Visual thinking involves chance and endless risk taking, adapting to creative opportunities as they come along. Photography demands it and chess is like that too. Beginner or seasoned champion, chess inspires your creative impulses and enlists your mind’s eye as an ever more powerful tool for building unique and sustaining visual pathways. An hour of chess a day is all it takes. The rest of glorious Maine will be devoted to intensive photographic production and classroom critiques and analysis—more fun than the title of this workshop deserves—with a chance to come away notches higher on the chessboard and expand the visual options of your practice, teaching the mind’s eye to see three moves ahead.

Inspired by Arnold Newman’s portrait of him, Arno sent chess pieces made directly from scans of his hands to the great master in 2006, inviting him to a game of chess (more of the story to be shared at board-side). Man Ray designed his own chess pieces as well, in his pursuit of the surreal. Minkkinen, for his part, names his version the Arnold Newman Chess Game. But it has a twist: players get to determine which pieces should be black or white.


Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Arno Rafael Minkkinen is a Finnish American photographer, essayist, educator and curator with over 100 solo and 200 group exhibitions worldwide. Completing his 8th year on the Society of Photographic Education National Board, Minkkinen is Emeritus Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and docent at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki.

Major monographs include: Frostbite (1978), Waterline (Aperture, 1995), Body Land (Smithsonian, 1999), SAGA: The Journey of Arno Rafael Minkkinen: 35 Years of Photographs (Chronicle, 2005), Homework: The Finnish Photographs (Like Ltd., 2008) and Balanced Equation (Lodima Press, 2010).

His works are held in major collections such as the Musée d’art moderne and Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the Musée de l’Élysée in Lausanne, the Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma in Helsinki, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York, Robert Klein Gallery in Boston, and Galerie Camera Obscura in Paris represent his work along with galleries in Beijing, Bruxelles, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Köln, Moscow, Oslo, and Torino.

Minkkinen has been awarded an NEA regional grant, the Order of the Lion First Class Medal from the Finnish Government, Finnish State Art Prize in Photography, the 2013 Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art, and just recently, the Northeast SPE Honored Educator Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.


Course Dates

Jul 23 to Jul 29




Class Size