WILTON/RIDGEFIELD – Want to take better smartphone photos? Weir Farm National Historic Site is offering a new workshop titled The Art of Phoneography, led by Visiting Artist Xiomáro three times this year. Xiomáro, a nationally-exhibited photographer, aims to provide tips and tools for participants to create dynamic, artistic photos using their smartphone. Registration is required for the free workshops – held on June 16, July 7, and September 23 (all from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm) – by calling (203) 834-1896 ext. 28. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the series, a fourth workshop has been added for October 7.
Point-and-shoot cameras and professional DSLRs are welcome, but the workshop is primarily designed to take advantage of the “best” camera – the smartphone that is always in one’s pocket ready to capture a fleeting moment. “The secret to better photographs is not in the camera. It’s in applying the principles used by artists like Julian Alden Weir” noted Xiomáro. “This is why Weir advised a young painter to throw away his brushes, go out in the country and paint with a stick. In the workshop, we’ll go out on Weir Farm to observe nature at spots that inspired masterpieces. And our phones will be our sticks.”
Xiomáro explained that seeing and creating a photograph is different than looking and taking a snapshot as many people do. His workshop will introduce five key artistic principles demonstrated with slides of smartphone photographs and paintings. He and the group will walk the park grounds with the challenge of rediscovering the beauty of light and color in the everyday world.
“Weir was big into experimentation. So we’ll have fun trying out new things and viewing the images we produce,” said Xiomáro. His aim is to make photography accessible to more people by minimizing the technical know-how that is often a barrier. “I’ve seen expensive DSLRs set on automatic because the knobs are overwhelming. He believes that, through the workshop, some will learn enough to turn their sticks into brushes and be ready to handle f-stops, ISOs, and other technical settings of a dedicated camera.
There is a close historical relationship between painting and photography with each influencing the other. For Xiomáro, Weir Farm is the ideal place for such a workshop, the first of its kind at the park. Art has been continuously created there for the past 137 years. The unique landscape has inspired three generations – Julian Alden Weir, Mahonri and Dorothy Young, Sperry and Doris Andrews – as well as the park’s Artists-in-Residence and visitors of all ages.
Xiomáro (pronounced “SEE-oh-MAH-ro”) began as Weir Farm’s Artist-in-Residence in 2011 and, starting in 2012, continued his relationship with the park as its sole Visiting Artist. Since then, he has become an internationally recognized artist and speaker whose photography has been covered by The New York Times, CBS Eyewitness News, and News 12. His work has been exhibited at Harvard University and throughout Connecticut at the state Capitol building, the Mayor’s Gallery in Stamford, and Congressman Jim Himes’ Bridgeport and Stamford offices. Next year, Arcadia Publishing is releasing Xio’s photo book, Weir Farm National Historic Site.
The Art of Phoneography workshop is free of charge, but space is limited and registration is required. To register or for more information, call Weir Farm at (203) 834-1896 ext. 28. Workshop dates are June 16, July 7, and September 23 (all from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm) at Weir Farm, 735 Nod Hill Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897. Participants need only bring their fully-charged smartphone (any brand is fine) or camera with plenty of available storage space for the new photos that will be created. A portable USB phone charger or spare battery is helpful. Comfortable walking shoes or boots are suggested along with some snacks. For more information visit www.xiomaro.com.
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