It was a thrill for me to conduct the workshop at the Mark Twain Library in Redding, Connecticut, and in the very room where the original library was housed. In addition to Mark Twain, the community is also where famed photographers Edward Steichen and Paul Caponigro lived as well as other artists of renown. As was the case last year at Weir Farm National Historic Site, the workshop filled very quickly and a waiting list was created. To accommodate the demand, we decided to admit five additional participants and the waiting list was closed.
The library, which was expanded some years ago, has a beautiful cozy interior and interesting exterior architectural features. There are sculptures on the grounds as well as a wooded trail by a creek and a waterfall across the street.
As always, I’m impressed by the level of dedication from the photographers in attendance. At least one drove over an hour within Connecticut while another was in town from Vermont. Another returned for a refresher after having taken my workshop at Weir Farm last year.
The audience for this workshop was definitely among my most enthusiastic and engaged. There was a lot of laughter and camaraderie. They were a knowledgeable group with several coming from the New England Camera Club Council and bringing dSLRs. In fact, my lips were literally chapped from responding to the many good questions that were asked — what a nice “problem” to have.
There was a lot of interest in the Xenvo smartphone accessories that I brought along. These were provided to me by the manufacturer, which I have been using for the past year with much success. The accessories include the combination wide angle/macro lens, the SquidGrip flexible tripod and the Shutterbug wireless remote shutter. The lens and tripod were passed around to see and try out during the photo walk.
Red River Paper provided me with samples that I distributed to the attendees for printing their workshop photos. I exhibited several of my smartphone photos — framed, matted and printed 17×25″ and 11×14″ — to demonstrate the excellent results one can achieve when using quality papers. I have been using their papers for many years for my museum exhibits, photo ceramics and print sales.
Although my book, Weir Farm National Historic Site (Arcadia Publishing), will not be out until June 3, my smaller books were available. Many took advantage of the 25% discount I offered for The Art of Phoneography: Book One, which explains how to apply the techniques of dodging and burning, creative cropping and conversion to an artistic black and white finish using any iPhone or Android smartphone. The booklet is available here.
I am grateful for everyone at the Mark Twain Library for hosting this successful event. In particular, I appreciate Victoria Winslow who attended the workshop at Weir Farm and invited me to bring it to the library. My thanks also goes to the media, particularly Richard Pheneger and Peggy Nelson for interviewing me on their State of the Arts program on WPKN 89.5 FM; and for Gwen Edwards at News 12, Janet Serra at Western Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau and Jean Hebert at the Connecticut Office of Tourism for announcements and articles.
Most of all I thank the attendees who were a very fun and creative group. Take a look at some of the interesting photographs they created during the photowalk, which actually began with…me. They took the five artistic principles I taught to heart and I became a canvas for the abstractions projected on me by my PowerPoint. Once outside, we had a great time taking photos, getting questions answered and discussing more techniques and tips.
So check out these creative images ordered alphabetically. And consider this piece of advice from the great photographer Minor White, which I will paraphrase: one should spend at least 20 minutes looking at a photograph.
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