Well July has been shaping up to be my busiest month so far in my photographic journey! A few weeks back I was fortunate to meet the lovely Joel Robison and Whitney Justesen while doing one of Joel's weekend workshops. From the moment I arrived and hooked up with the group outside Holland Park tube station I received a warm welcome. Straight away I met the lovely Steph Alsop who I chatted with for most of the day.
We commenced our short walk to Holland Park which turned out to be lovely! It's amazing how these places seem to pop up when I least expect despite trying to find locations to visit. As we walked the group nattered with one another getting to know their fellow weekend students.
Once we found a spot under a big old tree, Joel got us to sit around in a circle and talked us through what to expect over the weekend. Each of us took a turn to introduce ourselves, internally I was bracing myself for my go. Truth be known I'm actually shy, but I learnt many years back to overcome it. Despite this I still have moments where like most of us I'm sure, when the spotlight lands on us you're like '.. [brain freeze]..'.
Joel told us about his own journey of becoming a successful conceptual artist. It was a lovely story and one that I can relate with in some ways. Then came the real 'ice breaker'! We had to transform ourselves in to epic Ninjas! It would take far to long to explain how you play this game, but in short it involves a lot of jumping and slapping of body parts! It was great fun and relaxed the group.
Next it was time to head to our first location of the day, which was a giant chess board. Jen Brook modelled for us in this shot and hugged a chess piece while Whitney held some in mid-air. Joel would explain his technique for getting the shot, camera settings and answering any questions the group threw at him. It was funny watching people around us stopping and staring, wondering what we were all doing.
In our ice breaker session earlier in the morning we all pulled out a piece of paper from a bag that Joel had written on. What we got would determine the prop we could use. I had the lantern which worked perfectly for the picture I created with Jen. We all headed out after the chess board session to explore and get inspiration from our surroundings, finding elements we could perhaps use in our final composites.
If you like YumYum's the cafe in the park do a nice selection of food and what not... did I mention they sell YumYum's as well?... Any how, after stuffing my face we spent the afternoon in a shaded spot in some woodland. Here we got to work with our amazing models and props. My brain was in overdrive mode, but in a good way! I've learnt that at times I need to absorb what I've seen and learned, digest it for a bit and then act on it. So with a little help from Steph and Whitney for a short brain storm I had Jen coming out of the woods holding the lantern.
I have a great love for manual lenses, but I think in future shoots I might be tempted to use a lens with auto focus, just for ease. It's funny how in certain situations I somehow feel I can't get sharp focus. Probably due to the fact I wanted to take pictures and not spend ages getting focus, so I'm rushing and making mistakes. That said I was pleased that I had plenty of good images to work with.
Towards the end of the day we did another session, this time as a group. Each of us had to whisper our idea to our model Erna Gotya and we could mix up the props that Erna would be using. I went with the magnifying glass with the idea of creating little people on the ground next to her. We finished off having a group photograph, two versions... one of us looking pretty... the other one a little less so!
The next day we met up again at a venue near Holborn. This day was a chance to learn about how to publish our work, copyright theft (something poor Joel knows all to well about), and to look at some editing.
For me, what came out of this weekend was much needed experience of working with models. I've always found the idea of working with a model one on one a little daunting. Silly really, and again it's nothing more than that shyness creeping in! Both Jen and Erna however put me at ease and were wonderful to work with. They were both true pros and could strike a pose that just worked from the word go!
I can honestly say with hand on heart that everyone taking part in the workshop were all lovely, genuine people. It was such an energizing experience to be surrounded by like minded folk, and to actually interact outside the realms of a Facebook group and have a giggle. I've hopefully made some new friends from this experience, some new contacts and a renewed sense of confidence and creativity.
To that end I want to thank Joel and Whitney for hosting such a special weekend that I'll always hold close to my heart!