Photographing this area of Alabama has a threefold purpose: to explore Alabama’s industrial and agricultural past, to look at the spirit of the structures (i.e. the stories behind the buildings) and to record the changes as another small town Main Street is rebuilt with renewed focus and purpose.
We begin the workshop in Birmingham. Heralded as the “Pittsburgh of the South,” downtown Birmingham offers an illuminating look at this historically important iron-producing area of the U.S. The majority of our time will be spent photographing at the Sloss City Furnaces, now preserved intact as a National Historical Landmark.
Wednesday we head to the city of Decatur, settled first as Rhodes Ferry Landing in 1817. Strategically located on the Tennessee River at the crossing of two major railroads and with it’s own town bank, Decatur enjoyed growth and prosperity until the Civil War drastically changed the landscape of the community. It is estimated that the town changed hands eight times during the war and when the Union troops finally left the city in 1864, those buildings not dismantled for use by the northern army were burned to the ground. It was years before Decatur was able to rise out of the ashes but with the return of the railroad and the arrival of the 20th century modernity, Old Decatur (east of the tracks) and Albany (west) were rebuilt and established. We will be photographing in some of the buildings slated for redevelopment along Bank Street, as well in the Archer Daniels Midland Cotton Warehouse and old Decatur Train Station. For those interested in landscape work there is the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, small pocket parks in downtown and areas along the Tennessee River.
We will spend one day in Mooresville, the oldest town in Alabama. Mooresville is still home to a small community. This is not a museum town but four buildings are maintained by the town and give us a unique look at how citizens can live with, protect and cherish the historical context and maintain a small town community. The buildings we will be exploring include the Mooresville Post Office (1840), Stagecoach Tavern (1821), and two churches (1839 & 1854).
This is a location workshop in which we will focus on creating photographs. All camera format, film and digital, are welcome. Large format and film are always welcome in my workshop but be advised that there is no opportunity for processing film. Digital photographers should bring their own laptop to edit for critiques.
Throughout the week we will use the daytime to make images and the evenings for critique. I ask that you share 5 - 10 images per critique. These may be images made during the workshop or from previous work, in print or digital form. In addition, if you would like an individual portfolio review bring a representative portfolio of no more than 30 images, in print or digital format.
My Spirit of Structure workshops focus on photographing in the man-made environment, rather than on the grand landscape. They are designed to increase your skills and to help you challenge old habits and break out of ruts. Your focus during the week is not about making the perfect photograph but in approaching the subjects differently, in taking risks, in shifting your point-of-view. The combination of working in a new environment and being deliberate in your photographing will change the photographs you make long after this workshop is over.
For all participants: Please bring two images – one of your own and one of a photographer who inspires you (not an original) – to introduce yourself to the group.
The workshop begins on Sunday evening, January 19 at 6 p.m. and ends after dinner on Friday. I would suggest making your departure plans for Saturday, January 25.
Transportation, Lodging: Participants are responsible for lodging, meals and transportation.
Airports: Huntsville International Airport (HSV) Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM)
Rental Cars: A rental car is a must for this workshop. Contact me if you are interested in sharing a car and I will put the word out in the group as registration for the workshop is completed.
Lodging: Note: 3 nights in Birmingham, 3 nights in Decatur. Students should make their reservations directly with the hoteliers. If you wish to stay elsewhere you are free to do so. Group critiques will be held in a room in these two locations.
Birmingham: January 19 (arrive Sunday) – 22 (depart Wednesday)
Hampton Inn Birmingham/Mountain Brook
2731 US Highway 280 South, Birmingham, AL 35223
Decatur: January 22 (arrive Wednesday) – 25 (depart Saturday)
Garden Plaza Hotel and Suites (formerly Holiday Inn)
1101 6th Avenue NE, Decatur AL 35601
256.355.3150 or 256.445.3156
Mention: “Tillman Crane Workshop” when registering for both workshops.
At the time of registration, Maine Media Workshops will collect an initial deposit of $150, plus a $55 registration fee. All other payments will be billed & collected directly by Tillman Crane.