Saturday, July 26, 2008


I just finished the most intense and draining Workshop in my life, with Antoine D'Agata. He is a controversial photographer but very intense, and very human. He set a very high standard for image making and his interest is in the tension, or conflict in all of us.

Honestly, I feel at home at the Toscana Photo Workshops. I have made a lot of friends and I just wanted to have honest interactions with old friends and somehow capture that as images. But the images were not engaging. I then had to explore being. I started with nude self-portraits in the woods and this simply continued through the week. As the workshop space was too comfortable for me, I spent a night in the fields. And the night I chose was the coldest of the entire week. After the jungles in Singapore during army training, the Tuscan forest was rather plesant. I had some nice surreal portraits from my night in the forest. I saw a pretty sunrise but those images were bland.

But the pushing continued, and I tried to explore my own boundaries, where I want to go and be and where I am unable to. It was very hard, as it meant looking at the conflict in me, but in a week when I felt good. Somehow, I managed to create strong images for this workshop, but I am not putting them up on this blog. The images of conflict do come from me, but it felt more like a conceptual exercise for me because I was in a good place. If I get into a bad place again, I can then work with it as materil for photography. It will not be an exercise like it was this week, because then the conflict would be real. And then, I think I would be more willing to share the images, even if they are challenging, because for me it would come from a place that is meaningful for me.

But I wonder why it is easier to produce engaging images on inner conflict and pain than to create engaging images of happiness. Next week, I intend to attempt that. I will try to capture the essence of peace and happiness in a way that is real, not cliche postcard type stuff. Wish me luck.

And it would be ironic if a bout of conflict hits me next week when I am trying to do hapy pictures, as I had to illustrate conflict in a week I felt warm and safe!


april said...


wonder if u can share ur conflict images with me?

going through a turbulent time as well. i wonder how urs look like.

take care and see you soon.


oliver said...

thank you for the great time in toscany, antoine, you and some others are still in my heart and i hope that we will see in the future.....there is a german proverb....people will meet twice in life ....

thank you for the saturday lunch!

your friend oliver

sorin said...

I just finished the workshop at TPW , one or two weeks later after yours with Antoine, with Lorenzo Castore. It was simply amazing, only 1% photography and the rest an intense experience I'll hardly forget.
Lorenzo pushed us, only 4 people in his workshop, to overcome our boundaries and comfort and produce something authentic, something honest. It was an experience that put my things in focus and helped me to decide what I want to do further. And I'm not talking about photography... Lorenzo was very supportive and show a lot of care and pushed us to "work as hell". The theme that suggested to work on was the self-portrait, which made things even harder. It was absolutely mind-blowing but human...
I'm happy you had a similar experience with Antoine. I think one of our mates was in Antoine's workshop too. You remember maybe Alejandro from Madrid ?

I heard that Anders Petersen will have an workshop in Barcelona, end of November, but I don't have too much information.