what I did on my summer holidays
… and so began my essay every September after getting back from the 6 week summer break. How wasted was that amount of time on us back then?
Anyway, this past week I spent 72 hours up in the North Carolina mountains getting my third eye squeegeed quite cleanly by none other than Parker J Pfister Esq. and his “Not the same old sh*t” workshop. For those in the crowd who are unfamiliar with Parker’s work, he was rated one of American Photo Magazine’s top 10 wedding photographers in the world a couple of years ago and is an all round amazing visionary and top geezer.
I won’t ruin the surprise of the workshop for future attendees, but, suffice to say, over the course of the two days of shooting, we were put through our paces with a number of quick-fire challenges designed to get us out of our comfort zone, challenge our creativity and way of looking at the world both with and without a camera. It was pretty relentless stuff and I came back feeling both refreshed and exhausted, in a totally fab way.
Here’s how the sh*t went down:
After a slap-up meal and “getting to know you” session on Monday evening, we started out early on the Tuesday morning and were thrown in at the deep end with the first of the challenges. There was no slow start. In fact the first challenges were amongst the most difficult as we were charged with making interesting pictures with the most mundane household objects. From there, we progressed through the day having more and more scenarios thrown at us involving lighting, composition, etc. before decamping for the Biltmore Estate where more photographic merriment ensued. After that, it was back to the studio for pizza and a photo critique session that went on till almost midnight.
The following day, we started off back out at the Biltmore and got a chance to look into Parker’s own approach to scoping out a room and deconstructing each of its components to provide ideas for creative images. From there, more exercises into the afternoon, a trip to a ballroom to discuss creative lighting for the reception and then back to Parker’s studio for the finale photo shoot. From there we headed out for dinner together at a local brasserie.
The final morning and early afternoon were spent reviewing our favourite images from the two days, some of mine you can see below. We also discussed workflow and post-production before saying our farewells.
Parker was ably assisted over the course of the three days by Jeff Woods and a legion of talented models, a hair and make-up artist, a dress-maker and the local denizens of the great town of Asheville.
One of the great things about the whole experience was learning from the other attendees. Seeing what other creative individuals came up with in the challenges and during the more free flowing shoots was pretty mind-blowing. Thanks guys!
Anyway, here are some images that show some of the parts of the workshop without necessarily giving away any spoilers for future fellow travellers.
Thanks, as always, for reading.