Bruce Barnbaum Workshop

Last weekend was a part of a six day marathon of sorts where I put 900 miles on my car over six days.

Three of those days were spent with Bruce Barnbaum ( in his “Art of Seeing” workshop. Bruce is arguably one of the best black and white photographers and traditional printers in the world today. His 16×20 prints from 4×5 negatives were astounding in their detail and luminosity.

The image “Boulder & Metamorphosis Wave” is just one example and I urge anyone who loves black and white photography to visit Bruce’s web site and explore his portfolios.

The main part of the workshop time involved the participants presenting a portfolio of work for critique and discussion by Bruce and the other participants. This was not an exercise for the faint-hearted. Although overall the feedback was quite positive, I found that some of what I thought were my best images were evaluated as not so interesting even though one of those had been in two juried exhibitions and had won an award in one of the shows.

I was reminded that lacking obvious technical flaws, the process of reviewing, judging or jurying photographs (or any art) is a very subjective process. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, the artist must put it in context and make his or her own decision about how to apply the information.

But overall, I found the feedback very valuable and the good news was that my more recent work got the most positive comments and the consensus was that it was the strongest work in my portfolio.

We also did one field shoot Saturday at dawn at Pennyfield Lock on the C&O Canal. I had to leave the house at 5 am to get to the location by 6:30. I anticipated this with some trepidation with the weather forecast having freeze warnings for that morning.

However, a couple of cups of coffee got me started and when I got to the location I set the camera on a tripod and set off to find photographs. I said that getting up in the middle of the night, going out and freezing my butt off waiting for the sunrise was not my idea of fun. A mist hung over the Potomac as the air warmed fairly quickly and there was little wind. I hardly felt cold and actually enjoyed myself.


Click on the image for more

The six day marathon was completed after two days in Morgantown, WV where Malinda and I attended the 2009 Arts Assembly representing the Berkeley Arts Council.

A fun and interesting few days but I am glad to be home.

~ by Rsmith on November 11, 2009.

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