Thinking in storyboards these themed photography trips put imagination first
A new twist for the photography trips format
Drawing inspirational sources from film, historical art, literature and mythology
You’ll spend a week putting together a puzzle
Creating your own visual story
I for one have never been a fan of one word themed competitions, finding inspiration from one word always sounds too much like a lazy school approach. But, expand the theme idea into photography trips that are structured, directed and immersive and which also allows participants to individually create their own vision. Now this is an idea worth exploring. Read on to find out what I’ve put together. Across a week’s creative holiday it ticks many boxes.
Films, historical photography, art and literature all inform our collective understanding of a place and we can use these as a platform to create our own imagery.
Based in one distinctive location, we can explore the different facets of a theme that is strongly connected to the place, employing our own visual style that reflects its history and visual associations.
But these retreats can also offer another layer. We can take a visual style from any sphere and use it creatively to hang our story approach on. In 1965 Jean-Luc Goddard made a dystopian science fiction using Paris at night as his backdrop. The architecture in austere black and white, lit by fluorescents, made the perfect fit. In a similar way, we can also cross-pollinate visual approaches from films and art across to our retreat location.
You should think of the photos you make as storyboard images, part designed in approach and building towards an overall look and sequence. You’ll probably want to make a book and we can cover this on location.
Through exercises and an individual self-initiated visual approach, you will craft a personal interpretation using a blend of whatever fits within the location; misty landscapes, religious iconography, street scenes, interior still life or portraits, etc. The stylistic approach will be up to you, but we will provide you with visual inspiration to draw from.
Alongside having fun, you will develop your photography through using angles, lighting and compositional awareness to create the look and feeling for your images. You will have access to interiors and props to intentionally craft shots if you so wish. An approach not dissimilar to the guerrilla tactics of a low budget movie shoot.
Mashing up genres and mixing art, folklore, moments from films and even children’s stories is at the heart of it. You may want to be influenced by many elements but for sure you will reference back to classic paintings. You can mix up your mediums; black and white, inversion, multiple exposure, ICM, iPhone, completely working across genres. It’s open, the only limits is your imagination and the technical aspects of photography, which you will get beyond, with instruction and feedback from both tutors.
Re-cap of theme elements
Making a photo story using the history and art of a region as a starting point.
A photographic sequence based on your own interpretation of the local surroundings referencing films and painting.
Thinking in storyboards, and drawing on influences to create a shorthand summation of key elements, to convey your story of a place.
A book outcome that leads viewers through to an understanding of an individual vision and interests, wrapped in a theme.
Our daily workshop base for viewing and reviews will be a historic building.
There will be trips to locations throughout the week to include special landmarks, landscapes, key buildings, etc.
A pre-retreat pack to get you started with clips, articles and a general visual and historical overview of your location and theme.
On location evening screenings of films related to the setting. We’ll include Hammer Classics, art films and short experimental if it’s relevant.
Presentations on style and approach referencing historical images.
Daily feedback on your images.
Day trips to different locations for image gathering.