Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eugene Richards Workshop at Center for Photography at Woodstock reviewed

Eugene Richards Portrait

There is an old saying that you should never meet your heroes. The thought being that you'll discover that they aren't "super" rather they're human and all that goes with that. As with most generalizations it may be true sometimes but not always.

I met Gene Richards this weekend and found him to be a gifted teacher. And a gentle and compassionate man without the outsized ego I had expected. He is as down to earth as you'll ever meet. In response to the many questions about research he was getting from the class he asked his wife, Janine Altongy to talk about her methods and ideas for our projects. I was surprised and pleased he took a seat at the back of the group and let her have her time "on stage".

Gene adapted his course plan to the needs and interests of the students. That can't be easy to do. He spent equal time on everyone's portfolio review and helped to direct them on their future/current projects. When presenting his work he talked about what worked and mistakes that he made. He was open and honest about all aspects of his career.

The first day he had us do a framing exercise and a portrait. The framing exercise required us to use a prime lens and not move in relation to the subject and make 20 frames. I commented to Gene on the difficulty of doing 20 frames and his reply was that we should be doing 40. He, of course, is right. I managed to work through it and made a couple that I liked.

On Saturday evening he gave a presentation on two of his projects. The room was packed. And the talk very well received.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock has a first rate staff and facilities. They are knowledgeable helpful hosts that are fun to be around. I commend whoever hired the workshop interns--they have 4 gems in Nikki, Chelsea, Megan and Kelsea.

I found the value I received from the workshop far exceeded the cost of attending. I highly recommend Eugene Richards workshops and CPW.

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