Explore the dimensions of personal experience to develop a coherent and visually sophisticated body of work.

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Personal photographic stories are for the purpose of self-representation via the world outside of you. The artist can show their emotions, questions, thoughts, limitations, and joys in a scene or a color or even another’s face. What we create is a part of who we are and what we see in others is always, to some extent, what we see in ourselves. This workshop is intended for those who are interested in developing a body of work that explores the dimensions of personal experience and to help students discover the limitless forms of self-representation.

The mysterious and intimate language of symbols, surrogates, iconography, and metaphors are discussed as a means by which students may pursue a heightened visual language. The class explores the personal versus the universal, the constructed versus the found, and how to avoid the pitfalls of cliché and stereotype.

The goal of the workshop is to learn the skills necessary to develop a coherent and visually sophisticated body of work that is honest and meaningful. There are daily discussions, written exercises, and reviews of work in progress, as well as individual assignments designed to help participants hone their abilities to recognize and capture emotional content and create memorable images.

Students should bring ideas, a strong sense of humor, and an intention to take risks.

A portfolio review is required for admission to this course.

All image credit © Cig Harvey


Past student work (clockwise): JoAnn Chaus (x2), Kathleen Handel, Diane Hemingway, Howard Borenstein, Christine Cluff, Lyn Bonham, Evy Huppert

Instructor: Cig Harvey

Cig Harvey is an artist whose practice seeks to find the magic in everyday life. Harvey’s work is rich in implied narrative, deeply rooted in the natural world, and devoted to the topics of belonging and familial relationships. Her work has been reviewed and featured in The New York Times, BBC, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Vice, The Sunday Times, The Independent, Marie Claire Italia, and New York Magazine. She is the author of three sold-out books, You Look At Me Like An Emergency, Gardening at Night, and You an Orchestra You a Bomb. Her work is in the collections of major American museums including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the International Museum of Photography and Film at the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York. In 2017, Cig was awarded the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award from CENTER an international organization that honors, supports, and provides opportunities for gifted and committed photographers. In 2020 Cig was awarded the Maine in America Award, presented by the Farnsworth Art Museum’s Board of Trustees in honor of an individual or group who has made an outstanding contribution to Maine’s role in American art.