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Thread: viability of photo workshops in your community

  1. #1

    viability of photo workshops in your community

    I am curious what the general attitudes, beliefs, thoughts are regarding the viability of having a noted photo workshop "center" in owns own community. I bring to example Rich Clarkson's program in Jackson Hole or the various programs/photo gurus at the Santa Fe site, or perhaps the Anderson Arts Center in Snowmass, Co.

    I ask, as a believer of such centers, because my community is lacking in this regard IMO, and it is something philosophical which interests me, & which I would encourage. in my community. Our local community college offers a few classes on "how to" & some PS work, but this is minor in my thinking.

    If fact, if any of you have economic or social data re: this matter which would be usefull or supportive, I would welcome it. I hope to bring this matter before some community members and adddress this issue. The economic impact would be significant I imagine and having noted NATIONAL photographers would create instant return/interest.

    Your comments or toughts re: a noted photo/workshop center in owns community.

    Raymond, In the Vail Valley, Co

  2. #2
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    They are lacking all over the place.

    The problem is there are only so many people who go on workshops, many take them as an opportunity to travel at the same time.

    I'm about to start giving workshops again after a break of over 10 years, but there are no photographers using LF near me, and instead I've been aske to go to Istanbul to run them occasionally.

    Ian

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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    I think some traveling to participate in a workshop is part of the attraction. One has to get out of their rut or daily responsibilities and go somewhere and do something a little different.

    Midcoast Maine has long been noted for art and photography and they are pretty well co-mingled now. Forever, we've had traditional famous artists painting and/or residing in the area. Winslow Homer, Wyeths (and associated Farnsworth Museum), etc..

    We've also had photographers in the area, but that hadn't been as big a deal in the community. Elliot Porter did a lot of work nearby, and is unknown outside the realm of serious photographers. We have the Maine Photograph Workshops in town, which has brought in many famous contemporary photographers to teach classes. What it does for the community in terms of economic impact is debatable, as many college age people don't have a ton of money, and formal photography/art education isn't typically a straight path to financial wealth. The town of Rockport ME is better off having it though, otherwise, it would be a dead town of aging retired folks.

    Nationally known photographers can walk the streets of Midcoast Maine without anyone batting an eyelash; it's really not a big deal and doesn't create instant interest or widespread public recognition. One of them can do a well publicized presentation in the community and only 100 people might show up, the majority of them being students and staff of the college.

    One major impact a school had on the area was when Kodak bought an old mill building in Camden and created the center for creative imaging. Basically leading the way with mac/scanning/photoshop/printing. Kodak eventually killed it, but the center imported a lot of talent into the area due to their full time staff that stuck around after the place closed. That talent has been useful to small businesses all around. A few of them probably teach at the college.

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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    I must be daft. I cannot imagine any photo workshop having even the most minuscule economic impact on even a small community - let alone a town or moderately sized city.

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    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    I must be daft. I cannot imagine any photo workshop having even the most minuscule economic impact on even a small community - let alone a town or moderately sized city.
    They might in that Ghost town Jim Galli lives in I bet the population doubles when he holds workshops.

    Ian

  6. #6
    -Rob bigcameraworkshops.com Robert Skeoch's Avatar
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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    One thing I found with workshops that run out of small towns is the townfolk reach a saturation point.
    I've attended a number of Maine Workshops and enjoyed them.... but got the feeling from the local people that they were tired of the students being around. Everyone had a feature/documentary done on them. The lobster fisherman had all taken out dozens of photographers who thought going out with a lobster fisherman was a great idea that only they had thought of.

    It was enough already.

    -rob

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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
    I must be daft. I cannot imagine any photo workshop having even the most minuscule economic impact on even a small community - let alone a town or moderately sized city.
    Picture a small to medium size town (<50,000) with a struggling art center/organization -- add a series of photo workshops over the course of a year if they have the facilities, and the extra income it might mean an easier economic time for the art center...and better social environment for the town. It would be many such activities like photo workshops, eco tourism, adventure tourism, etc. that would make the difference, and by not having all the eggs in one basket, more stability for the town.

    We are doing this in Newport, Oregon, where the Visual Arts center had an unused darkroom. If our 10 workshops/year mean 50 more motel rooms rented out and 800 more meals served in cafes per year (rough conservative guesses), I would say that could be significant.

    I'll be giving a carbon printing workshop there in November. Technically not during the typical tourist season but the timing could help bumping up the off-season visitation.

    Sorry no data...

    Vaughn

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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    I used to teach a zone system workshop as part of a series of photography workshops offered by the Florida Gulf Coast Museum in Belleair, Florida. Belleair is a small town but located in a densely populated area. I don't think the workshops had any effect to speak of on the town's economy, the students almost all came from the vicinity of Belleair. Then again I'm not exactly a big name likely to draw students from around the world. Judging only from the brochures I get from different workshops, I seem to see more Photoshop and related workshops than traditional photography workshops these days.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    We're having our 2nd workshop this year with Tillman Crane teaching Platinum/Palladium printing Nov 6-8 with a lecture the evening of the 5th. The earlier workshop was Michael Smith & Paula Chamlee's Vision. Daytona State College has great facilities with a seemingly large photo student body. Also have on campus the Southeast Museum of Photography. Despite all these advantages, getting enough attendees for the workshops has been a struggle (had to cancel one workshop this year). The economy hasn't helped either. So, unless you are in a great location that attracts many serious photographers, the results may not be worth the effort.

  10. #10

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    Re: viability of photo workshops in your community

    Different kind of photography class.

    I teach Walking photography Classes in my community. Here is a link. www.jfnphotography.com/events.htm The classes make me enough to cover the cost of my 4x5 film; I use a digital camera in the clases. The real benefit to me is the exposure, my web page visit triple when my classes are offered. I also get a lot of business from people that took my classes. One example, I had a lady that took my class e-mail me and ask if I could give a quote on 30 prints for there new offices building. Had people order prints because they seen one of my photograph in the paper. I run my class threw a local city. This is the way to go because they cover the insurance, and the local papers run there events for free, because itís a non-profit. My photos are used to fill space in the paper, sometimes ľ or Ĺ pages of the paper. I tried a large format class one year and I was only able to get 15 people to sign up for the class. I had to combine two classes to make one. The classes are fun to teach and you meet a lot of interesting people. Itís also a great way to fine new locations to shoot. Another way to look at it.

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