02 Apr Finding the freedom to see

Source: Olafs Photoblog

What an incredible three weeks it has been! Kasia and I just returned from a photographic trip to Europe where I was leading the Visual Poet Experience Workshops in London and Berlin. I had the privilege of working with an amazing group of photographers from around the world.

One of the features of the Visual Poet Experience Workshops is the honest, image-centred discussions we have as a group. We all come from different places and it is natural that we differ in many instances. Regardless, I urge my students to communicate their thoughts, whatever they may be, regarding their way of shooting or looking at the imagery. Instead of masking the differences with meaningless pleasantries, we underline them to challenge each other’s seeing. What’s remarkable is that once we start working together and shedding our photographic skin and ego, the dynamics in the group change radically.

When an image pops up on the projector, the free flow of ideas, observations and conclusions involve even the most reserved individuals. We become instant photographic friends when the most painful feedback is viewed as a platform for growth. It is true that we all shoot the same scene but one student captures it in such a creative bold new way that the image stands out from the others. We cherish such moments because in this way we expand our seeing horizons and regain our freedom to see. The worst you can do at this stage is to water down great work by treating

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