(photo © Igor Boscolo, TPW 2010 student)
The recent conclusion of my TPW workshop gave me reasons to think about the meaning of a (serious) workshop nowadays.
For years I have been repeating that photographers teach when they don't have to shoot (any photographer prefers to shoot over anything else..). People that teach a lot have very few assignments, is my guess. But this is partly true. The experience is an enrichment for the teacher too: discussing ideas with young students, browsing the pattern and experiences of other great teachers, and above all vampiring the enthusiasm that we tend to lose after some professionally-troubled years. And, yes, also the wish to pass on some personal knowledge.
But why should people become students in a workshop? There are some good reasons to do it, and some not to: depends who you are and what you are looking for.
A workshop cannot teach how to photograph in one week; neither can give (not existing) tricks to accelerate the process to go pro. These are the dreams of dreamers, of people that give photography a superficial approach not appreciating the long way this art-profession has already gone through, and even less, the crucial radical changes that we are living today. Indeed these are the times of a revolution that we need to ride, not the comfortable re-run of past experiences (I mean, nobody will have the story and experiences of photographers that worked between the 50's and the 90's: that way of life is gone forever).
On the other end a workshop can give you a lot of useful time-saving indications. If the student is willing to listen (not an easy assumption) can obtain from a (honest) teacher useful informations on how not waste time and energy in useless, but generally wrongly perceived, ways of growing. Can rather learn how to focus her/his creativity in realistic and contemporary projects, professional trends, artistic perceptions. This is a priceless support that only a workshop can pass on.
Therefore the workshop today should be open to people willing to enhance their perception of photography, developing their personal focus and style, regardless of professional intentions they may have. Actually I think photography, the "real one", will be more for non-professionals in the future: the freedom from monetary burdens and subject requirements will give creativity and inventiveness a rare opportunity.
I posted the final results of my students in Facebook, as well as my personal presentation. Just follow the links to see. Till the next teaching... Thanks guys!