iPhone photo digest: December 2015 to February 2016

Seeing better: a workshop about looking IN to the world around you, not just AT it.

This workshop will be taking place on Sunday 10th February.

Photography is about using a machine to capture a moment and render it permanently. Whilst the gear you use to take that photo has an impact on the photo you get, the most important thing is how you see the world around you. This workshop aims to improve the way you see, whatever camera you are using to take photos with.

How we see the world (and which moments and objects we choose to photograph and how) is in many ways connected to our taste: what things we like, what colours we like, what kinds of places we like or feel comfortable in. How we see and how we photograph is very much a product of everything we’ve ever seen, every book we’ve ever read, every piece of music we’ve listened to, every movie we’ve ever watched.

Feeding & exercising your head for max creativity

Photography in a nutshell is about learning the machine, learning about exposure (controlling the light coming in to the camera) and then using the knowledge of these two to narrow the gap between the picture you have in your head and the one you get with the camera. It doesn’t mater which sort of camera you use. Even a smartphone has a way of controlling exposure.

The key to getting photos that make you happy is not just from achieving confidence with the mechanics of making them, it’s about tuning your eyes into seeing something interesting.

Especially these days, with the proliferation of visuals on the internet, we are bombarded with thousands of images every day. In some way all of these images have an effect on how we see the world around us.

As a professional photographer, I have to be sure to feed my head with not just a certain quantity of images every day but with images of a certain quality and value.

Some of what we’ll be discussing on this workshop are the ways in which I do that. Some of these methods will, I hope, work for you.

I also need to exercise my eyes and brain, to keep them fit. Fit for the purpose of being ‘creative on demand; the demand being when clients book me to create something for them.

Getting into a creative rut, feeling that I am not ‘really seeing’ the world around me; these are things I have to have exercises to deal with. I’m no good to myself or to my clients if I’m not feeling inspired or creative. But constantly feeling inspired or creative can be difficult, complicated and tiring. So how do we do it? We’ll be investigating this.

You can see some of my exercises here.

I keep a Tumblr as a scrapbook, which constantly feeds my creativity. It’s not quite as useful as it used to be since Tumblr restricted nudity on their site. But, it’s still a useful tool.

How will our workshop day work?

When is it? The workshop is happening on Sunday 10th February.

We’ll meet at T-Site in Daikanyama, where we can grab a coffee, have a chat and then spend a little while taking a look at some of the books and magazines there. This is a place I visit as often as possible, to ‘feed my head’ with creative materials.

From T-Site, we’ll walk down through a bit of Daikanyama and backstreets that take us down to the railway lines. We’ll stop in at Pizza Slice, for a bite of early lunch.

After lunch we’ll make our way along the road by the railways tracks to Ebisu, photographing along the way.

Our destination in the backstreets of Ebisu is the wonderful ‘Post’, a bookshop and gallery that has a great selection of photography and art books. There’s a small gallery at the back of the shop.

We’ll spend a little time at Post, looking at some of the books and chatting.

The next destination is the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, between Meguro and Shirokane. The walk there is about 2.4kms and we can shoot along the way.

The current exhibition at the Teien Art Museum features the work of Toshiko Okanoue, a photo-collage artist who came to prominence in the 1950s. Here’s a little from the museum’s website:

“Influenced by the Collage Novel of Max Ernst, her increasingly expressive works reflect a distinctly feminine sensibility. The raw materials Okanoue used for the works she created — foreign news magazines such as TIME and LIFE and fashion magazines such as Vogue — were a parting gift from the post-war Allied Forces. These fragments, mementos of the society and fashion which reflect the era, emerged as a major element in the creativity of this unique artist. In recent years, the world Okanoue presented has increasingly attracted attention; she now has an international reputation and is a major influence on contemporary collage artists.”

We’ll spend some time seeing the exhibition and then finish with a walk and shoot in the museum gardens.

This should bring us up to about sunset time. The museum shuts at 6pm so we’ll need to leave by then anyway.

My plan would then be to walk back into Meguro for a drink and/or something to eat. There are plenty of local choices there.

The logistics and fees:

The workshop costs 5000¥ which includes the 900¥ entry to the Teien Museum exhibition.

We’ll meet At Daikanyama T-Site in the middle of the two main sections of the bookshop, by the Starbucks, at 10.00am, Sunday 10th February. There’s a map here with the meeting point and all the main places we’ll be visiting.

Seeing better: a workshop about looking IN to the world around you, not just AT it.

Lunch at Pizza Slice is not included in the workshop fee. One large slice of pizza ranges from 390-500¥ And it’s very good. The restaurant is large and all non-smoking. You can see the place here.

We’ll aim to be done at the Teien Art Museum by 6pm. Anyone wanting to come for a drink in Meguro afterwards is most welcome.

What will I need to bring?

This workshop is all about seeing so whatever camera you have, be it an iPhone, Android, mirrorless, DSLR or a Hasselblad… all are welcome.

Bring a notepad and pencil. Or a tablet. Whichever you would normally make and keep notes on. There’ll be things to note down and remember.

We’ll be walking for various chunks of the day so bring some comfy shoes and something warm to wear.

The only other things required are a smile, an open mind and a thirst for increasing your creativity!

See you next weekend.

Here’s the signup form…..

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