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Monday, October 25, 2010

US Workshops Tour, Day 1

Being invited to come to a country like the US to run photography workshops is both daunting and exciting at the same time. There is the initial excitement of the chance to travel, to meet wonderful people, to teach and to tick a couple more boxes in your personal bucket list. For me, all of this happened during our recent Creative Photo Workshops tour. The daunting part is hoping that you live up to the expectations that surround the arrival of two photographers who have been invited from Australia to run workshops that some might consider possible for any local photographer to run. As you can imagine, we were met with that curiosity from so many who came to our workshops in the US. Why these guys? Why not a local photographer? However, I believe that Glynn and I form a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. That's not ego talking, although we both have our share. Its just something I believe in when it comes to what he and I bring. We believe in education, passion and fun for our photographers. We are also from that mysterious land down under, where women glow and men plunder, apparently. You better run, you better take cover. 
Glynn gets a little excited about our workshops...
No wonder Glynn has a bad back...
Glynn and I were invited to run a series of workshops for Fullerton Photographics in Fullerton and Paul's Photo in Torrance, Los Angeles, California. It was our second time around for Paul's Photo and our first chance to do our thing for Fullerton Photos. After making our mark on these two retailers, we were booked to head for Allentown, Pennsylvania where we had been cordially invited by Dan's Cameras to run a series of workshops for them. Having been as busy as we were, I wasn't able to blog. So, come back to the blog and I will keep you up to date on what we were doing and the madness that ensued. Lets start with our first day, shall we?
Fullerton Photo is run by Gaby Mullinax, a very smart and rather lovely woman I had the pleasure of meeting at PMA in Anaheim earlier this year. Glynn had already pitched the idea of workshops to her and now his pitch had come to fruition. So, off we were to run the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” workshop for her customers.
The day arrived and Glynn and I found ourselves surrounded by about 20 Orange County Women, each with a different level of photographic experience and equipment. That being the case, we adapted on the spot, trying to get the girls to come to grips with their cameras and the basic functions that make for great photographs. After that, it was time to do some actual cool stuff. Out came the models and our chance to set up some photographs. It was then that we realised the value of the lessons we had presented in the first couple of hours.
Gaby had cleverly named the workshop as she did and the theme “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” gave Glynn and I the chance to run it as we saw it, as long as they had a giggle and learned something too. To be honest, it is our ability to instantly adapt to situations that has often made the difference between a successful workshop and a disaster. Our combined experience with people and our years in the industry mean that we can sometimes pull a workshop out of our hat, instantly adapting from what we had planned to do to that which is necessary for the customers who have come along. While that is never our intention, we are often compelled to do so in order to cater for a workshop group that is unique in its expectations or experience. Such was definitely the case with our first day back in Los Angeles. It is a rewarding afternoon indeed when you can prove that a red t-shirt against a green garage door can produce some wonderful images. It was a giggle, and Glynn and I learned something also. We learned that our new Fedoras look awesome on us!
Model: Bonni Mircovich
LA ...not so Confidential
Our Film Noir workshops in Melbourne have been very well received, and its reputation as a photographic event preceded us all the way to Torrance, California. Mark Comon, all round great guy who owns Paul's Photo, insisted that we run that event for him as our 'kick-off' for the series of workshops we were running for him. I love that event, and I love shooting in that style. Mark had ensured that he'd purchased a fog machine, so we were set - except for the pistol prop. We had not brought ours from Australia. I have heard its not a good idea to travel with things that look like guns. Hmmm, wonder why. Mark Comon had bought these piddly little plastic pistols that looked small in a child's hand, let alone look real for the event. Glynn drove around in vain from camera store to camera store looking for a plastic pistol that was relatively life size. No go. Apparently, while real guns are sold over the shop counter in LA, trying to get a plastic replica is too dangerous. Go figger. In the end we had to settle for the anachronistically unsound air pistols that a customer's husband dropped by. At least they were big enough!
Our customers loving every minute...
Image straight from Ricoh GRDIII
So, we were set to go. A ProMaster lighting kit and the costumes we brought from Australia were all we needed to establish the event. Models arrived, and it all happened. Well, most of the models arrived. Nicole and Bonni Mircovich were right on time, and she looked fabulous. Bonni worked with us for every workshop in LA and she never let us down. A beautiful girl with a beautiful spirit. I would work with her anytime. However, our male model was nowhere to be found! What is Film Noir without a private eye in a Fedora and trenchcoat?
Bellboy to the rescue. Yes, that's right. During the course of the evening, one of the young bellboys who had been helping us with power and access to various parts of the Hotel stepped up to fill in the void. Being tall and slim made him perfect for the part and he was happy to spend his evening doing something very different from his usual occupation. So, the evening's shoot went very well, and we were happy to have our first official workshop day over. I was very pleased with many of the images straight from my Ricoh GRDIII actually. Damn I love that camera! bed to sleep and wake to run yet another workshop in the morning. Stay tuned....
Mark Comon 'shoots' with model, Nicole

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