Michael Smith and Paula Chamblee's, Vision and technques Workshop

Discussion in 'Workshops & Lectures' started by michael9793, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee's, Vision and technques Workshop

    I just got back from Michael and Paula's workshop and I have to say that any one that is serious about photography needs to take this workshop. Even if you don't want to do AZO (which will probably change afterwards) the Visions part of the workshop opens your eyes beyond anything you have ever seen. I have Photographed for over 30 years (you can see my work on my website) and when Michael had reviewed my work he felt He could get me to the next level. I didn't real care for his work before I went to the workshop and my friend thought I did better work than Michael. But after the workhshop we realized how good his work real was and left speechless.
    www.michaelandpaula.com

    Michael Andersen
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2005
  2. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Amazing, wasn't it? Wait until you've worked that way for about a year. You'll realize that you've taken the 'workshop that keeps on working'.

    Make sure you force yourself to use Paula's methods behind the camera whenever you're tempted to slide back into the Ansel Adams 'viewing card' mentality. When printing, always force yourself to outflank the print until you've completely cornered it. I wasted a lot of paper by accepting prints which looked ok but which weren't the best possible prints from my negatives. When I forced myself to keep doing them wrong until I'd boxed in the best possible print, I was able to confidently produced exhibition quality work from just about any negative. This in turn had a profound effect upon my vision. This synergism seems to pervade every aspect of M&P's photography.
     
  3. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Which means what? I do use a viewing card. I'm not sure that my use is akin to AA's, but it may well be. I'd love to hear what the alternatives are. I've heard only good things about Paula's coaching under the darkcloth, but never any explanation of what she offers. If you can discuss it a bit, I'd like to get a sense of what this approach entails.
     
  4. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    As would I. I've heard nothing but good things about this part of their workshop. Someday I hope to experience it first hand.
     
  5. herb

    herb Member

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    M&P workshop

    I spent a very enjoyable two and a half days at M&P's workshop, and I would divide the program into four:
    developing negatives, printing , seeing, and critique.

    Of these, my favorites were seeing and critique. One can do alot of reading and get a fair grip on the other two, however their methods are quite simple, and I plan to adopt most of them. I did a bit of developing by inspection this weekend and found it difficult to see WTH was going on, but everything else I took away is dead on.

    VERY worthwhile workshop. Paula's seeing teaching is a real plus.
     
  6. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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    The vision part of the workshop is something different than anything that I've ever learned in any class. The short explanation that fails to do it justice is that one explores a scene with the ground glass. For me, coming from a film and video background, Paula likened it to using the camera on the tripod like a video camera. Under the darkcloth you "see" what is there. It was remarkable.

    This part of the workshop is individual time. I came out from under the darkcloth "lost." By that I mean that I lost track of time and space as we moved the camera and changed the scene. I had to figure out where I was afterward. I had always thought of photography as "capturing an image." What I learned in the workshop was to explore the image regardless of whether you decide to capture it.

    Mike
     
  7. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Apug conference, 'nuff said. I'm guessing cheapest you will EVER see the M&P workshops--many of course find them to be worth much more than they paid when taking it in Bucks County, but for those of us on a budget....
     
  8. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is a fact. M & P have gone the extra mile with their WSs
    and commitment to the APUG and the conference.
     
  9. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    Just getting under the darkcloth with Paula and having her show you the magic is just part of it. you have to learn what to see. I used the Zone VI viewer for ever, but there isn't anything wrong with it it just doesn't give you what is really in the picture, Just the basic form. using the ground glass properly and seeing what M&P see is the whole thing. Technique in the darkroon and developing is a whole different thing you have to do.
     
  10. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    I could not have said it any better jim
     
  11. mark

    mark Member

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    DO they work with you on finding your own vision or do they show you how to see their way. I spent time looking at the websites of folks who praise M&P and there are some good images out there but many look like M&P images. DO they show you how to set your images apart and make them your own?

    There is no way I will ever be able to afford one of their workshops nor will I be able to afford to go to the conference so I will not be able to experience this phenomenon(sp) for myself.

    I am not bashing and hope it did not come across this way. I really want to know how they teach you to see for yourself, through your eyes, to create your own vision. If they wrote a book I would read it. I can afford books, but workshops are things for those much more wealthy than I.
     
  12. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    If you took a workshop with the expectation of being able to walk away with the secret to your own vision, I suspect you'd be disappointed. Establishing your own vision is a consequence of taking zillions of photographs and critically working your way through all the influences you can identify until you realize what's your own and what isn't. I think the most likely thing in the world is to be imitative of whatever the strongest influence is in a workshop unless you just hate what you were exposed to. AA must have been beyond awsome in that way...20 some years later, scores of photographers are revisiting the same images in the same way ad infinitum.
     
  13. mark

    mark Member

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    You missed my point. They offer a vision and techniques workshop. I was wondering what steps they took to ensure you did not make M&P photographs like little drones. How does this workshop help one work toward one's own vision.

    I know discovering your own vision takes time and work, I'm not stupid. If I had the money to pitch I would take the WS out of curiosity, just as I would buy the book.
     
  14. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    No, but the images do become an expression of your unique vision over time. If you do what they show you how to do, it just happens. They only ignite the spark. If the work of some of their proteges appears derivative, it's because not enough time has passed since they took the workshop.

    What Paula does under the darkcloth really can't be described in words, and any attempt to do so might diminish the effect. Just go take it at the conference. For $50, how can you go wrong?
     
  15. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    No, it's not. It's a consequence of learning how to see photographically. That might involve zillions of photographs or it might involve only a few dozen.
     
  16. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    I believe I have already written about the nature of influence on this site. I do not have the time to do it again and to do it too quickly might lead to distorted interpretations. Participants in our workshop are never encouraged to see like we do, although in some cases our influence can readily be seen. Rather they are given the tools to have their own vision manifest itself. One must be careful here and not "try" to be unique. To quote Picasso, "The artist who tries to be unique deceives himself. If he creates anything at all it will only be an imitation of what he likes."

    Bottom line: with work over time (depending on the individual, a greater or lesser time, as Jim has pointed out) one's unique vision will emerge as a natural function--if--one has the visual tools (not the technical tools) and the understanding of what a photograph is really all about--visually. Of the many photographers who have taken our workshops (some quite accomplished with books to their credit) none were able to articulate what that is, although certainly some understand it intuitively. Recently a curator at a major museum asked us about our work and we started explaining our visual concerns. He responded, "I have never heard this expressed so clearly. You must write a book about it." And I will, but two other books must come first--one with Sandy King on making fine prints and negatives and the other, based on my experience as a publisher, on how to make a photography book. All this while I do my own work, conduct occasional workshops, publish photography, not technical, books (www.lodimapress.com--two new series in the works as well as other books), sell Azo, and have a new silver chloride paper made. Anyone want a full-time job as administrative assistant?
     
  17. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I'll be free in August :D
     
  18. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Michael,

    Can you explain that means to you?

    Thanks,

    Don Bryant
     
  19. michael9793

    michael9793 Member

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    Don,

    I felt I was doing a good job. Some felt I was doing a great job. But I always felt frustrated at the fact that something was missing ( I have written this many times in my journal). Like many things in life, people on the outside can sometimes see things much more clearly than we can. The same holds true in photography. Anyone can come in and say you should crop it this way or that, BUT WHY! No one gives you that reason. Michael told me that there was something missing in my work and by the time he finished reviewing and explaining, I saw what was bothering me all this time and how to fix it. Like golf and Tiger Woods, many resist his ability to take golf to the next level of play but today all are trying to reach that goal because they know it will only make them better.
    Going to the next level for me is seeing better, or being more creative in my visional aspect of photography. Technique wise, I feel that it is something I don't have to push as much. But I feel I am like a horse with blinders sometimes and afraid to open up and swing the camera to new images that haven't been comfortable for me in the past.

    I'm not much of a writer so I hope this made some kind of sense to you.
    Mike Andersen