Tag Archives: Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Upcoming classes at Glen Echo Photoworks, Glen Echo, Maryland

I’m offering three classes coming up this fall/winter at Glen Echo Photoworks, a center for creative photography and photographic education at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland, just outside Washington DC.

The Male Figure in Narrative Photography 9/19 – 11/7/2014 Fridays, 7-10pm

Go beyond standard figure studies. Research historical context and learn to use the male nude form to tell a story in a series or just a single frame through posing, lighting, using props and capturing emotions. What is “narrative photography”? Narrative tells a story either in a series, or a single image. From the earliest days, photographers have been using the male figure to tell a story in their work, be it as a stand-in for himself (Hippolyte Bayard) to express his response to criticism, to confronting eroticism and gender confusion in the world of Latin American bullfighting (Reuven Afanador) or a tool to process inner personal anxieties (Connie Imboden). This course will examine the use of the male nude in narrative photography. We will use examples from historical and contemporary photographers as a background to inform and inspire our own work. Students will be encouraged to create both single image and serial narratives to take their work beyond mere figure studies. We will also discuss issues relating to gender and sexuality with regards to the use of the male nude. We will cover understanding of the male form, posing, basic lighting, the use of props, and basic nude model etiquette. Students will be expected to know how to use their cameras, light meters, and how to process and present their own images. Weekly research topics will be assigned. There will be three shoots with one or more models, plus classroom instruction and discussion sessions. $350, plus $150 model fee.

Introduction to Platinum/Palladium Printing – 11/8 – 11/9/2014 (Saturday/Sunday, 10am-4pm, two day intensive weekend workshop)

Platinum/Palladium is one of the most beautiful alternative processes. This course demystifies the process and teaches how to make good negatives, select papers, coat emulsions, and process prints for archival stability. $350, plus $100 materials fee, payable to the instructor.

One Camera, One Lens – Learning to See 1/15 – 3/7/2015 (Thursday 7-10pm)

Too often our gear keeps us from making better pictures. Photographers often fall into the trap of thinking that more gear is the solution to every problem, when in fact it can be a crutch or a burden. This course teaches how to simplify and focus our creative vision so the camera gets out of the way and becomes a tool not an obstacle. Students will use a camera of their choosing, and a single lens. They will select a project in the first class and follow through on that project, presenting images for critique each week. Students choosing to work with wet darkroom techniques will be expected to know how to process and print their own film; students working digitally are expected to have a working knowledge of their camera and digital image processing tools of their choosing. No changing lenses allowed! $350

The courses will be posted soon to the website, but in the meantime if you want to find out more about Photoworks, please check out their website and their Facebook page-



Photoworks is one of the few facilities with regularly scheduled open darkroom times, and at $8/hr for wet darkroom (bring your paper, we provide the rest!), it’s hard to beat!

Great Article from Petapixel

What I’ve Learned About Photo Gear Over the Past 40 Years

Terrific summary and great dispelling of the constant upgrade myth. A great photographer can make great images with a pinhole or a Brownie box camera, in addition to a CaNikSonEikaBlad. A mediocre photographer gets caught up in an upgrade chase thinking gear is the solution to a skills problem. Don’t get me wrong, gear is fun, and its always nice to have the right tool for the job – there are photos you can take with a Canon 5D that you can’t take with a Hasselblad, and photos you can take with an 8×10 Sinar you can’t take with a Leica (the old “don’t use a hammer to do a screwdriver’s job” adage). But when it comes down to it, it’s far to easy to blame the tool when we don’t get what we were looking for (“I would have gotten the photo if only I had an xxxx”). This is part of why I’m fixating on my Rolleiflex. It’s just one camera, with just one lens – it’s forcing me to pay more attention to what I’m shooting and how I’m shooting it rather than running around with two or three bodies and half a dozen lenses in two or more formats. My Argentina trip of a few years ago was a prime example – I had the 5×7 with six (SIX!!!!) lenses, 13 film holders (13!!!!), and a tripod, along with my Contax G1 with 45mm and 28mm lenses. While I did take some wonderful photos in each format, I’m pretty sure both suffered as a result. Certainly, there were photos I could not have taken with one that I did with the other. My Recoleta cemetery photos would not have happened with the Contax, and my street scenes in San Telmo and La Boca would not have happened with the 5×7. But by dividing my attention between the two systems and two ways of thinking probably meant that I wasn’t fully in the mindset of either system and then tried (and failed) to make images with one that would have been better done with the other.