Workshops

A workshop can provide a productive laboratory for a photographer who is interested in exploring a particular aspect of their practice. This is the main idea behind the workshops I'm offering. They each cover a specific topic or a part of a photographer's practice. During a workshop, participants will produce new work, which is then being discussed by the group. At the same time, there will be discussions around the workshop's focus that look into relevant pieces or photography/art and/or writing. Unless otherwise noted (please see details below), the workshops will be held online in groups of 4 to 8 participants. Workshops are strictly limited to a relatively small number of participants to maximise the time and attention available for them.

The Workshop of Boredom

I’m living in this movie, but it doesn’t move me.
(from: The Buzzcocks — Boredom)

If you have no concept of time, you have no concept of boredom. You’re bored because the flow of time appears to be in conflict with what you expect to be happening. If you think about it this way, boredom, possibly the most underappreciated state to be in, opens up a vast field of possibilities. Boredom is not an external fact; it is not something you are subjected to by outside forces. Instead, it’s the outcome of a mismatch between the external world and the internal one.

“The contemporary terror of boredom, which testifies to its apparent inevitability,” Elizabeth Goodstein wrote in 2005, “is saturated with the post-Romantic resignation to a world in which neither work nor leisure can bring happiness to subjects who no longer hope for divine restitution in the next.” Eight decades earlier, while exploring the idea of boredom Siegfried Kracauer concluded that “[i]f […] one has the patience, the sort of patience specific to legitimate boredom, then one experiences a kind of bliss that is almost unearthly.”

The above provides the broad outlines of this workshop. Over the course of four weeks, its participants and I will explore what boredom actually means in the context of photography. We will study how the patience Kracauer mentioned can lead to an expansion of what might be considered an interesting photograph. To this end, we will discuss a number of texts, and we will set out to produce new work. In a nutshell, the idea is to make “boring” pictures in order to understand how useless such a descriptor actually is when thinking or talking about photography.

Each meeting will consist of a mix of conversations. Each week, there will be a text to discuss (which include both Goodstein’s and Kracauer’s essays). There will be examples of photography or other art to look at and discuss (participants are encouraged to share something that have come across as well). And there will be discussions of the work the workshop participants have produced since the last meeting. Given the short time spans between sessions, participants are strongly encouraged to use a digital camera or smartphone to take pictures.

Four weeks
Saturdays 12:00pm-2:00pm, 2:30pm-4:30pm EST
7, 14, 21, 28 January 2023
Open to all ages; intermediate to advanced levels
Limited to 4-8 participants
$400

Writing for photographers

You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.
— James Baldwin

You might not think of yourself as a writer. However, as a photographer you will be unable to avoid having to write about your work. Photographs are typically organised into projects, which come with a statement. Another important piece of writing is the artist statement — also a standard requirement in the world of photography. How do you produce those pieces of writing, though, when you’re not a writer?

We all have been taught to write. In fact, we write on a regular basis, whether it’s a shopping list on a small piece of paper, an email to a friend or business partner, a birthday card for a loved one, or whatever else. But that’s just writing, whereas producing the statement — that’s Writing, isn’t it? Well, no.

In this four-week workshop, we will cover the basics of how to write about one’s photographs. Specifically, we will see how the distinction between writing and Writing sets up a false dichotomy. We will learn what constitutes good writing in a photography/art context, and we will practice and discuss writing. In addition, the role of writing as a very useful tool for one’s photographic practice will be explored.

At the end of the workshop, each participant will have arrived at a fully formed artist statement, plus a statement for one of their projects. In addition, each participant will know how to apply the principles taught in the workshop to their future practice.

Four weeks
Sundays 12:00pm-2:00pm, 2:30pm-4:30pm EST
8, 15, 22, 29 January 2023
Open to all ages and intermediate to advanced levels
Participants need to have a finished or almost finished project that they can write about
Limited to 4-8 participants
$400

How To Sign Up

Send an email jmcolberg@gmail.com, and we'll arrange all the details.

Also, email any questions you might have.