Block Island in Black and White
I have realized that in teaching classes and workshops I have made great strides in my own work...'teach it 'til you know it' I recently heard said. And so, with the most recent Block Island in Black and White Photography Workshop, I have begun to explore the elusive contemplative photography and using visual concepts like metaphor. With the introduction of poetry (my heartfelt thanks to Lisa Sprague) as inspiration before our practice in the field, understanding of the role of visual symbol and mood took hold for the participants.
Some of the lessons related to technical aspects of digital photography such as exposure, bracketing and the use of long shutter speed for water movement. There were opportunities for interior photography without the use of tripod, exploration of light and shadow and movement towards simplicity. The inclusion of discussion with poetry readings, discussion of individual use of metaphor...fences, lighthouses, layers and connecting to the beauty of the island really brought the group together as one concept led to another's revelation.
The exercise of stopping and becoming more aware of one's surroundings, allowed the coming forth of subject and the emotion attached. Through a more patient workflow, the images made transcended the snapshot and became expressive of more personal and intimate connection.
For four days we explored Block Island, experienced the spontaneous, and shared words and images of gratitude, reverence and creativity. I am grateful for this group of friends who came together from different backgrounds, who left their comfort zones for the purpose of learning black and white photography on this beautiful island. We became friends who shared new ways of seeing, new techniques, many laughs, epiphanies and left full, exhausted and inspired!