Marsden & Slaithwaite  - Single Day Photography Workshop

Developing visual storytelling & project based photography 

Price: £165 per person (including pre & post workshop online sessions)

On Location Date: 23rd September 2023

Time: 10am (Meet Slaithwaite) - 5pm


Mills, Moors, and Moonrakers: Marsden & Slaithwaite Single Day Workshop

Industrial heritage, working landscapes and local folklore

The towns of Marsden and Slaithwaite (pronounced Slawit by the locals) sit on the transition between the South Pennines and Peak District. Surrounded on three sides by the open moorland of Marsden and Meltham Moors with Saddleworth Moor close by too. The surrounding landscape is dramatic, and the towns sit in the valley alongside the River Colne and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

The towns were hugely prosperous during the 19th and 20th centuries as centres for the production of woollen cloth, Marsden was home to some thirteen mills in its heyday including the massive Bank Bottom Mill which later became known as Marsden Mill. Because of this heritage the towns are two of the best examples of the industrial architecture of the period and as a subject for photographic exploration are an absolute jewel. 

The name Moonrakers; given to folk from Slawit comes from local legend of the local bootleggers and smugglers who'd hide their bounty barrels in the canal and on one occasion facing being caught as they tried to fish them out claimed to be raking the moon from the canal. Hear a local storyteller explain this local folklore......

Storyteller Susanna Meese tells the Slaithwaite Moonraking Legend from Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival on Vimeo.


The areas rich heritage lends itself perfectly to a project-based approach to our photography as we'll walk the river and canal between the towns as well as extensively exploring both towns and the multitude of photographic opportunities on offer. No matter if it's industrial heritage, texture, detail, landscape  or a focus on black and white photography that appeals to you Marsden and Slaithwaite offer everything in abundance to keep you inspired, seeking new perspectives and telling compelling visual stories. There isn't a finer authentic location for industrial heritage, the mills have not been turned to trendy flats and still retain the industrial charm of a time gone by. This is an opportunity to explore and photograph a special place before it may ultimately become gentrified / regenerated in the future.

Alongside South Gare in the North East of England this has to be one of the best experiential places to approach visual storytelling and a project-based approach to your photography to harness and offer you a new skillset you can approach any landscape or photography undertaking with in the future.



“A piece of planned work or an activity that is finished over a period of time and
intended to achieve a particular purpose”
. Cambridge Dictionary


What Are Our Objectives?

1. To produce a finished photographic mini project within the workshop timescale
2. To make, rather than to take, photographic pictures
3. To think conceptually about your aims and outcomes

“In photography of serious ambition, the photographer’s subject is almost never
simply the subject matter”
. Peter Fraser


Marsden & Slaithwaite - Developing Compelling Visual Storytelling 


We will be exploring some of the ideas and approaches to help develop personal strategies for producing
photographic projects. As photographers we are all accustomed to the producing images, but many of us are
less familiar, and may find hard to rationalise, the concept of a photographic project. The project is in
essence an extended, but connected, body of work, where we are able to shape the possibilities of why and
how we can develop a series of photographs.
A project can feel somewhat nebulous and abstract, without a firm idea of the what, why and how. Many
photographers are often left scratching around for project ideas that can sometimes fail to materialise. Our locations are complex, busy, small, large and evocative of the areas history and heritage that will ask us to focus our attention on developing a coherent visual story through the piecing together of our work rather than purely focusing on single images.
Our day brief essentially asks that we, ‘playfully’, develop a given concept from inception through to
completion. From our pre workshop online session through the days practical picture making to the post workshop online session; we will explore, reflect and refine our practical work throughout the workshop, by beginning
to recognise how some key practitioners throughout the history of photography, have developed their
photographic picture-making and project objectives. Most importantly, The workshop will be practice based,
that is, pictures made. It will be an opportunity to do as Todd Hido suggests, which is; “Slow down and think
about your craft”
. The photographer John Blakemore eloquently reflects the ethos of the workshop;

“At the conclusion of any extended piece of work, one inevitably questions
the results. What have I learned during this journey? What has this intense period
of activity been about?”




The workshop will help develop your understanding, ability and confidence to conceive of and to make, a
series/set of photographs that are bound by the explorative nature of your project. You will learn to
understand better the intentions of your body of work. It will also ask of you to consider how a picture ‘looks’,
that is, the possibilities of framing, what photographer Larry Fink describes as “that little instantaneous
nuance and movement”
. Photographing is the art of selection and arrangement combined.


“You can’t wait until you have a great idea, because it’s not a great idea until you get into it.” John Szarkowski


The workshop is for anyone working digitally or analogue, with a camera or with a smartphone. It is for
anyone who wants to consider and to understand better how to develop their creative photographic potential.
The workshop is for anyone who wishes to explore and reconnect with their passion for making photographs,
and to help develop personal creativity through defining and working on a photographic project.
This workshop is for anyone who works with the medium using any process or combination of processes.
Essentially, it is about the possibility of the photographic picture and personal commitment. This is also for
anyone who might work, in video, audio or the written word. This introduction to photographic based projects
will allow you to bring your work together, and to reflect upon your picture-making and visual story telling as
you shape your own photographic project around this unique location.


The workshop will be practical in its main focus but also utilise different models of learning including:

• Scheduled pre online group session to understand the nature of project working.
• A full extended day dedicated practical on location in Sheffield creating our projects.
• Group online video/audio discussions sessions led by Rob where we will discuss your personal
approaches to project development.
• Live discussion in the post session to collaborate and learn from tutors, but importantly for peers to consider
alternative viewpoints and potential outputs for our work.
• Structured feedback both group based and individually throughout.
• Collaborative working to further develop ideas around your project-based work.



On completion of the workshop each participant will receive a summary of their development. Each
participant can (if requested) be issued with a digital credential to demonstrate workshop participation which
can then be added to and shown on digital cv's, social media and on the learners LinkedIn profile, for
example, if they have one.

On Completion You will be able to:

1. Acknowledge some ideas related to photographic projects.
2. Recognise some key photographers and their approaches to the series or project.
3. Explore strategic approaches to working in a project manner.
4. Apply knowledge and strategies in creating personal photographic projects.
5. Demonstrate an explorative mindset around a project and alternative viewpoints.
6. To reflect, explain and critique your own images and project ideas.
7. Embrace a playful approach to developing projects.
8. Critically reflect on your final project body of work.
9. Reflect on the impact of working with attention over a given period and how this has affected
creative understanding and development.


Our final output from the workshop will be to present a 'portfolio site' of our mini project with accompanying words and any additional media we choose to embellish our project with.


This new and exciting workshop is a practical on location single day workshop with the addition of the pre and post online components that will be delivered via our
dedicated online learning platform, video live group sessions and innovative collaboration tools where we will facilitate an engaging, positive, and challenging learning environment for all participants.

“One cannot photograph experience, but to have lived it can change and develop habitual

ways of seeing and of knowing." John Blakemore


This workshop is highly practical and participatory and will develop an effective toolkit with which you can frame your approach to photography and working in series' moving forward.


Fitness Level / Terrain / Equipment:

1. You don't need to be an athlete, we will be walking between Marsden & Slaithwaite but making pictures as we walk and only at the speed of the group..... it's not a race.

2. There will be some short hill climbs out of Marsden & Slaithwaite for the moorland

3. Terrain and surfaces will be mixed so wear appropriate and day comfortable footwear

4. The weather might be changeable so bring appropriate clothing

5. Ensure you bring water for the day although there are shops / cafes in both towns

6. We will be walking alongside a river and a canal, be sure to be aware of water safety and your environment when photographing

7. Ensure you have enough spare batteries and camera memory cards for a full day

8. Remember your camera equipment you may wish to use such as lenses, filters and tripod

Equally though you could pack a small day kit bag with a mixed focal range and work hand held, it's about feeling comfortable and immersed in your picture making / visual storytelling and not worrying about bags being too heavy and cumbersome.


What's Included:

1. All tuition on workshop

2. Pre & Post online sessions to develop your project

3. All access to online portal for pre and post workshop sessions

What's Not:

1. Travel / transport to and on workshop

2. Meals - please bring packed lunches

3. Travel, equipment, and personal insurances


To sign up for this new workshop click the 'book now' button below. Then select the appropriate workshop and date from the bookings page.

We guarantee this course will both enable and empower every attendee moving forward with their photography and personal creative journey no matter your previous level of experience.

WORKSHOP DATES: 23rd September 2023


Course price: £165 per person

The workshop will be operated under the current Covid guidelines for everyone's safety, we are actively testing twice weekly to ensure we are Covid free on the delivery date and we are fully vaccinated. 

"I loved every aspect of the workshop; it has made me look at my photography in a whole new light. I feel confident to explore ideas and develop a project from the ground up right through to completion. The locations chosen are both inspiring and challenging at the same time, enough to really get me deep into exploring a place and trying to tell my story of the place."

"It has made my completely rethink photobooks and how I will approach my projects and books in the future"


"I like and appreciate that Rob is very clear in what he says and has a very easy and relaxed manner. At no time was I made to feel that I wasn't an equal member of the group and my opinions/contributions were as valuable as everyone else's. This is a skill not all trainers possess."