DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

Greg Heisler workshop superpost

I just wrapped up a week-long photo workshop with Greg Heisler. Vancouver Photo Workshops put it on, and even though I've been shooting for over 15 years, it was my first ever workshop. 6 weeks ago I had no idea that Vancouver even HAD photo workshops let alone with photographers of the stature of Mr. Heisler. If you aren't from the photo world and don't know his resume, suffice it to say that he is a very heavy cat, and is probably amassed one of the most impressive bodies of work in all of portraiture, and certainly of the last 3 decades. He currently has 74 covers of Time Magazine as well as countless other photos in just about any magazine you can think of. So there.

Greg explains photography to the class: "First, get a camera. Now, make a masterpiece! This shit is easy."

One of the added bonuses of this week was the timely visit of Jay Maisel to Vancouver. He also happened to be doing a workshop, so we shared lunch one day, and he and Greg did a talk on the first night to a packed house. Jay is in the enviable part of his career where he can pretty much just stroll around and make photos of whatever he feels like. Being a master has its benefits.

Greg listens while Jay tells it like it is: "No you asshole, you're wrong!"

The workshop took place at the Ironworks studios in Gastown, an old industrial building with fantastic bricks and beams and skylights, all the things that make us nerd photographers happy when we are looking for backgrounds. There were a dozen or so people participating and besides Scott Serfas (who signed up minutes after I told him about the course a few days before it started) and I coming from a similar background, the other photographers were a diverse and interesting bunch. We had everything from the seasoned Newspaper photographer from Seattle, to the photoshop wizard from Vancouver Island, to the San Francisco stock photographer and many more. All in all a varied and talented group.

Of course I won't go into the details of the course, but it was really great to have 5 days to listen to a veteran explain his work, his process and many techniques as well. After a few days of conversation it's easy to forget that the man cracking jokes in front of you has shot so many hugely influential and interesting people. His humility and attention to detail are an indication of where his success comes from. At the end of the day he is a guy who loves making great pictures, and being that everyone in the class felt the same way, it made for some great conversation.

Thanks to Marc Koegel who is the director of the Vancouver Photo Workshops, his little venture in Vancouver is a huge asset to us locals and as it grows I look forward to attending many more classes. Now if I can just scrounge up enough dough to do the Gorman one...

Here are some shots from the week:

A little lecture at the Ironworks

"No Scott you have it all wrong..." Wait, I think he's winking at you!

Explain to me "the light."

Um, I think it might be infected

The ever pensive Mr. Heisler.