctica is stunningly beautiful! Explorer Roald Amundsen said, “The land looks like a fairytale.” The coldest, windiest, driest, highest, most isolated continent contains 90% of earth’s ice and 70% of its fresh water, regulating global climate and sea levels.

Learn more about Antarctica here.

Preview my book Antarctica here.

View my Antarctica alumni’s work here.

Find out about my 2013 Antarctica workshop in the Wedell Sea.

Our Antarctic alumni have produced some pretty impressive images and done some very fine things with them!

Find out about their images, projects, and stories in this series of posts.

Next Step Alumni 2011 by Daspit, Gill, Bailey, Beal, Caponigro |

.
Renaissance Fine Art & Design Gallery and John Paul Caponigro’s Next Step Alumni present a beautiful collection of their work May 20 – June 24, 2011. You are cordially invited to view this diverse work at the Renaissance Fine Art & Design Gallery, One South Range Line Road Carmel, IN. The opening for the exhibit will be Friday, May 20 at 5 pm. Many alumni will be on hand to discuss their work personally with you.

The exhibit and book contain the work of 22 artists, all from John Paul’s Next Step Alumni group, who met the rigorous criteria for the exhibition: each artist produced a cohesive body of work, an artist’s statement, a biography, a book, and a website.

The work, as diverse as the individuals, includes journalism, editorial, still life, floral, nude, landscape and abstraction, and is bound together by their community, their creativity, and the fearlessness in their search of their individual next steps.

View the exhibit catalog above.

Find out more about the exhibit here.

Find individual member’s books here.

Find out more about my Next Step Alumni here.

 

Hagedorn Foundation Gallery presents, “People & Nature”

Photographed at the iconic Stone Mountain, Santiago Vanegas produces a body of work unlike anything he’s done before over twelve year long career. In this series, he explores the intriguing and sometimes odd relationship between people & nature. His photography explores the sharp lines and inorganic colors of manufactured objects conflicting with the natural landscape. The people in his images, although very “normal”, appear outlandishly misplaced. Through his vision, we witness a reality that in nothing short of surreal. Santiago’s People & Nature asks the viewer how and why we relate to nature at a time when our planet is increasingly begging for mercy from our environmental irresponsibility.

October 28 – November 30, 2010
Opening Reception: October 28, 2010, 5:00 to 8:00 pm, with Artist talk at 7:30 pm
Get more intformation at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery.
Visit Santiago’s website here.

KenCarl_DeeplyRooted

Preview workshop alumni Ken Carl’s new book Deeply Rooted here.


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