The Art of Seeing and Creating — 2020


The Art of Seeing and Creating — 2020

from 200.00

Instructor: Bruce Barnbaum + Guest Lecturers

June 22 - 26, 2020

Workshop Fee: $1050

Deposit amount: $200 (non-refundable)

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Top Photograph: Barnbaum -- Elastic Reality, Skrova, Norway

What is the difference between a good photographer and a great one? It's generally the preparation and mindset that make the difference. This workshop delves deeply into that question, providing a number of ideas that could transform your photography from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Most people think that all you need is a camera to be a photographer. But that's like thinking that all you need is a pencil to be a writer. Neither is true. You need more. In addition to "having a good eye," you have to train your eye to find the best relationships of forms between the foreground and background. You have to train to recognize and then avoid distractions and unimportant areas within the frame that can be so easily overlooked. And you have to lead the viewer's eye to where you want the viewer's eye to go. 

To be a photographer you have to identify the subject matter that truly matters to you, and understand how you want to convey your thoughts about it to the viewer. You have to learn that light is the key to any photograph, because it's simply the only thing the camera records. It's a robot that focuses light sharply. A camera doesn't know a face from a mountain; you do! So you have to learn how to make the light levels that the camera records work for you to convey the essence of the face or the mountain to the viewer. You need the technical skills of properly exposing and then processing your imagery, whether you choose digital or traditional methods—to make your statement. From the start you also have to be thinking creatively about your ultimate goals, so your imagination has to be a major part of the process.

But what drives creativity? Why do some people create new and different ideas in their field, while most people continue producing little more than snapshots? In this workshop we delve into questions like this to promote new thinking, new seeing, and new approaches to your photography. You’ll find the insights to be both startling and deeply meaningful to you.

Most workshops deal with the technical aspects of exposing and developing the final image, centered on using the tools of Photoshop. This workshop deals with those issues, but its prime goal is to deal with creativity, above all else. In fact, this workshop concentrates on seeing and creativity, which serve as the basis for Bruce’s recent book, “The Essence of Photography: Seeing and Creativity.” At the workshop we can probe these issues in open dialogues with no time limits. We bring in guest lecturers who will open up new methods and avenues for you to present your images in the best way possible. No other workshop anywhere offers this opportunity. 

We delve into why you are drawn to the subject matter you’ve chosen. How do you feel about it? What do you want to say about it, and how can you get viewers to see your message? We view photography as an editorial commentary expressing your feelings not as a journalistic exercise reciting what you saw. How can you proceed from the scene before your eyes—a landscape, portrait, still life, street scene or any other chosen subject matter—to the most effective photographic image? 

We believe that the creativity can be taught and can be learned, and then put into practice. In this workshop we ask all participants to compile a list of books you've read that you feel have helped improve your own creative abilities. During the workshop we create a complete list of that bibliography to distribute to all students. In this way, we help one another. We also review each student's work brought to the workshop, discussing all aspects of the work, from the technical side to the aesthetic side to the emotional side to the creative side of the images presented. Bruce Barnbaum and guest lecturers show and discuss their own work, their thinking behind the imagery, their methods, and their materials…and they'll answer any and all questions you have about their work. There are no secrets.

This is an unusual workshop. It appears to be distinctly different from all other workshops presented elsewhere. Bruce serves primarily as a facilitator, but also a student if you will, looking to improve his own creativity along with the other “students.” We recommend you sign up early, for spaces are limited.

Workshop Details: The workshop begins at 9:00 a.m., Monday morning, June 22, 2020, following breakfast prepared and served by Bruce’s lovely wife, Karen, at their home. We request all students to arrive the evening prior to the workshop (June 21), getting to meet one another, to join us for dessert, wine, some pleasant conversation and good vibes with the entire household, including Bruce and Karen's dogs. Breakfast will be served each morning at the same location. The workshop will end Friday, June 26, 2020, at about noon. In-between, there will be guest lecturers, thorough reviews of all participants’ work, viewing and complete discussion of Bruce’s work…all with an eye toward the creative and interpretive level of the work and ideas presented.

In addition to all this, we will ask all participants to bring a list of up to five books, videos or other publications, that you feel have helped you expand your creative and interpretive horizons. We will discuss these publications, and create a full bibliography for each participant to take home with you. The rest is up to you!  

If you have further questions, please contact Bruce through his personal email address——or phone him directly at (360) 691-4105.

Alternatively, to register by regular mail:

Download the workshop application to your computer from here: 

Workshop Application.doc  or a PDF version: Workshop Application.PDF

Again, if you have questions that require immediate answers, email Bruce at or phone him at (360) 691-4105.