Photography Workshops at Penland



We have eliminated the early-registration lottery. We will begin accepting registration for 2018 summer workshops at 9:00 AM EST on Monday, January 8. Registration for full-pay students will be on a first-come, first-served basis and will continue until workshops are filled. Spaces are reserved in each workshop for scholarship students. Scholarship applications are due by February 17.

Penland offers 1-, 2-, and 8-week classes taught by visiting instructors in our well-equipped studios. Class topics include traditional and digital photography, darkroom processes, portrait photography, documentary video, lighting composition, narrative photography, and more. Workshops are open to serious students of all levels unless specified in course description; beginners welcome.

Photo Summer Session One
May 27-June 8
Christopher Benfey & Neal Rantoul
Word & Image

Using readings from seminal writers and photographic works from important photographers as a foundation, we’ll assign exercises that will help students create words with their images and images with their words. We’ll be out in the studios and the surrounding community making pictures with digital cameras and writing creatively. We’ll work to describe with precision and sympathy what is portrayed photographically while forming a vocabulary to deepen our understanding of our pictures. All sorts of digital cameras are welcome (except for phone cameras). Students are encouraged to bring a laptop computer with Lightroom software. All levels. Code 01P

Christopher: Professor at Mount Holyoke College (MA); Guggenheim fellowship; author of eight books on literature and the arts. Neal: Professor emeritus from Northeastern University (Boston); collections: Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), High Museum (Atlanta).

Neal Rantoul, "Before and After Aerials, CA 2015," archival pigment print, 17 x 22 inches
Photo Summer Session Two
June 10–22
Sally Van Gorder
Narrative Photography

How do photographs convey meaning and communicate a story? This workshop will explore how narrative is created by determining content, controlling the camera, organizing the frame, and establishing a point of view. We’ll discuss how stories can be created with single or multiple images and learn about artists working in both fictional and documentary modes. We’ll experiment with form, composition, order, sequence, and pacing to discover organizing possibilities. We’ll cover basic camera techniques, shooting in available light, Adobe Bridge and Photoshop, and printing. Students can make new images or build on an existing body of work. All visual storytellers welcome. All levels. Code 02P

Teaching professor at North Carolina State University, Brightwork Fellow at Anchorlight (NC); other teaching: Virginia Commonwealth University (Qatar), Oregon College of Art and Craft, Pacific Northwest College of Art (OR); exhibitions: North Carolina Museum of Art, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (NC), Contemporary Art Museum (NC).

Sally Van Gorder, "We Wait Softly," archival pigment print, 11 x 17 inches
Photo Summer Session Five
July 22–August 7
Brian Taylor
Photography in Three Centuries

Let’s explore photography in a creative and intuitive way. We’ll begin with the beautiful 19th century gum bichromate printing process, allowing us to make multicolor photographs on surfaces like watercolor paper and fabric, which can then be used for handmade books, collage, painting, and drawing. Then we’ll move into the 20th century darkroom and explore innovative printing techniques with traditional black and white. Finally we’ll explore 21st century cell phone photography and digital printing. We’ll have lectures, slide shows, demonstrations, and plenty of time to produce your own beautiful artwork. All levels. Code 05P

Studio artist and executive director of the Center for Photographic Art (CA); teaching: California State University San Jose, University of California (Santa Cruz, Berkeley), Stanford University (CA); grants: NEA, Polaroid Corporation; collections: Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), George Eastman House (NY).

Brian Taylor, "Signs of Life," toned silver gelatin prints in handmade book, 16 x 24 inches
Photo Summer Session Six
August 12–24
Dan Estabrook

Just twenty years after the invention of photography, the technology had advanced to an almost sublime degree, with the perfect marriage of the glass-plate negative and the albumen print. In this workshop, we’ll revisit the techniques of 1859, as well as the history of that era and what it might mean for photography in the future. Students will learn the complete wet-plate collodion process, starting with tintypes and ambrotypes, but moving quickly to glass-plate negatives. By week two, we’ll be printing these negatives using our own prepared albumen papers. As with any time travel, period costumes are not strictly necessary, but may be useful. All levels. Code 06P

Studio artist; teaching: Arrowmont (TN), Center for Alternative Photography (NYC), Penland; NEA fellowship, Peter S. Reed Foundation grant (NYC); collections: Art Institute of Chicago, Israel Museum, Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris); representation: Catherine Edelman Gallery (Chicago).

Dan Estabrook, "Interior (Nude)," embossed albumen print, 10 x 8 inches
Photo Summer Session Seven
August 26–September 1
Jerry Spagnoli
The Daguerreotype: A Contemporary Approach

In this workshop, you’ll use the same materials and many of the same techniques that were common at the dawn of photography. The daguerreotype is an absolutely unique process, unlike any photo technique you’ve used before. We’ll use the Becquerel method of development, which avoids the most dangerous elements of the traditional daguerreotype process. Be prepared for a new way of thinking about photography. Students should have some darkroom experience and knowledge of how to calculate exposures; view camera experience will be helpful. Code 07P

Studio artist; teaching: Photographers’ Formulary (MT), Penland; collections: Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Art Institute of Chicago, Oakland Museum (CA), Chrysler Museum (VA), Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Fogg Museum (MA), National Portrait Gallery (DC); two monographs published by Steidl.

Jerry Spagnoli, "LGBT Parade 2017," daguerreotype, 14 x 11 inches