Earthy Bolivia

As I have written before, the photo workshop I taught in Bolivia in the end of September and the beginning of October was a great experience for all, for the participants and the organizers alike.

Bolivia is a splendid country for a photo workshop. The people are open and hospital, the majority of which live a simple and down-to-earth life, their culture rich and colourful and not the least the nature they are surrounded by, with breathtaking mountain ranges, spectacular valleys and lush forests.

As soon as the participants had acclimatized, they captured amazing images, and better and stronger for each day of the workshop, as could be seen in my post Excellent Photography a couple of weeks ago.

Here are a handful of images I was able to capture myself. They don’t come close to what the participants were able to produce. But that’s how it should be, they were in Bolivia to learn and photography, while I was there to teach and guide. I am only happy they got home each with a strong portfolio of Bolivia photos.

Excellent Photography

© Jathushiga Bridget Rajah
© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin
© Vigdis Robberstad
© Katharina Dale Håkonsen
© Monica Broen
© Nicolaas Kuipers

As I wrote in my last blog post, the photo workshop in Bolivia in the end of September and beginning of October was a great experience for both participants and the organizers, that is me and my colleague Sven Creutzmann.

Not only was it great experience, though, during the ten days the workshop lasted, the participants grew and showed significantly developments. Of course, to varying degree. For anyone who is already an experience photographer, it’s always harder to show any drastic improvements. However, those in an earlier stage of their development have a larger potential for advancing their photography. And that’s exactly what happened during the Bolivia workshop. It was great fun to watch how they all were able to capture stronger and more enchanting images, particularly as the days went by and towards the end of the workshop.

Here is a handful of their captivating images, showing the rural life in the eastern mountains of Bolivia. Enjoy!

A Delightful Bolivia Workshop

I have just returned from teaching my latest photo workshop in Bolivia. It was a really fun workshop, with dedicated participants, lots of photo opportunities and plenty of enjoyable moments. Most important for us, the workshop teachers, was seeing how each participants were able to develop their photography during the 10 days we were travelling in eastern parts of Bolivia.

This workshop involves a lot more travelling than most of the workshops I teach. More or less every second day we were taking off to a new town or village, which both makes the workshop more adventures as well as add some pressure with regards to being able to find time for picture critiques and lectures every day.

We were travelling in the footsteps Che Guevara and his failed revolutionary attempt in Bolivia fifty years ago. Following his last days was just a framework for the travel not a theme for the photographing—unless participants chose to do so. After meeting up in Santa Cruz, the financial hub in eastern Bolivia, we took off first to Samaipata, then to Vallegrand and La Higuea before returning to Santa Cruz. The highlight was no doubt La Higuera, a small village high up in the mountains with a handful of houses and only 43 inhabitants.

I think it’s fair to say, that the combinations of daily feedback on photos the participants take as well as being able to photograph one and one next to either me or my colleague Sven Creutzmann, with whom I taught the workshop, give a good dynamic for each participant to develop his or her photography. The result was noticeable. A lot of very strong imagery was captured during the workshop.

This is the third team we have organized this workshop.

Here are a couple of glimpses behind the scene during the workshop. Later on, I will get back with photos we shot during the ten days in Bolivia.

On the Road Again

As you are reading this post, I am getting going teaching another photo workshop in Bolivia. It has just started. Today, Monday, we are heading out from Santa Cruz, the regional centre in eastern Bolivia, to the village of Samaipata. Over the next week plus, we will continue to Vallegrande and La Higuera and finally head back again to Santa Cruz at the end of next week.

I have been looking forward both to be on the road and not the least to teach this workshop again. Last time we did it—that is my friend and colleague Sven Creutzmann and I—was back in 2013. We have a nice group of participants with us this time, most of whom have attended at least one of our workshops before.

This is definitely a photo workshop for the more adventures photographers. Yes, here in Santa Cruz we stay at a great and quit luxurious hotel, but hereafter it’s going to be plenty of bumpy roads and the most unpretentious of accommodations. Simply because that’s all there is in the towns and village up in the eastern mountains of Bolivia.

The tour will follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara. For some he was a hero, for some a terrorist. No matter what you think about him, the history and how it all ended here in the mountains of Bolivia is fascinating.

I will try to keep you posted about the trip and the workshop as we go, but cannot promise anything. Internet is not well accessible in these rural areas. Anyway, here we go.

Develop Your Visual Language in Seattle

Come along for a photo workshop over an extended weekend in Seattle in mid September. If you need some inspiration, if you want to push your photography, if you want to advance your visual language, this is the perfect workshop for you. From September 6th to 9th, the workshop will be focusing on how you can develop your photography and your photographic expression.

Through daily lectures and picture critique, I will challenge you and stimulate growth of new visual ideas and your creativity, as well as stretching your ideas of what a good photograph might be. The workshop is less about technique than about imagery, however we will of course talk about technique when and if necessary. Nevertheless, the focus is primarily on the visual language and the creative approach to photography.

During the workshop, we will explore various neighbourhoods of the city. We will head down to the waterfront of downtown Seattle; the mixed, former hippie district of Fremont as well as other areas. Against a backdrop of jaw-dropping scenery, the waterfront is all about walkable fun, where quirky shops, seafood eateries, and iconic experiences await. Fremont is the artsy, waterside enclave where people come for a selfie with the gigantic Fremont Troll and enjoy the neighbourhood’s free-spirited charm.

I will walk and photograph with participants on an individual basis, which I have found that former students always appreciate the most. By photographing side by side, you can learn from my approach, but also give me a chance to suggest ways to change your own approach. I believe in challenges and in expanding into new ways of seeing and capturing and this will be the underlying force through the workshop.

Does this sound interesting? You’ll find more information about the workshop “The Visual Language” in Seattle here.

Or you can ask for the brochure for the workshop here.

Maybe I’ll see you in Seattle?

Come Rain Come Shine

This weekend I taught a photo workshop in Bergen, Norway. Despite not having the best of weathers, I was impressed with the participants’ efforts. They were out early in the morning, shooting, shooting and relentlessly defying the weather.

What I enjoyed even more was their willingness to accept the challenges I forced upon them. They took it straight. For some it was losing control and become more reckless, for some it was approaching people on the street, for some it was not shooting sharp images, and for everybody it was to keep shooting long after they felt they had overly and too long disrupted whomever they stopped on the street.

It’s a natural instinct, to capture one, two or maybe even three photos of someone on the street and then let go. But most likely that will not be enough to produce captivating images and break the first inhibition and the subjecting wanting to play up to the photographer. On the street, the photographer has to keep going, keep shooting, 20, 50 maybe 100 photos of a situation. I know, it’s not easy, you feel you step over what is acceptable behaviour, but those who try often find out surprisingly how willing people actually are. As the participants of the workshop found out.

The participants not only defied the weather and the challenges, but also brought back some excellent images. At a later stage, I will display some of their work here. For now let me just inform that I am teaching another weekend photo workshop in Seattle from September 6th to 9th. If you may be interested, you’ll find more information about the workshop “The Visual Language” here.

As of tomorrow I will take off on a two weeks holiday in Ireland. I will be away from the blog sphere during the holiday. But I will be back in the end of June. Take care friends.

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.

Your Own path

When you first pick up a camera, you start down on a creative path. How far you go—or even how far you want to go—is all up to you. There is no right or wrong. There is no saying how far you should go. And there is certainly no need to feel you have to keep developing your photographic skills or your photographic vision.

If all you want is to play with your camera, if you just want to capture moments in your life, to keep as memories, without any photographic ambitions; do it! Have fun—that is the whole point, anyway. Too many “serious” photographers forget the fun part. They lose the playfulness that is such an important part of the creative endeavour, what probably brought them into photography in the first place.

This path you have undertaken—whichever direction it takes you—is all yours. In many ways, all you need is walk the walk, photograph what photographs you capture, and immerse yourself in the process. Gain confidence as you head down the path; learn to create by creating, become skilled as a photographer by photographing. If you trust the process, if you trust yourself and your inherent creativity—which we all have in us—in time you will master what needs to be mastered. The path will open up for you, if you become susceptible to it.

All this is easier said than done, though, and a guiding hand may more often than not be of great help. It is like undertaking a spiritual journey. You can become spiritually enlightened by work of your own mind, but a master by your side may help you not lose track of the path.

So it is with photography. Someone to guide your development can speed up the progress. I see it in all the workshops I teach, how much each participants grow through the week or whatever length of a workshop. And I know it myself from attending many a workshop. As a matter of fact, now in May I will once more enrol in a workshop, this time in Rome. Very exciting.

Maybe a photo workshop would be worth considering for you, too? Maybe it’s time to develop your photography. I would be happy to se you onboard one of my workshop that I teach this year. See further down for workshops I will be teaching.


I have a task for you. Would you be willing to answer some questions for me? I am doing a little survey to tailor new workshops to your needs. It could be beneficial for you and—and of course for me, too. The survey will only take a few minutes.

To the survey   Get my e-book 10 Great Tips for free.


Workshops in 2019:

Next year I am going to teach no less than four workshops. They will vary from weekend long workshops to a tour stretching almost a fortnight. There should be a workshop for most aspiration.
 
“Street Photography in Cuba” is a workshop I do together with my friend and colleague Sven Creutzmann. It’s our most popular photo workshop and offers a great opportunity to experience the colours, the contradictions, the rhythm and the passion of this country unlike any other. “Street Photography in Cuba” takes place from May 4th to 11th 2019.
 
“The Personal Expression” is a weekend workshop in Bergen, Norway. It’s an intimate and personal photo workshop, in which you will get a chance to work on and develop your personal expression as a photographer. “The Personal Expression” takes place from June 7th to 9th, 2019.
 
“The Visual Language” is an extended weekend workshop in Seattle, USA. In this workshop I will focus on the visual language—as the title indicates—and you will get a chance to develop your skills in visually telling stories with your photography. “The Visual Language” takes place from September 6th to 9th 2019.

“On the Tracks of Che Guevara” is maybe the workshop I am most excited about being able to re-launch. It takes place in the eastern mountain area of Bolivia and we will follow the tracks of the last days of Che Guevara before he was killed in these mountains. This is another workshop I do together with Sven Creutzmann and one we haven’t offer since 2013. “On the Tracks of Che Guevara” takes place from September 23th to October 2nd 2019.
 
<font color="#990000"Please follow the links for more info about each of the workshops.
Or shoot me an email (by answering this one) and I will send you more information.

Two Adventures

I think there is no better way to develop your photography and creative skills than attending a workshop. It’s usually a concentrated couple of days or a week full of intense experiences in which you will be pushed beyond your usual boundaries. Through daily teaching, practice and not the least feedback, you get an invaluable chance to grow and expand. Moreover, the exchange with other students is such an inspirational and transcending experience. And if you choose to attend a workshop out of your regular environment, for instance going to a foreign country, the travel will become a source of stimulation in and of itself.

As such, I would like to promote two photo workshops I am teaching this year. They will certainly be adventures for anyone attending them. One of them takes place in fascinating Cuba in the late spring while the other heads to little exploited areas in Bolivia in the autumn.

Cuba needs no further introduction. This Caribbean island nation is pure bliss for a photographer of any kind. The colours, the light, the energy, the culture, the history and not the least its people—Cuba is a blast for all sense. Anyone who has travelled to Cuba knows this. For the same reasons Cuba is heaven for a photo workshop.

Bolivia is more subtle and more reticent, but nonetheless an equally fascinating country to visit. It’s first of all a mountainous country, colourful in its own terms, particularly the country’s majority of indigenous people in their traditional costumes. It’s a laidback country, authentic and unpretentious. Beautiful countryside. Lots of history. Exciting food. And, yes, for photographers Bolivia offers plentiful of opportunities.

My Cuba photo workshop runs from May 4th to 11th. During the week, we will start up with a couple of days in Havana and then head out to the picturesque, colonial city of Trinidad for the remainder of the time. For more information, look up Street Photography in Cuba.

If Cuba is an adventure, so Bolivia is even more. This photo workshop will take you to the eastern mountains of the country, where we will follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara’s last day before being captured and executed. We will visit small towns and village not usually visited by tourists. This photo workshop takes place from September 23rd to October 2nd. For more information, look up On the Tracks of Che Guevara.

Whether you attend one of my workshops or any other photo workshops taught by other organizers, I strongly recommend the experience. I know both as an organizer and one who participates myself. Later this year, I will attend a photo workshop myself in Rome. Maybe I’ll see you there?

How you ever attended a workshop—and how was the experience?

Two More Workshops

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I have two more photo workshops in planning for next year. In addition to the ones already announced in respectively Cuba and Bolivia—which are longer, up to ten days, workshops—I will teach two shorter weekend long workshops in as different places as in Bergen, Norway and Seattle, USA. Both have magnificent nature as well as the temperate climate in common, but otherwise they are two quite different cities.

Attending a longer photo workshop is a more intense and very expanding experience. You get a chance to work thoroughly with you photography and dig deep into your creative resources. Extended feedback over many days will most certainly guide you into a new phase as a photographer. You will leave the workshop with a different and deeper understand of how to shoot and become a better visual storyteller.

However, not all of us have a week or two at our disposal for a photo workshop. That’s when weekend workshops come in as a good alternative. Even if you spend shorter time exploring possible new photographic approaches and have less time to learn, you will still gain a lot during a three days photo workshop. A weekend workshop might be even more intense, simply because you want to get as much as possible out of the days.

My first weekend workshop takes place in Bergen, Norway. We set off after working hours on Friday June 7th 2019 and wrap it up Sunday evening the same weekend. This is the same weekend as the annual and traditional, old fashion market takes place in Bergen—with lots of photo opportunities. During the weekend, the focus will be on how to develop your personal, photography expression. I will talk about the process from vision to final output; and how to use the visual language to express your photographic vision.

The workshop in Seattle will run over an extended weekend from September 6th to 9th 2019. Like in Bergen, we come together on the Friday evening after work but continue through Monday over the weekend. During this workshop, I will more extensively be looking at the visual language. As a participant, you will learn how to transform what you see for eyes into strong visual stories that will captivate your audience.

If you want to learn more about these two photo workshops, please look up “Your Personal Expression” in Bergen and “The Visual Language” in Seattle. Maybe I’ll see you there?