Back to School

Some kind of normalcy has returned, if only temporarily—I taught my first photo workshop again since the lockdown of the world. It was nice to feel at least to some extent what life used to be like. Before social distancing. Of course, the workshop participants and I still needed to comply with the requirements of social distancing as well as observe general infection control as prescribed by health authorities. However, we could nevertheless enjoy a weekend of photographing, learning and discussions.

The workshop took place in Bergen, Norway last weekend, starting on the eve of Friday and going through Sunday. The group was very small, only three participants and me—which made it possible to run the workshop without risking the health of neither the workshop participants nor people they photographed on the street during the weekend. As mentioned social distancing was implemented throughout the workshop.

For me in particular, it was good to get back into teaching as we—that is my colleague Sven Creutzmann and I—had to cancel the planned photo workshop in Cuba in the end of April and the beginning of May. Despite the special circumstances I had great fun during last weekend, as I think was the case for all three participants.

As always, when teaching a workshop, I learn and get inspired just as much as the participants do. We all see differently, and it’s really fun to recognize the difference and pick up ideas from each other. It was an powerful weekend with a couple of intense days.

Here are but a few glimpse of the participants in action.

58 thoughts on “Back to School

  1. Oh Norway! We were there visiting family for 3 weeks a year ago now. I loved it. Will go back someday. I noticed the houses in Farsund where we were, were all either white, gold or burgundy red. I asked our cousin why that was, but he didn’t really understand my question. I wonder if there are some rules within cities about what colors the outside of houses must be painted? I see the same colors in one of your photos. What fun to have a workshop again! We are still under a stay at home order, so I am doing photography locally or alone in my car in the country. I look forward to being able to travel again, but here in the US the numbers of sick are going up again. We don’t take direction very well, and too many people are not observing the health recommendations.

    1. There are generally no rules for colours on a house. White is just a the traditional way of painting houses is Norway. Partly because back in the days, it was the less expensive painting. As for the increased corona outbreak in the States, I read about it, and wonder what it will take to make some people understand the seriousness of the situation. Because I do see a lot of Americans, too, observing social distancing and implement appropriate infection measures. I hope the situation soon will turn to the better.

  2. Congratulations on achieving “some kind of normalcy,” that quality has become increasingly difficult to define and reach in the U.S. The photographers and subjects all seem to be enjoying themselves, it’s good to see.
    You’ve got the class taking pictures of people, while you take pictures of the photographers, now you need someone else to photograph you, and so forth, to see how far you can sustain the hall of mirrors! 🙂

    1. Photography in n-th dimension, no? I think we are lucking in Norway, first of all because we are less densely populated than most countries. But also because the authorities quickly started implementing measures to slow down the outbreak – and people took the necessary measures to heart. There is generally a pervasive trust in the authorities in this country, which helps a lot.

  3. That’s wonderful Otto, that you got back into the swing of teaching, it must have felt great to you and your colleague. I was wondering about, that there is no mandatory of wearing masks anymore in Norway. Have a great weekend , Otto.

    1. So far masks have not been mandatory, because, as told by health authorities, more important than masks are social distancing and since we are less densely populated than most countries in the world, it’s easier to observer and adhere to.

  4. I’m glad you had the opportunity to have some normal, and I’m sure all of you got a lot out of the weekend workshop. I hope it’s true that social distancing is more important than the masks because I like seeing people’s faces.

  5. It must have felt good to get back to your teaching again, even if it was ever so cautiously. I didn’t see any face masks in your pictures. Are they not required in public there? We’re not so far along in opening up over here. Bergen is looking lovely, if still a little chilly. Jackets still being worn in June!

    1. No, there are no requirements for using masks in Norway. As long as we can keep the spreading down to almost nothing, as it is not, I think it’s going to stay this way. As for the temperature. It was quite normal weather for the month. 🙂

  6. I’m sure you and the students in your class feel much changes to go out doing the loved activity. Although the group is small but I think that is better (IMO) and these days with less people in the street at least for me is a good time (at least for me – but if you are looking for people and lively of the place then that may be less than ideal).

  7. It’s wonderful to see you out there enjoying your workshop and taking some great photos. I think this is the first time I’ve actually seen pics taken in Bergen , such a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing !

  8. I;m very pleased you’ve been able to make a partial return to ‘normality’. A teacher MUST teach: it’s their lifeblood!

  9. So nice to know you are going back to an almost normal life. And even nicer to see you teaching, I’m sure you all had a good time in the beautiful Bergen. and with less tourisys around itmust have been a different feeling!

  10. That’s great news, Otto! I like the third photo of the woman and the man on the street, gesturing. It looks like one man is using a small camera – I’m curious to know what it is. I hope all continues to go smoothly in Bergen. So far, so good over here – phase 2 for us and a modified phase 1-2 for Seattle. You’ve probably heard about what’s going on in Capitol Hill with the Autonomous Zone – very interesting times!

    1. Yes, I follow the development in the States. Interesting times, indeed, as you write. About the photo: One of the participants in my workshop, the guy with the small camera, came across a woman who was on a photo walk in Bergen – and starting photographing her. And of course, I had to photograph him, photographing her.

  11. Otto, how lovely to hear things are taking a positive turn in Bergen. I think Norway has done so well with controlling the virus early on. Kudos to your government and the people for playing their part so well. Things are not so good here in the UK, but fingers crossed we are over the worst now. It is all about the “new normal” now isn’t it? I hope more of your photography workshops will resume soon.

    1. I think the Norwegian authorities have done a good job, although I am not agreeing with everything they have done. It’s still not back to normal, though. We have to observe social distancing and for instance events cannot cater to more than 200 people – if they comply with the infection provisions.

  12. How wonderful that you and your students could get out and about (even without masks!) Were your students mostly local people? I can’t imagine getting on an airplane just yet.

  13. Åh så glad jag blir över dina återupptagna lektioner! Måste kännas både bra och lite underligt…har världen öppnats? kommer det att bestå? kommer det en backlash?…ja många frågor snurrar runt i huvudet och ingen kan svara…förstås!?
    Hursomhelst så är det glädjande och jag hoppas att det fortsätter så. Allt gott till dig och keep on teaching!
    Och du vet att jag längtar till ditt vackra land…längtar så det nästan gör ont.

    1. Du har så rett. Så mange spørsmål – og ingen svar. Men det tar nok en stund ennå før verden åpnes, både her i Norge og ellers omkring. Men, ja, det var veldig kjekt å kunne kjøre en workshop igjen. Så skal jeg arrangere en i Nord-Norge til høsten, og får se om det lar seg gjøre til den tid…

  14. Great news, you are way ahead of us! What a relief to see that it works, works well and even for a bigger group. Photographing photographers is always fun.

  15. I am glad you are doing well, in Bergen, here I am no so optimist, figure it will take at least to the end of the year for things to go back to some sense of normalcy, if another surge of the pandemic doesn’t shows up.
    Best wishes, Otto. 🙂

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