Before You Attend That Workshop

If you’ve been creating work for some time now its a really big step forward to submit your work for a workshop. Why you ask? Imagine a group of talented individuals looking at your work, focusing all their energy at it. What more could you ask for. Photography workshops are definitely a great way to get critique, feedback and explore new options with the subjects you’re pursuing.

I’ve now been a part of a few workshops including the ones in Delhi Photo Festival, Magnum Workshop in India, etc and I’ve realised that any workshop demands more from the participant than it does from a instructor. So before you go to any workshops with your work, there are a few things which you must keep in mind.

Workshop
Karthickeyan Bangaru & Chandrasekhar Singh at Justin Maxon Workshop by Emaho Magazine, New Delhi 2014

Think About Your Work
A lot of people come to a workshop expecting to find meaning in their work or get encouragement about what they are working on. Workshops are not meant to boost morale. They are designed to refine your thought process and share ideas. So before applying for a workshop, think about what you’ve been working on. In the workshop, you’ll be asked questions about your own work, your intentions and ideas will be questioned and its important that you’re clear in your mind about the why’s. A lot of people break during their critique sessions only because they have not spent time thinking about their work enough.

Prepare Your Project Summary
This section is separated from the project you’re going to be presenting. Its different because what you have to say about the work will provide the audience with an idea about what is it that you wish to show, what was the original idea and how close is the result to its original concept. Your project might be great but the summary provides a contrast between theory and practicality, also defining the scope of your work.

Be Prepared To Ask The Questions Which Matter To You
Don’t come in a workshop and expect ideas to just present themselves in front of you. Yes interaction and exchange of ideas would happen but they would be a lot more potent and resonating if you know what you want and what you’re looking for. Find out where you’re stuck, talk as much as possible about the difficulties you’re facing with the audience and the workshop mentor. Be vulnerable and admit that you’re lost, it will only make you open to inputs.

Keep Your Ego Aside
The critique being given is not a personal attack on the photographer but a opinion on the work being presented. So try not to take it personally but as a constructive feedback to show gaps in the idea which need to be filled in.

Research And Research
When you bring your current project to the workshop, also bring along the ideas which you tried for the same project but didn’t work or ideas which you haven’t been able to execute yet. So if you made a mock book or a slide show or even just a few prints, bring them with you.

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