Photography. Outside the Rules.

the three course, small group atelier program

vancouver bc, canada

Get an immediate creative boost! Be surrounded by other creative people in our working studio! Get the most out of your ideas and skills!

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about our atelier microschool...

Founded in 2009 and annually revised, this three-term set of classes (totaling 24 weeks) is designed to inspire, support and provide the tools for a continuing exploration of creative photography, photography as art, and photography as lifestyle.  Springing from courses we originally developed for professional photography schools, these classes provide a framework for you, the photography enthusiast and entrepreneur, to expand your creative use of the photographic medium and make it your own. Held in our working atelier/studio, classes provide direct insight into our real-world activities and processes, while developing your own.

Classes are very small (5 students max) making a collegial experience. No grades are given - we find grading inhibits the will to take risks.  Classmates are encouraged to ask questions and offer observations to provide a richness of reaction to everyone's work. Each class develops into a little community, where participants are free and empowered to explore and express their unique vision and approach to photography.

Each week is moulded to fit the people in the group, so the precise content and experience is slightly different year-to-year.

You may expect each 3 hour weekly session to include:

Over the three terms, you may expect:

Our classes are open to people working with any manner of photographic media. In 2009-2012, about 3/4 of our students worked with digital media; about 1/5 worked with analogue media, and a few were working with hybrid methods. One student shot a substantial amount of excellent work with a cellphone, a couple of students used toy Holga cameras, one student used homemade pinhole cameras, one student used a 1960's era medium format TLR, and the rest used either conventional 35mm film or various types of digital cameras from P&S to pro-SLR. Inexpensive work prints for the course were made at Costco, London Drugs, The Lab, the Darkroom Coop, home darkrooms and home inkjet printers.

The full course of study is divided into three terms of eight weeks, with a break of at least five weeks between terms. We endeavour to keep each group together for the whole three terms, giving existing groups priority in future scheduling. There is one three-hour class per week, offered one weeknight or weekend morning. 

Printed course notes will be provided each week.

From the beginning, this course has been incredibly fun! Most classes were sold out and our participants moved their work ahead at amazing speeds - everyone truly rose to the challenge, and their work showed it.

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student prerequisites

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For additional information and any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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Atelier MicroSchool


Term 1:  Establishing Your Point of View
creating the visually insightful image

8 weeks, Mon 7 Jan 2019 - 7pm-10pm
5 students max, only 1 spot left!

Tuition: $450 (includes all taxes)

Photography as an image and art making medium is so popular and so approachable that establishing and constantly refining a personal visual language and signature is paramount in separating yourself from the crowd.  This is the start of that path.

Get beyond simplistic rules of composition and discover your own unique patterns for photograph construction. This class delves into the physiological, psychological and cultural roots of our shared visual identity. Just how are we all prewired to see the world? To what extent can we be trained? Most importantly, to what extent can we be different?

Learn to think visually, present visual ideas and create unique picture spaces - outside the rules.

Term 2:  Creating a Body of Work
making coherent collections and sequences of images

8 weeks, TBA 2019
5 students max

Tuition: $450 (includes all taxes)

How do you create photographs that have something meaningful to say?  What separates competent photographs from great photographs that have a persistent presence?  How do you progress beyond disconnected single pictures?

One good way is to create a series of photographs exploring a central theme or idea. You will learn to use the thread of your personal visual language to study your subject and to ultimately bind your images into a true collection. 

This class will explore concept building and refinement, followed by testing and experimentation, and then settle in to the creation of your body of work, imbued with your personal vision and visual language.  The class will function as motivator, counselor and evaluator to help keep you on track. 

Bodies of work may be entirely photographed during this term, or you may choose to work on existing ideas, and/or use class time for editing, sequencing and designing final presentations.

Term 3:  Refinement, Finish and Where Your Work Belongs
refining your creative practice

8 weeks, TBA 2019
5 students max

Tuition: $450 (includes all taxes)

There is great pleasure and satisfaction in seeing a project through to a refined, final, finished state - be it prints, a wall installation, a book , a portfolio, a slide show or anything else you can imagine. Dig into the uses, reasons and methods for producing truly finished personal and/or commercial work. If you do have commercial ambitions, we will give you our frank reality check. In any case, learn to stay creative on the path to continuously producing new and exciting photographs.

By learning and integrating creative practices into your daily life, you will continue to refine and evolve your photography. The creative process never ends!