Back to Our Roots - Creativity, Art and Analogue

Event Date/Time:
May 6, 2021 9:00am - 4:00pm

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Frequently Asked Questions


It is said that art happens when something that we feels motivates us to want to share that feeling with others. The artist then executes certain techniques in order to share that feeling and once presented, the evocation of emotion in others makes the creation art. Psychologist Carl Jung and his associates discovered that through symbolism, form and rules, art is a language for communication of emotion inherent in all human beings.   How each of us sees and responds to the world using the language of art reflects our individual creativity and style. Things like leading lines and rule of thirds didn't just happen by accident--they are part of the fundamental way that human beings communicate visually with each other. As Parker Pfister says, "Your creative process, is everyone else's Alternative Process."   This hands-on workshop will playfully explore creativity--why and how we create--through the rules, symbols, syntax and vocabulary of art and how we might step out of our digital boxes play just a little bit with some old-fashioned and new-fangled "alternative" and "analogue" ways of creative photographic imagery. (Hint: did you get the memo, FILM IS NOT DEAD!).

Course Items

Digital camera and an Analogue ("Film") camera and a roll of film (or two) if you have one (a limited number of film cameras and some film will be available). A light meter/light meter app if you have one. A laptop computer with editing software (some examples with be demonstrated with Photoshop and Topaz and ON1 plugins); note-taking materials. Bring along any other analogue equipment (changing bag, developing tanks, cameras, light meters, etc.) that you would like some extra practice/guidance using. Participants are strongly encouraged to own and bring with them copies of Ansel Adams’ The Camera and The Negative?

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect from this workshop?
FUN! And maybe a little bit of useless and a lot of practical learning about how to become more creative in your work and in your life!

Is this class just for photographers?
This workshop is for artists interested in expanding their creativity and will cover topics including the creative process, getting past mental blocks, and practical things you can do to change things up and become more creative. It is definitely NOT just for photographers, although, since that is my medium, I will be teaching from a photographer’s perspective.

Is this workshop just for people who want to learn film?
One of the important ideas of improving your creativity is DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Whether it’s “just an iPhone” or full kit of gear, most of us are shooting digitally today, so, shooting a little film is WAY different than what we’re used to. But film is just one of the tools that we will be using and there will be a lot of discussion about things you can do differently with your digital camera.

But what if I’m not interested in learning film?
Not to worry! It’s just for part of a day. The thing about using film as a learning tool is, it is visceral and tangible, which experts say stimulates better learning/retention than ethereal in-your-head abstract constructs. When was the last time you sat through a full day of Photoshop and found your head swimming? Give it a break—let your hands do the learning for you for a day!

And here’s the thing: EVERYTHING we do with digital cameras is in one way or another based on the work done in past 200 years of chemistry-based photography. So NOTHING you pick up from this workshop will be truly wasted, and it may help you become a better digital photographer.

What’s this business of “Back to Our Roots” and Analogue?
Recently, I was in a Target store and happened to notice a full end-cap in the music department stocked with vinyl LP’s. There must have been at least 15 or 20 titles from some serious artists. These artists know that everything new is not always best, and that there is a resurgence in tried and true methods of delivering creative content.

What if I don’t have a film camera?
Not to worry—I have had a series of very generous donations of both film and film cameras so we will have plenty of both to do the exercises that I have planned.

Are you shooting film in your business?
Yep! One of the things I didn’t mention about those vinyl LP’s was that each was was selling for over $30! I remember when you could go down to Turtles on Peachtree Street and by a new album for $6.99, and there was a bargain bin for a lot less!

Not only are people embracing “old-school,” they are willing to pay a premium for it. So my personal “Covid Pivot” has been to go back to what made me fall in love with photography in the first place—film! Sure, the workflow is harder and takes longer, but, particularly for portraiture, there are certain qualities about film that digital really can’t match (and the proliferation of tools to make-your-photos-look-like-film proves that!). So my big-bet for my business is that I can separate myself from the thousands of other photographers in Atlanta by providing a premium portrait service based on good film photography.

What do I need to do to prepare for this workshop?
First and foremost is to recognize that creativity is something that you must cultivate and make grow, or just like a garden, it will suffer badly from neglect. This workshop will offer you a starting place, so all you really need to have is willingness and openness to try some new things.

What should I bring?
Besides an open mind and a brown-bag lunch, you should bring along your digital camera and an analogue ("Film") camera if you have one and want to play with it. A light meter/light meter app if you have one and want to learn a little bit of how to use it is good. You can bring a laptop computer with editing software if you want. Bring note-taking materials. Bring along any other analogue equipment (changing bag, developing tanks, cameras, light meters, etc.) that you would like some extra practice/guidance using.

Participants are strongly encouraged to own and bring with them copies of Ansel Adams’ The Camera and The Negative. These two books, from the master of photography art and technology, are invaluable tools for mastering photography. And nearly all of the material is as relevant for digital photography as it is for the film photography upon which they were based.