Getting the train up to Dublin on Friday night from Cork, I was a little anxious about the Mobile Photography Workshop of the following day. Had I everything prepared; did I know my stuff; would the participants enjoy the session; and probably most importantly – would the dreaded rain hold off for our photo walk? As it turned out, it was lashing rain on the morning of the workshop, but thankfully it cleared up in time for our photo walk, and yes, everything else went really well.
I was given quite the surprise when I woke on Saturday morning to see a notification on my Instagram feed telling me that Sir Cam – Cambridge University photo diarist – was on his way from Cambridge to Dublin for my photo workshop in The Gallery of Photography. He had got up at 3 a.m to catch the early morning flight from London to Dublin.
I really did not believe it until I saw him greet me with his great smile in the gallery just before the start of the workshop. I had met him a couple of times previously; once at MojoCon and then again in London for my Meet the iPhone Photographer interview, and on both occasions I was struck by his infectious cheerfulness and passion for photography. We did not have much time to catch up until lunch when over some lovely vegetarian food we picked up on our conversation from previous times. It is true what they say: Photographers need to spend time with other photographers. Being with someone who shares a similar passion can only be a good thing.
And that too is what is great about the workshops. I love photography and clearly if people are going to give up their time and hard-earned cash to come to a workshop, they love it too. Being in this environment is invigorating. But, one of the first challenges is to get people comfortable and chatting. Coming from a background in education I am very much aware of the learning process and how best to facilitate it. An easy way to achieve this is with a little ice-breaker. Before the workshop, I had sent out a questionnaire to the participants to find out a little background information about them and to discover what they needed and expected from the workshop. This allowed me to design what is called a “Find someone who…” activity. What happens is the participants get to mingle to find those who correspond to the questions. It gets people up and gets people chatting and very soon people get relaxed and comfortable.
The main focus of the workshop is to cover the basics in iPhone photography – how to get the most from the native camera app, the basics in composition, light and content and then a hands-on interactive walk through on how to use Snapseed. We also look at some of the other apps out there and what they can offer, but for me Snapseed is a one-stop-shop for all your mobile photography needs. Then we break for lunch and after that we hit the streets and shoot. The Gallery of Photography is right in the middle of Temple Bar, in the heart of Dublin’s tourist centre. On a Saturday afternoon there is so much going on, so it was perfect for some street shooting.
The thing that always gets me about these photo walks is the huge variety of images people come back with. Very often we are walking in the exact same direction but we observe such differing things. That’s what makes it great. I will be sharing some of the images participants made on the day in the near future, but for now here is a composite of images from the day from Sir Cam.
After the photo walk, we got back to the gallery to work on the images we had shot. As we were working on our images, I circulated and gave some one-to-one attention to each person. I must say some of the photographs I saw were really top class.
Then we mixed the groups up a little and the participants were able to share the images they shot and discuss how they processed them. I stood back at this point and it was nice to see the enthusiasm everyone showed for their own shots and those of the others.
So, I am continuing on my learning experience. Each workshop this year has brought me something new and I am trying to build on each experience and work towards constructing better sessions for the participants. The feedback from those who took part has been very positive and the two galleries I am working with have been a great support, as have the sponsor – Olloclip.
Looking to 2016, there are workshops planned for both galleries. In Cork’s Glucksman Gallery, there is a workshop planned over two Saturdays – allowing participants an intervening week to get some shooting done. The dates for these are: January 30 and February 6 (10 – 1 p.m). The Dublin workshop in the Gallery of Photography will be on February 20th (11.30 to 5.30). Olloclip Lens will continue to sponsor these events and provide great prizes for the best shots created on the day. Mobiography – the world’s most prestigious online magazine for mobile photography – will judge the images and a selection of them will appear in the magazine.
Hope to see you there!