A Roman Stance

Last week I attended maybe one of the best workshops ever. It was taught by the Swedish photographer Martin Bogren and took place in Rome. Five days of intense, demanding and tough photographing and teaching. We were pushed beyond our comfort zones and felt both enormously encouraged and hard-pressed. It’s the kind of workshop style I like, whether I am teaching myself or attending one. It’s all about complete focus on photography. If we were not out shooting on the streets of Rome, then we would either have sessions of picture critique, Bogren showing us his own masterly work or processing photos ourselves for the next critique session. No time for anything else, hardly for sleep.

Martin Bogren is not only an excellent photographer of world class, but he is also seeing his students, their needs and pushing them in a direction they need to go in order for them to develop their photography. He is generous and insightful, as well as tough when needed and encouraging when that is needed. He has a quite and soft way of approaching students’ work as his own photography, but also resilient and strong beneath it all.

I came back from Rome with the hard disk loaded with photos. Plenty of meagre results—whish is always to be expected when shooting on the street, but quite a few that are pretty good. Martin Bogren was able to open up new aspects of my photography and he has given me a new direction. Here are a few images from the Roman workshop. I’ll let them stand on their own.

60 thoughts on “A Roman Stance

  1. The photo of the man just above your text reminded me of a famous photo or two of Ernest Hemingway. The entire set is compelling. It’s interesting to me that my least favorite is the third. It doesn’t have the same, slightly brittle, feel of the others that seems to portray a gritty, unromanticized Rome.

  2. Wow, it is very raw emotionally and the looks between people or on a person’s face either tell a story or are intriguing.I thought of the word “gritty” as well. I do like the graininess of the photos.

  3. Fascinating results. I love them. In a curious turnaround, it’s as if you turned down the lights for a closer, more intimate look. Thanks fo sharing, Otto.

  4. It’s great that you nourished your creativity with immersion in the workshop. I particularly noticed a new edge to your work: each black-and-white image defines itself through an illusionary lens/patina/veil. They seem to portray a new sensibility and voyeurism in your work.

  5. Impressive work Otto, I particularly like the last picture, so much to see in this photo..light and shade, graffiti walls, the intriguing poster, the women ..Choosing to do them in black and white is genius.

  6. I think the photographs are absolutely stunning, Otto! I really find #4 and #5 extremely noteworthy! It’s wonderful you had the opportunity for such an informative and challenging workshop. In Rome, no less! 🙂

    1. It was exciting in so many ways, both the place itself and the photography. One of the things I enjoyed was the fact that I didn’t “have to do” any of the tourist attractions.

  7. A push and a shove. What we all need at times. A cohesive and in your face set of images. Well done.

  8. I like the old man and the boy best. Both feel like there are stories in them I want to hear. I’m glad you enjoyed your workshop and trip. It will be interesting to see how it influences your future work.

    1. I intent to take this further with me in new projects. It’s not like it fits with all I do, but some places it will be fun to work more with this approach. And, yes, both the boy and the old man have their stories.

  9. I really like these photos!! the black and white, the blur, the whole thing!! and wow, it seems you have learned some new tricks! xoxox

  10. Wow! Love the black and white dramatics…like gleaning into the soul of the city and its people…fleeting, yet compelling.

  11. your photos do stand on their own – so much to like in each photo and as a post – they work in a series- I like the glasses and the pairs in some – and your processing is rich.
    glad you had a great workshop

  12. Wow, Otto, this is exciting. I’m glad you don’t just teach workshops, but take them, too. That’s smart.
    And there is no question that you were inspired by this workshop. The photo of the older man (the 4th) is outstanding! The young boy with glasses is memorable as well. They are all interesting images, full of emotion and something profound – I think what I see in them is that you were deeply touched. Fantastic!

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