Create strong in-camera compositions.

Mar 23, 2020 - Mar 27, 2020

Levels: Intermediate,
Workshop Fee: $995 (Spring Session)
Class Size: 14

Seeing photographically is what this week is all about, join us as we learn how to create strong compositions within the camera. We do not dwell on the equipment, software or editing. During this week we will discuss the visual, intellectual and intuitive elements, which go into creating a photograph. This course is open to anyone looking for new ways to see – from the novice to the seasoned pro. Each day we explore a single aspect of photographic vision in depth.

© Crystal Chappell

Mornings begin with a review and critique of the previous day’s photographs, followed by lecture and discussions providing a basis for the day’s assignment and fieldwork. Experimentation is encouraged and participants are expected to stretch, explore and test new ideas. Failures and mistakes will be applauded.

Subjects covered during the week:

  • The Camera Lens – Explore the lens’ ability to distort perspective, alter reality and isolate subjects through focus and depth-of-field.
  • Photographic Design – Work with lines, shapes and space as the frame creates two dimensions from a three-dimensional space.
  • Point of View & The Frame – Investigate the frame’s ability to edit, select, isolate, include and exclude elements in our field of vision. Examine how the camera lies to tell a greater truth.
  • Light – Develop a greater appreciation for the quality of light- the direct light of noon, the soft light of dawn, the shadows of late afternoon, the diffused light as the Maine fog rolls in.
  • The Culminating Picture – A single photograph, your final assignment, brings together all the elements you have examined and will be presented at the final critique.

Students are encouraged to bring a laptop for image processing and editing since this is not based in a digital lab classroom.

Info for Winter/Spring Session: Lodging and meal package available for $525. Includes breakfast and lunch Monday – Friday. Dinner services are not available during our Winter/Spring session. Meal plan (mandatory) without lodging $150. Plan to arrive on Sunday afternoon/evening to be rested for your workshop which will begin Monday morning, following registration. Workshops will end late Friday afternoon. Lodging is booked for a Saturday departure.

Header image credit: ©Doug Triffon


Past student work: Doug Triffon (x2), Crystal Chappell (x2)

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Instructor: Andrea Mellon Birnbaum

Andrea is a photographic essayist working on long form projects related to identity, belonging and memory. She has developed projects on special needs siblings, girls and women, troubled youth and is currently photographing women over 50, including herself. She is passionate about teaching photography and helping others find their creative voice. She has taught students of all ages, most recently as an adjunct faculty member at The Art Institute of Michigan, and at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, where she was a faculty advisor for two trips to Haiti, where art students taught art classes to children, and collaborated with Haitian artists in Jacmel, Haiti. She has spent the past year teaching therapeutic photography to troubled young women at a residential facility in Detroit, helping them use photography to express themselves.