Torso and Hands-From the Humanlandscapes Portfolio

Sensual photograph at a workshop in California“Torso and Hands” is an image from the second section of my book, and I think captures a sense of both beauty and serenity. It was taken at a photography workshop on a small farm near Inverness , CA. The North Coast of California between San Francisco and Fort Bragg along Highway 1 is achingly beautiful and lends itself to creativity. If you have an opportunity to travel or photograph there, don’t miss it!

Photography workshops are a mixed bag, but the good ones are inspiring. The usual format is to start with a theme. Everyone in the workshop is expected to present a portfolio of their work to the group at the start–to get a sense of your talent and focus. The goals and structure of the workshop is then reviewed and discussed, and if the workshop involves the use of human models, the photographers get to meet them and start thinking about how to create compelling images using them as props. A tour of the site is next, and then the group breaks into small parts and begin the process of creating images with each person sharing their ideas and setting up the scene. Thus, it is possible to learn a great deal fast with sharing of ideas, equipment, and scene creation. Working with models is really like filming a short movie with the lighting, clothing, etc, all designed to have emotional content and tell a simple story. Remember–all pictures tell a story–and good pictures tell the story well. Interestingly, after a workshop with several photographers working in the same environment, the images that are produced are always vastly different, a testimony to how each of us see the world differently.

In this image, the fabric and the relaxed position of the hands are essential to the sense of peace and body comfort we see here. Visualizing this image and creating it with the selection of fabric, position and lighting are all a part of the shared learning that are possible at a workshop. Workshops can also be a nightmare of egos and borish people that can ruin it–but that is true of most shared events. My experience has mosly been positive, but I think most of my best images were created outside of a workshop experience.

More about workshops later.

P. Miller