Break through your limitations and take photographs that transcend their subject.

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Image Credit: Sean Kernan

Photography brings us such freedom, as we explore our world and lives, but in time we can find ourselves looking for pictures, not for what excites our vision. This workshop is the antidote, whether you are in the first flush or a lifer.

During the week, we’ll set that Photographer aside, forget what we know, teach the eye to wait, make photos with the mind and heart, then ask them Why?—and surprise ourselves!

Every day we’ll do exercises that work directly with the mind (writing), with energy (brushwork), with spontaneity and collaboration (improvisation and music), with silence (sitting and noticing).

Then we’ll dive into the making of new photographs, responding to provocative, and innovative daily assignments and in-class feedback. The entire repertory of assignments and exercises is designed to take us back toward the kind of child-like freshness and naked awareness that is the basis of true creativity and art.

In the end we’ll have had:

A direct introduction to pure creativity and an igniting—or reigniting—of photography as discovery.

A basket of prompts and activities that we can go to at any time.

Inspiration and experience in excursions that integrate photography into other realms of seeing and expressions.

A renewed—or new—practice of the art of photography.


Header image © Sean Kernan


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Instructor: Sean Kernan

Sean Kernan published his first poem when he was 16, and he decided that if it was that easy he’d just go ahead and be a writer. Then he somehow deflected into theater and photography. But he always maintained some kind of writing practice throughout. In college he worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register and a bureau assistant for the New York Times. Later he produced a series of articles and interviews on photography and a number of columns on the problems of creativity in the workplace for Communication Arts Magazine. He also became a pioneering teacher well known for investigating creativity in various disciplines, and based on this work he authored Looking Into the Light. He has published two monographs of photographs, The Secret Books (with Jorge Luis Borges) and Among Trees, (introduction by Anthony Doerr), and has produced a film, Crow Stories, about life on the Crow Reservation. He has taught and lectured at Parsons School of Design, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Maine Media Workshops and Santa Fe Workshops, University of Texas, and Yale Medical School. He has exhibited internationally and won numerous awards, including Center’s 2010 Teacher of the Year and an honorary doctorate from Art Center College of Design.