Vision and Technique Workshop
with Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee
Intensive 3-day Workshop: Our aim is to make it so complete that it will be the last workshop of its type that you will ever need.
Although we work with view cameras and demonstrate with them, the workshop is not format specific.
The purpose of this workshop is to help you make better photographs, and through doing that, to experience personal growth. And if you already make beautiful photographs, but find that you don’t do so consistently, then this workshop is for you.
We intend this to be the definitive workshop for black and white photography. Even though this is only a weekend workshop, everything will be covered including developing film by inspection, printing, and proper use of the camera in a way that encourages creative vision. All technical matters will be discussed as a function of vision.
If you notify us beforehand of specific things you would like to learn, we will incorporate them into the workshop. Of course, we will expect you to ask plenty of questions as various topics arise during the weekend. There are no limits and we hope to meet your needs as fully as possible. Although the principles covered are applicable to all formats, the use of view cameras will be emphasized.
Current Workshop Calendar
Complete Workshop Description
The workshop will begin on Friday evening at 7P.M. It will continue from 8:30 A.M. Saturday until well into the night, and on Sunday from about 9:00 A.M. until approximately 4:30 P.M.
Our workshops are intense. Our objective is to help you develop your skills and give you the tools to make the best photographs you possibly can. We will try to teach you everything we know about the fine art of black and white photography, both visually and technically. We have no secrets.
On Friday evening we take a preliminary look at your photographs followed by a discussion of our own work and the visual things that go into its making.
Among the Unsolicited Comments about the workshop from former participants
I have been a commercial photographer since I was 17, I went to college, assisted the top photographers in London, worked on global international advertising accounts for the last twenty five years, and last year I went back to collage to get a Masters Degree. Not once in all that time have I ever had such an interesting and informative photographic experience.
Just a note of thanks to you both for having me at your wonderful workshop. There are events that occur in one’s life that you consider a milestone for growth for who you are or become. I can honestly say that your workshop is one of my milestone events. You have renewed my photographic vision. You have reaffirmed my love of photography.
I truly enjoyed your workshop. The experience expanded my perspective and I have not felt this level of excitement since I started in photography. The best workshop of the dozen that I have attended.
On Saturday morning we go into the darkroom for a printing demonstration. We demonstrate our printing techniques and then apply them to negatives you have brought with you. We ask that you bring negatives that were difficult to print, negatives that yielded satisfactory prints only after many hours of effort, or ones that never did yield the print you had hoped for. Also bring the best prints (mounted or not) that you were able to make from those negatives. We do this with negatives that do not need to be enlarged.
After a break for lunch we take our cameras into the field and demonstrate how we work. During this time we work with each person individually and demonstrate a creative way to use a camera that will, in all likelihood, expand your way of working. Although we will be using an 8x10 camera for this demonstration, this is valuable even if you work in 35mm. During this afternoon there will be time for you to make your own negatives, so bring your camera and film.
In the early evening we demonstrate developing film by inspection. There will not be time for you to develop your own negatives you might have made that day.
We will then all have dinner together and have a general discussion into the night.
On Sunday morning we take a careful look at your photographs and discuss them in light of all that has gone before during the weekend. Our hope is that by this time you will almost be able to anticipate everything we might say. The more photographs you bring with you, the more helpful we can be. Bring as many as you would like us to look at, though thirty or forty would be maximum. These photographs should be in as finished a form as possible and preferably mounted.
We look at participants' photographs both before and after brunch. We will also demonstrate mounting prints and spotting both prints and negatives. At the end of the workshop, we can cover any topic you like that we have not dealt with. Let us know if there is any specific aspect of photography, either technical or visual, that you are interested in having us cover and we will do our best to do so.