This workshop is for photographers who want to make images in the humanistic genre with an artistic slant for a personal body of work on Crete. Greek-American Stella Johnson has spent the last 3 years photographing and teaching workshops in Crete and has made invaluable contacts for her students.
Participants in the Crete Documentary Workshop learn how to approach the local baker or the women drinking coffee with their neighbors on their stoops. Stella helps students begin a documentary project with a family of farmers or fishermen and demonstrates how to make intimate, well-crafted photographs that grab the viewer while capturing the essence of the subject. The goal is to learn how to make contact and to follow through with one subject. Stella teaches how to develop a personal style of shooting, see and use all sources of light, abstract the details and make strong compositions. She assists students in determining and defining their interests and ideas while learning how to shoot compelling images that tell a story.
The class works with Greek teaching assistants who photograph with the group and act as translators and guides. This adds to the experience of getting an insider’s perspective of the culture, which is incredibly helpful and illuminating.
The class takes a historical look at photographic documentary traditions and major practitioners. Participants are out each day photographing an area, a segment of the culture or a person, depending on individual documentary interests. Stella meets privately and in class for daily critique as she reviews images, shares her professional experiences working on stories in remote destinations and explores what it takes to develop the strong relationships necessary to work on long term projects.
Who Should Attend
This workshop is for slightly less-experienced photographers and amateurs who want to hone their eye and jump-start a documentary project.
ALL STUDENTS MUST be knowledgeable about their camera gear, digital work-flow and able to solve technical problems in the field.
ALL PARTICIPANTS must be experienced and savvy travelers, used to dealing with the intricacies of bureaucracy, transportation and technical SNAFUs.
This is an ideal workshop to bring along a spouse, son or daughter or partner. Non-photographic companions may join the group sessions and meals but are not involved in the critique or review sessions. Companion supplement is $150.
Plan to arrive in Chania by Sunday, May 31. The workshop begins that evening with a group dinner and introductions. The first day of classes is Monday, June 1.
The workshop ends Saturday, June 6 with a group dinner and presentation of all participants’ work. Departure is the following day, or you can remain on to explore more of Crete.
This workshop is conducted using digital cameras. If you wish to shoot film, you may so do, but we suggest that you take it home for processing.
What to Bring
Besides your SLR and Point-and-Shoot digital cameras, bring a body of your creative work with you to share—a portfolio or CD of images. Bring a notebook or journal, a small tape recorder or iPod with mic to record the discussions along with ambient music and sound effects.
Digital SLR and Point-and-Shoot digital cameras are suggested. Two bodies are recommended, along with lenses from 28mm to 50 mm. Bring at least 5 extra cards (1 Gg each), extra batteries, battery charger and a laptop with image management software. Make sure you have a back-up system on which to download each day’s work. This can be your laptop or a storage device, similar to Expon’s P-3000 or LaCie.
You may shoot traditional film, but plan on taking it home for processing.
Research and preparation
Research and preparation are important parts of any adventure. The more research done before the workshop, the more effective the time in country.
The Porto del Colombo Hotel is highly recommended.
Stella recommends, stays at and conducts class at the Kasteli Studios http://www.kastelistudios.gr/ for a less expensive alternative.
You will find hotels listed and described at http://www.cretetravel.com/Chania/Chania.htm
The first and last meals are included in the cost of the workshop. Lunch and dinners are organized at various restaurants, or students may find themselves dining with a local family or at a tavern in a small village while photographing in the field. Expect to be paying approximately $50 a day on meals.
It will be warm in June, but not hot. Evenings may be cool. Bring good walking shoes as there will be lots of tramping around. Bring a hat, sun block and a rain poncho.
Additional Travel Information
Getting to Crete is fairly straightforward. Flights from JFK to Crete depart daily, with stops in Madrid and Athens before reaching Crete the next afternoon. Visas are not required, but valid passports are.
Visit the ThinkTank web site for tips on traveling with camera gear internationally. http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ and log on to read the informative tips from leading photographers as they travel the world with gear.