The Visionary Concept
The Visionary Concept
“With no disrespect intended to the instructors at the workshops I had previously attended, the tandem of Michael Gordon and Guy Tal were simply the best instructors I have had…” – Rick Russell, California
Guy and Michael believe that photography workshops should be much more than trophy-hunting expeditions, they also should encourage learning and artistic development, offer meaningful and enriching experiences, help inform your photographic work and guide you toward the heart of your art. We believe that photographs transcend the ordinary when made by engaged photographers who understand their own motivations, subjects and tools, and who work creatively rather than through repetitive formulas. These are the guiding principles behind Visionary Photography Workshops.
Our workshops offer a unique combination of philosophies, photographic field work and classroom instruction in beautiful settings. Students benefit from our decades of experience, diverse areas of knowledge, unique personal styles, and our intimate knowledge of the natural history and geologic processes that shape the locations where our workshops take place. Our goal is to provide you with knowledge, passion, and hands-on learning to improve all aspects of the creative photographic process: Remarkable locations, principles of effective visual communication through photographic images, and processing techniques to match your visualized images to their ultimate expression.
Visionary workshops are appropriate for photographers who already possess a basic understanding of their equipment, in any photographic format (film or digital).
A common challenge in photography workshops is the instructor’s ability to offer personal attention and guidance in the field. Participants may possess varying skills and levels of experience, and may require assistance when away from the group or as light is changing quickly. With two experienced instructors we are able to double the amount of personal attention we can offer. On any location we make sure to visit with each participant in person to answer questions and offer suggestions.
In addition, we bring to the table a rich and diverse set of skills and styles. We possess more than 50 years of combined photographic experience, more than 25 years of combined digital imaging experience, and more than a decade of working and teaching together. Few workshop leaders can offer this breadth and depth of experience. Our personal portfolios speak to our unique creative approaches. We have a long history of working in both film and digital media, color and B&W, as well as formats spanning from large and medium-format to digital SLRs, mirrorless systems, and many others.
We have chosen some of the most spectacular places in the American West for our Visionary Workshops. Far from randomly chosen photogenic locations, these are areas where we have worked for many years and with which we have intimate familiarity. Our personal knowledge of these environments makes the trip a richer experience beyond what you’ll find in guidebooks. Expect to visit locations that are off the beaten path, enjoy time hiking in great company, learn about the natural history of your workshop location, and gain insight into how to work with its unique visual characteristics.
Rather than merely bring you to a scenic location, we will share examples of our own work and describe the ways we interpret the landscape and how we approach such things as distilling effective compositions in chaotic settings, visualizing possibilities, and telling visual stories.
At strategic locations in the field, we present group discussions and lessons that can be exercised and implemented immediately following the class. Field classes are relatively short in duration and focus on both creative and technical skills with the goal of helping you to make images that are unique to your own style and way of thinking, even in places that have rich photographic histories.
Following each field class, we encourage participants to practice the skills learned and offer as much personal assistance as needed. As instructors, we consider it our first duty to teach and be available for our students. We do not use our workshops to pursue our own personal work.
Each Visionary workshop includes at least eight hours of indoor classroom sessions dedicated to Visionary discussions, image processing, and participant image review. In these classes, we review the editing and processing techniques we apply in our own work using live demonstrations. Students may follow along using their own laptop computers and images and receive immediate assistance with a variety of topics and questions.
Processing techniques are demonstrated using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.