I had so much worry going into this workshop. The previous night was full of dreams that were only about anxiety: we were meeting in a huge hayfield, and nobody could hear me. Then we were meeting in a rental studio, but the music was loud in the next room and someone was welding, and the owner of the studio wouldn't acknowledge that I had rented the place and had a right to it.
I think I still need to own the role of teacher and mentor.
Nonetheless, the reviews have been stellar. It seems to have been a useful day for everyone. Yet we both see a lot we want to change.
The idea behind our workshop is this: to do deep work as a photographer requires an ability and a means to connect with one's self and one's surroundings. There are performance enhancement tools that can make it possible to do so with intention.
My experience as a workshop participant has been that the strongest ones are those in which the group coheres by deep mutual sharing of their process and their work. Sam Abell is my mentor and model for the best kind of leader. He has a ninjalike way of not appearing to do very much, yet I am still in touch with some of my workshop mates from a decade ago, and I am still working out some of the insights from those sessions.
A one day workshop is not going to present those kind of opportunities. But I want to start modestly, and understand the dynamic of presenting a way of photographic working style that can be quickly assimilated. Here is how the next workshop will be different.
--More shooting. Less time to do it in. We had a long lunch/shooting break, but it broke the focus of the group. The 15 minute session in the morning seemed more successful.
--More me, less Robin. Yes, I think my wife is wonderful and the smartest person I know, but she admits that she's more used to teaching discrete skills to therapists, not artistic process to artists. What she brings to the table is unique. Yet I need to find my voice, and use it.
--Trusting the group to make the workshop a workshop, and stay out of the way when necessary. We had some really great talent in our group. Anyone deep enough into their own process to be interested in our workshop is already going to know how to get into their groove. We don't need to replace what anyone has that already works, just extend it a little bit and make it easier to access.
The next run of The Photograph Within will be in about six weeks. Alumni get in half price.