Spirit of Structure: Orkney Islands, Scotland

Tillman Crane

Experience the magic of the Orkney islands! With more than 5000 years of human history, culture and architecture, as well as the beautiful sparse landscape, there is something to interest every artist. From the Neolithic stone village of Skara Brae to the 850-year-old Norse St Magnus Cathedral, this World Heritage Site ensures you will experience a history on par with Stonehenge and the Great Wall of China. 

This is not your typical photographic “postcard” tour. Tillman’s knowledge of the Orkneys comes from the many years spent photographing for his two books, Touchstones and Odin Stone. The beginning of the week will be spent exploring a number of sites. Believing that it is rare for the best image to come on a first visit, Tillman will entice, encourage and support you in repeated exploration of those sites that speak to you. Whether your interests take the form of the vastness of the stones at the Ring of Brodgar or the intimacy of the Italian Chapel, there is a project of photographic interest for you. Dovecotes, Click Mills, a Viking Bu, the remains of a Bishop’s Palace, WW II gun bunkers, beachheads, working harbors and stones, stones, stones. Orkney has it all – island quietude, a rich history and a sense of mystery that comes only with the passage of unfathomable periods of time. 

To make this intimate week of photographing possible, the workshop is limited to 10 people. 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. (Due to the unpredictability of Scottish weather and the continuous presence of wind on the islands, those bringing large format cameras are encouraged to also bring along a smaller format.) 

Throughout the week we will divide our time between making images and critiquing them. At this time of year it will be light from anout 4 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. so there are many opportunities for photographing under different light conditions. We will decide as a group how we will plan each day. During our critique time 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 are designed to increase your skills and to help you to 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, June 15 at 6 p.m. and ends after dinner on Friday. I would suggest making your departure plans for Saturday, June 21.  

Transportation, Lodging: Participants are responsible for all lodging, meals and transportation. 

Airports:        Please note: There are two airports in London that have connecting flights to Scotland - Heathrow (LHR) & Gatwick (LGW). To decrease confusion I recommend you to fly in and out of the same airport when you are making your reservations. 

Edinburgh (EDI)     Glasgow (GLA)Orkney Kirkwall (KOI) 

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:        Tillman is staying at:           

                      Ramsquoy B&B

                      Contact: Mona Swannie   mona@ramsquoy.f9.co.uk

 Additional suggestions (but by no means a complete list): 

Mill of Eyreland  info@millofeyrland.com 

Westrow Lodge B&B Contact: Kathy Bichan   K2bichan@gmail.com

Standing Stones Hotel   info@stadningstoneshotel.co.uk

Coubister B&B  Contact: Mrs. Dennis Moore  info@coubister.co.uk 


Tuition note:

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. 

For further information contact tillman@tillmancrane.com

Terms and Conditions for Destinations Workshops

1. Reservations & Payments

A deposit as indicated on the registration page is required to confirm your reservation for the workshop.  Final payment in full is due 45 days prior  to the date of departure for your workshop.  Maine Media Workshops + College (“Maine Media”) reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.

2. Cancellations

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of the postmark, or upon receipt of an email providing notice of cancellation. If you provide written notice of cancellation  60 days or more prior to the departure date for your workshop, your deposit, and any additional payment, will be refunded in full, less an administration fee of $55.00. If you provide written notice of cancellation less than 60 days prior to the departure date for your workshop, your full deposit will be forfeited; any additional funds paid to Maine Media for the workshop will be refunded.  No refunds of any amount will be made to persons who (i) fail to provide written notice of cancellation, or who (ii) begin a workshop, but fail to complete the workshop.

3. Basis of Rates

All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars; all payments must be made in U.S. dollars.

4. Insurance

It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation, Baggage, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and/or Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Maine Media shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property, or for an individual student’s medical needs, accidents, injuries or illnesses.

5. Itinerary Changes

The itinerary for your workshop is subject to change without prior notification.

6.  Passports and Visas

A valid passport is required for all travel. You are required to notify Maine Media as to the nationality under which your passport is registered. If you are a U.S. citizen, Maine Media will notify you if your destination requires a visa.  Non-U.S. citizens are required to contact the appropriate consular office for entry requirements for their workshop. Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. To participate in the workshop, you must have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the date on which your trip is scheduled to be completed.

7. Medical Issues

All participants must be in good health.   You must advise Maine Media of any health condition, physical condition, or emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or that may adversely impact the other participants in your workshop. All students are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration.  This document may be found on the course description page.

8. Liability Waiver

Every participant is required to sign Maine Media’s Waiver of Liability before departure for their workshop.   Click here to download.

9. Responsibility & Photography

To ensure a safe photographic experience, you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations.  The faculty member for your workshop has the right to expel any person from the workshop for behavior that is in violation of the law; that is disruptive; or that compromises the group’s safety or enjoyment.  No refunds will be made to any person expelled from a workshop. Maine Media shall have no obligation to pay any costs incurred by a person as a result of that person being expelled from a workshop. 

Sign and Return Waiver Form



Tillman Crane

© Charles J. Dukes

Tillman Crane’s distinctive platinum photographs combine 19th century materials with a 21st century aesthetic.  From photojournalist to teacher and artist he has honed his technique and mastered his craft over the past 35 years. He made his first platinum print in 1987 and since 2001 his work has been exclusively shown as platinum prints. He works with 5x7, 8x10 and 5x12 view cameras.Today’s images focus on the unique sense of place he finds in the ordinary, everyday locations where he lives and teaches.

© Charles J. DukesTillman has published four limited edition books: Tillman Crane/Structure (2001), Touchstones (2005), Odin Stone (2008), and A Walk Along the Jordan (2009). For the discriminating collector, Tillman collaborates using images of your choice to create one-of-a-kind handmade books of platinum prints.

A skilled teacher, his workshops offer a variety of locations for all levels of expertise and camera formats. Tillman holds workshops throughout the U.S., U.K. and China. If the workshop schedule doesn’t meet your needs let him customize a one-on-one tutorial of your design.

Visit the Tillman Crane Gallery at 22 Pearl Street in Camden Maine, to see more work. Open by appointment. Contact: 207-230-0199, tillman@tillmancrane.com or visit www.tillmancrane.com