Create unique images with brushstroke-like qualities that range from impressionistic to abstract, photographs that literally blur the reality of nature.

Sep 16, 2024 - Sep 20, 2024

Levels: Intermediate, Advanced,
Workshop Fee: $1495
Workshop Duration: 1-week (Monday-Friday)
Workshop Location: On-campus
Class Size: 10

Unprecedented climate change calls for a dramatic reimagining of how we, as artists and photographers, portray the landscapes around us. Join Brian Kaufman for an intensely creative week to build a Painted Landscape of your own that challenges the notion of nature as steadfast.

Painted Landscape example image of a wilderness landscape with a river - By Brian Kaufman

Through hands-on lessons, both in the classroom and out, you will learn how to use combinations of slow shutter speed and intentional camera movement to create motion within images, utilizing tripod and handheld techniques. Participants will each choose a landscape and photograph it from the same location throughout the week as light and weather conditions change, amassing a plethora of images that will then be brought into Photoshop for the creation of a single work of photographic art.

Painted Landscape example image of a sunset with storm clouds - By Brian Kaufman

Painted Landscape example image of the desert - By Brian Kaufman

You will learn workflows for file management, how to align and layer your images in a single PSD file, and how to use layer masks and brush tools to blend those images together. Brian will also show participants how to expand the size of their work, demonstrating techniques for stitching landscapes together across several rows and columns.

Throughout the week, Brian will dissect several of his own large-scale pieces and explain step-by-step how they were created, which will reinforce class lessons and provide insight for participants to develop their work beyond the one-week course.

Painted Landscape example image of a snowy landscape - By Brian Kaufman

Painted Landscape example image of a pond with rocks - By Brian Kaufman

The fluid nature of this workshop allows participants to work with Brian one-on-one throughout the creative process, from location scouting and artistic goals to project-specific shooting techniques and Photoshop blending methods.

Brian’s approach to the class follows an ethical framework honed through his career in visual journalism. All visual effects will be captured in-camera when making individual photographs. Photoshop will not be used to remove, add, or shift the placement of content within the landscape, or to exaggerate visual effects. In this regard, each student’s final work will be a truthful expression of the landscape they photographed and created over the course of the week, free from digital manipulation that has led to a surge in deepfake nature imagery. The works will be interpretations of the many realities of changing landscapes over time.

Painted Landscape example image of blurry trees - By Brian Kaufman

Course Requirements:

Students should be fluent in manual exposure control and confident in Photoshop, with a basic understanding of brush tools and layers.

It is encouraged that students bring a variable ND filter to pair with the lens they intend to use, which will allow for slow shutter speeds during bright daylight hours. Prime lenses are suggested, with ideal focal lengths ranging between 60mm and 100mm. Maine Media also has a pool of ND filters available for checkout. 

Students should also bring an external hard drive.

Painted Landscape example image of trees - By Brian Kaufman

All images copyright Brian Kaufman.

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Instructor: Brian Kaufman

Brian Kaufman is a visual journalist and wilderness photographer based in the Great Lakes region. As Executive Video Producer at the Detroit Free Press, Kaufman bridges the gap between video journalism and documentary film. His work has been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, three National Emmy Awards and a nomination in the craft category of Nature and Wildlife Cinematography. Kaufman’s film “Coldwater Kitchen,” which premiered at DOC NYC, won a James Beard Media Award in 2023. The film “12th and Clairmont,” which Kaufman directed and edited, was called “illuminating and innovatively crafted” by Variety Magazine. Passionate about teaching, Kaufman has coached visual storytelling workshops throughout the country and has been instrumental in spreading the craft of video journalism across the newspaper industry.