When urological surgeon Jacek Mostwin first came to us as a workshop participant back in 1990, he knew that he would improve his photography. At the time, he used his camera to record details of operations and surgical procedures. What he didn’t know was that those early workshops would eventually lead him to see his patients and medical colleagues in an entirely new light, and transform the way he practices medicine.

Mostwin began taking photography workshops as a way to creatively express and understand the complex emotions that are an inevitable component of caring for patients. Over the course of a decade, he built a foundation of photographic skills that allowed him to capture moments of fragile vulnerability and tender compassion. Eventually he learned to use those seeing skills without a camera. “I learned to be a participant and an observer at the same time,” says Mostwin. “When I’m just working, without a camera, I’m aware of the dynamics and the choreography of the scene. It’s an unusual experience, and has made me very sensitive to subtle moments of expression and communication with others. It has also made me appreciate my colleagues in medicine and nursing all the more. When they work well, they’re doing something really beautiful for other people.”

Seeking to add even greater depth to his work, Mostwin joined our MFA program. Expecting to concentrate exclusively on images, he soon discovered that even deeper connections were waiting to be revealed. “I learned a great deal about the creative process—understanding it, nurturing it, listening to it. I learned to be patient, and I learned the differences between inspiration, craftsmanship, vision, and discipline,” says Mostwin. “Halfway through the program, I began writing about the photographs, and discovered a wonderful synergy between word and image. All of us have loved stories since we were children. It is a fundamental structure of how we think and transmit values that are really important to us.”

After receiving his MFA degree in 2004, Mostwin sought to share his insight with others. He currently teaches The Human Side of Medicine here at Maine Media, a workshop for photographers, filmmakers, and health care professionals interested in seeing medicine and illness from a more personal perspective. ­He will also be presenting at The Examined Life Conference at the University of Iowa this spring, a forum for educators that brings together writing, the humanities, and the art of medicine. For Mostwin, this interdisciplinary and emotional exploration has value to all professionals. “No matter what kind of work you do, tapping into this primary curiosity about the life of another is a great skill to be able to cultivate.”

MMW+C is offering a number of new courses that combine photography and writing. Check them out here. To learn more about our MFA program, click here.


One of the most exciting things happening here on campus this winter is the construction of a new Book Arts & Alternative Process Studio, which will be complete in just a few weeks.

Part of a from-the-studs-up renovation of the lower level of the Ernst Haas building, the studio is dedicated to enhancing our Book Arts & Design program, introduced in 2007 by former Maine Media President Charles Altschul. The studio will house a raft of exceptional book arts equipment including Vandercook proofing presses, multiple book presses, a photopolymer platemaker, composing stone and base, stamping press, bookbinding sewing frame, and much more. The Alternative Process Lab being renovated in the adjacent space embraces the resurging interest in 19th century historic photographic techniques including tintype, collodion, gum bichromate, and calotype. It's a veritable cornucopia for "maker" enthusiasts and photographers alike! 

The new studio will allow our students to exponentially expand their opportunities here, by exploring, blending, and combining these age-old techniques in tandem with the most cutting-edge image technology available. Take a picture on an iPhone, use a special printer to create a digital negative of that image, print the image using a historic process, and overlay letterpress onto the final image or bind multiple prints into a hand-bound book. It's the marriage of old and new.  

For those of you who have already had a chance to look over our latest catalog, you'll see loads of new book arts, design, and alternative process courses taught by world-class instructors. We know you are going to love experimenting and creating in this gorgeous new space! 





Volunteering is an excellent way to become involved in our local creative community and to see some of Maine’s most wonderful artwork! Our galleries depend on the help of volunteers to maintain open hours, interact with gallery visitors, and assist in the general upkeep of the space. If you are interested in volunteering at either the Maine Media Gallery in Rockport, ME, or the PhoPa Gallery in Portland, ME, please contact the gallery manager, Sarah Whitling, at swhitling@mainemedia.edu.

Considering signing up for your very first workshop, but feel intimidated by the gear? Have no fear! Our introductory workshops are designed to put you at ease, and take the mystery out of image-making technology. We'll help you make the most out of your own camera, or you can borrow some fantastic equipment from our Digital Services Department. Our goal is for you to feel comfortable with your tools, so that you can get to work creating beautiful images and telling compelling stories. You might feel green right now, but by the end of your workshop you'll be set up with a foundation of skills that can be built upon for years to come.

We gave the heads of our film and video departments some of your most frequently asked gear fear questions. Here's what they had to say...

I've only ever shot with a point-and-shoot, and don't own a "real" camera. What do I do?

We have tons of great gear available for you to try out. Borrow one of our Canon DSLRs for the duration of your workshop!

Will everyone in my class be bringing their own gear?

Many students bring the equipment they own and want to learn more about, but we have plenty of cameras, lenses, tripods, and flashes for you to borrow.

If I borrow gear, will someone help me learn how to use it?

Our Digital Services Department can help you learn how to use anything that they lend out. You'll also be doing plenty of experimenting in the classroom and on location.

Will I be handicapped if I don't know how to use photo/video editing software?

Being familiar with photo/video editing software is not essential for most introductory classes. But we do offer some great one-day, two-day, and week-long workshops focused on software like Photoshop, InDesign, and Lightroom for anyone who wants to learn more.

I haven't been in a darkroom in 30 years. Do I need to be able to mix chemicals?

Not for an introductory course. When you're ready for the advanced classes, you'll need to be able to mix your own chemicals.

Will Maine Media provide gear to borrow if I take a Destination workshop?

You will need to bring your own gear for workshops held outside of Rockport.

I'm not sure that I'm ready for a week-long workshop. How will I know?

We also offer one and two-day introductory workshops on select weekends throughout the year. Take one of those, and you'll be hooked! 

For a complete list of our introductory workshops, go to our website, select the discipline you are most interested in, and use the search tool to choose "Beginner" workshops. 

If you come here for a workshop this summer, you're likely to meet dozens of talented and creative summer staffers who support our stellar list of world-renowned instructors. You'll also meet our core team who keep the place humming all year long. Last summer, YoPho and Intro to Digital Photography instructor Kari Wehrs made some stunning tin type portraits of our core staff. Click here to check out her work, and learn who we are and what we do. And be sure to introduce yourself when you're here, under the tent. We look forward to meeting you!

Want to learn how to make your own tin type portraits? Check out Brenton Hamilton's Exploring Alternative Processes workshop this July.

We've seen that look hundreds of times. It's Saturday, and your workshop has ended.  You've been put through your paces, challenged and encouraged by your instructor and peers. You had your short crisis of faith, followed by a breakthrough that sent you speeding along with your creative drive pegged and your mind reeling with ideas. But now it's time to go home. Sometimes a week is exactly what you need to get moving again. But sometimes it's just not enough. For those of you who want to dive deeper into the creative process, take on more complex projects, or prepare for a professional career, Maine Media has what you need. This year, think about joining us for one of our long-term programs and leverage the reach and connections we've built with renowned professionals, industry giants, and master artists. Whether it's a four-week documentary workshop, a six-week work study, a 12-week residency, a 30-week Professional Certificate, or a three-year MFA degree, our long terms programs will launch you light-years ahead. Our programs are designed to suit every skill level, from novice to master, and are tailored to meet your interests.  Give us a call, and we'll guide you to the program that's right for you.