South Gare: Single Day Workshop
Developing visual story telling & project based approaches to photography
* Why not combine this workshop with the North Yorkshire Hidden Gems and make a weekend of it, we can advise on some options of places to stay near by *
The river Tees slices through the heart of Cleveland. It has been the area's lifeline to the world for centuries. At the river mouth, the man-made South Gare stands out into the North Sea like a protective arm. Often windswept and cruel in winter, the gare can provide a pleasant walk and interesting views on a summer's day when the wind blows off the land. With mammoth ships from all over the globe gliding past, the river reflects sunlight like a glittering array of polished metal plates. On the other side of the breakwater the sea laps lazily at the foot of the lighthouse, breaking onto a band of golden sand that garnishes the coast eastwards to Huntcliff seven miles away.
North-westerly, the resort of Seaton Carew merges with Hartlepool. Beyond Paddy's Hole where a flotilla of fishing boats huddle inshore, looking south, a concentration of heavy industry lines the river Tees. In the foreground the giant unloaders of Redcar Ore Terminal stand rigid as though afraid of getting their feet wet. Originally built by British Steel which was later rebranded Corus, they passed into Tata Steel’s and then SSI's hands but now the site lies dormant, a ghostly reminder of an industrial heritage. The attached iron-making plant reaches out eastward, once the largest blast furnace in Europe dominating the skyline. This, like the variety of chemical works and oil refineries that lay on both banks of the river, was built on reclaimed land. Heavy industry can hold an appeal all of its own, symmetrical towers, chimneys and cranes in silhouette against a dying sun in a raw cloud-streaked sky.
The closure of the steel works has had a profound effect on the people and economy of Teesside, but the wildlife has once again started to flourish and take over this unique landscape with such an uncertain future. Although not so economically, South Gare is both hectically and culturally important to the people of this area, a proud people who will lift this area with their sheer spirit and grit. In photographing this area from a project and visual story telling perspective we can at least get closer to developing a body of work that goes some way towards telling the story of this unique place and it's people.
WHAT IS A PROJECT?
“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
South Gare - 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 location on South Gare, near Redcar on Teesside is a complex, expansive location that will ask use 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 Project’ 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 at South Gare 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 effected
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.
1. No great fitness level is required
2. Terrain is mostly level with no hill walking involved
3. Surfaces are mixed and may be rough or uneven, please wear appropriate footwear
4. South Gare is open and exposed, the weather can change quickly so please bring appropriate clothing including sun protection
5. Ensure you have water with you for the day, there is a fisherman's cafe on the Gare that normally opens weekends but hours are limited
6. Ensure you have spare camera batteries and spare memory cards for your camera along with any lenses, filters and tripods you may use
*** The cars will be close enough by to swap kit and grab drinks as and when required, ensure though as you would anywhere that nothing is left on show in your vehicle when unattended ***
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
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: 7th October 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."