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Fall into Photo with Keith Johnson

The Extended Image with Keith Johnson
September 22 – November 15, 2013

Spaces are still available in this eight-week photography workshop.
There are also a few work-study scholarships available.

Keith Johnson, Planes Flying Left


Sometimes one picture just isn’t enough.
That, in a nutshell, is what Keith Johnson‘s fall photography workshop is about. “It’s about storytelling through photography,” says Keith. “It’s about taking an idea and extending into a body of work. With multiple images, a narrative, time study, or comparison can emerge to create a visual experience that’s larger than the sum of its parts.”

To do this, students will work with narrative, typology (a study of things that have characteristics in common), topology (a study of a certain place), grids, time-based work, and other approaches. Each of these ideas will be supported by specific assignments, lectures, and slideshows. Each student will also create a print-on-demand photography book through the Blurb website.


Keith Johnson at home.


“Traditionally, a body of work has been exhibited in a linear presentation with equal spacing between pictures,” says Keith. “While this method is effective, it may not be the best way to reveal layers of information and emotion.”

Stan Strembicki, from the Lost Library series
Stan Strembicki, from the Lost Library series

Students in the workshop may work digitally or in the darkroom. Keith will cover all the basics: exposure, camera functions, composition, basic Lightroom and Photoshop, digital printing, and, if there is interest, film processing and darkroom printing.

Photographer Stan Strembicki, a professor of art Washington University in St. Louis will join the class for a few days as a visiting artist. Stan is known for his five-year photographic study of post-Katrina New Orleans and his twenty-years of Mardis Gras work.

The workshop will also include field work, looking at a variety of artists’ work, daily critiques, and final presentations. “The expectation,” Keith says, “is to make a ton of pictures, delve into new ideas, and have a good deal of photo fun.”

Students of all levels are welcome.

To enroll in this class, call the registrar at 828-765-2359, ext 15 or visit the fall classes page.


Keith Johnson received his MFA from RISD studying with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Ten years of teaching led to a move to the business side of photography and completing an MBA. He supports his fine art making as a consultant and through workshop teaching at the Visual Studies Workshop, Maine Media Workshops, and Jackson Hole Art Association, and Penland.

Recent solo shows include PhotoStop Gallery, White River Jct., VT; Mercy Gallery at Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT; Griffin Museum, Winchester, MA; CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY; FotoFest, Houston, TX; George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; New England School of Photography and Panopticon Gallery,  Boston, MA; Nelson Hancock Gallery, Brooklyn, NY and Wall Space Gallery, Seattle, WA.

Collections include RISD, George Eastman House, and Center for Creative Photography; he is a recipient of two Connecticut Commission on the Arts Fellowships; And artist residencies at Light Work, Syracuse, NY, Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY and  CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY and Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT.

You can see more of Keith’s work on his website.

Keith Johnson, PDC Topology
Keith Johnson, PDC Topology


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Fall Scholarships Still Available


Want to spend the fall at Penland?? 
Scholarships are still available.

We still have a few work-study scholarships available for the following fall classes:

Books & Letterpress: From Print to Page with Margot Ecke
This workshop will teach you to create sophisticated, finely considered artist books from beginning to end through letterpress printing, linocut, polymer plates, case binding construction, and creative book design.

Hot Glass: Form Follows Failure with Matthew Szöz
This workshop will combine the skills and work ethic of the craft tradition with an open-minded and innovative approach to the act of making.

Photography: The Extended Image with Keith Johnson
This workshop is about storytelling through photography–about taking an idea and extending it into a body of work. Students may work digitally or in the darkroom.

Click here for complete information about these classes.

We have not set an application deadline for these scholarships. We are reviewing applications on a first-come/first-served basis. If you are interested in one of these scholarships, please call the registrar (828-765-2359, ext. 15) to confirm availability.

Scholarship application information is available here.

Yoga teachers, please note that there is still a work-study position available for a student who will teach movement classes and also do some office and garden work. This scholarship may be used for any fall eight-week class that has a space available. If you are interested, please call the registrar: 828-765-2359, ext. 15.

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Emilia Ferraro—My Stay at Penland

Emilia Ferraro
Andrew Glasgow Resident Writer, 2013

The problem with trying to “describe” Penland is that Penland is not only a “place,” a school, a community of likeminded creative people. It is also, or mainly (for me) an experience; a sensuous experience in its widest sense, that touched the very core of my being and as such it is extremely difficult to share with others. How to convey in words the change of energies that I immediately sensed as the taxi that was taking me to Penland from Asheville turned left from the main road into the winding narrow road up to the school? The visual lushness of the vegetation, its myriad shades of colours and smells—just a timid hint of the bombarding to which my senses would soon be subjected to at the school.

How to describe the buzz and creative tension that define the very air in this small hidden corner of the Appalachian mountain range? The mist and humidity of the summer mornings only added to the sensuous quality of the place. Penland is a “place” in the traditional sense of the word as a setting with a specific geographical location, beautiful buildings in the vernacular regional style –the heritage of a long tradition of solid skills and local knowledge. But it is also a way of being that goes beyond time and space, where I was offered the luxury of taking leave from a busy academic life, mostly guided by the capitalist ethics of production that has also infiltrated “the business of knowledge.” Everything was provided for me: a wooden and stone house that defies the boundaries between “inside” and “outside”—a shelter from “nature” and a platform onto it. The food: abundant, varied, and tasty provided a concrete and tangible sign of the defining character that Penland has for me: its nourishing quality. Penland takes care of the body in a variety of ways—of which excellent food and yoga exercise are only an example. Penland nourishes souls by providing that indefinable “something” that feeds our human-ness.

Penland opened the doors of workshops and the experience and expertise attached to them. It welcomed me—an academic, not particularly “arty” (I thought)—into a community of creative and original minds. By treating me as a peer, and making me feel I had something interesting and meaningful to give, Penland gave me the confidence to experiment, dare, and push the boundaries of my own creativity and imagination. It transformed my sense of who I feel I am. It gave me space, freedom, and a safe human and physical environment to “be” in any way I felt I wanted to. It did so without asking anything in return.

When I asked what expectations Penland had about my stay, the answer I got was: “Just that you immerse yourself fully into the Penland experience.” I cannot think of a more generous and wise invitation. I could only do this by participating actively in the everyday “practice” of life at Penland. Practice opened the way to experience, and experience opened the door onto my Self. So, if I had to summarise what Penland has done for me, I would say it has allowed me to get in touch with my inner and true Being. Anyone that has had such an encounter at least once in his or her life knows that there is no going back.