The Personal Narrative: Photographing with Light, Style, and Intent

Instructor: Bastienne Schmidt

Producing work that is truly one’s own and developing a personal aesthetic is an ongoing process for any practicing photographer. This workshop is for students who would like to develop a more personal expression in their photographic work. Discussions address composition, media, lighting, print style, and emotional meaning in imagery, as well as the works of master photographers. Students complete exercises designed to develop a personal voice, hone their editing skills, and pinpoint the unique elements in their work. Each student receives assignments specifically related to his/her past work. Questions reflect on the concept of photography and memory. We explore the relationship between photography, narrative, and personal memory.

We review student portfolios on the first day of the workshop. Students are asked to bring 15–20 photographs from an ongoing personal project along with a brief written description or narrative statement. We look at the individual work but also make references to the work of other photographers to create a larger historical context and to gain a better sense of each other’s intentions. The second and third days are devoted to photographing together, at one indoor and one outdoor location, with an emphasis on creating an image with a purpose, in terms of composition and the use of light, natural or artificial. On the fourth day, students bring 15 prints either from the new work or from an ongoing project. We sequence stories according to different storytelling methods. On the final day, we review photo books relevant to the workshop theme. Everyone can contribute their most influential and important photo book.

Workshop fee is $250 + $30 registration fee.

This course will be held in two locations. From August 17–19, the class will be held at the Southampton Arts Center at 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton, New York. From August 20–21, it will be held at the instructor's home at 414 Butter Lane, PO Box 1018, Bridgehampton, New York.

This class is offered in collaboration with the Southampton Arts Center and the International Center of Photography.

Bastienne Schmidt is a mixed-media artist working with photography, painting, and large-scale drawings. She was born in Germany, raised in Greece and Italy, and has lived in New York for the past 20 years. Her artwork is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, International Center of Photography, Brooklyn Museum, Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in over 90 exhibitions at venues including ICP, the Brooklyn Museum, The New Museum, The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, and the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach. She has published five monographs, among them Vivir la Muerte, American Dreams, Shadowhome, Home Stills, and Topography of Quiet. She is represented by the Ricco/Maresca Gallery in New York.