LA street photography workshop – Impressions

Posted on by Bellamy

The LA workshop was a blast, so many good people
So I finally made it back to Japan, and the jetlag has completely nailed me. I flew back with Singapore Airlines, and they were fantastic….apart from the screaming babies:( But you cannot have it all.

Shooting in LA was nothing like I expected, the light and the atmosphere were so different to what I am used to that I was a little bit worried about the workshop. But thanks to the assistance of my good friend and co-instructor Rinzi Ruiz I found my groove and LA was great. The people and the areas are so very different from Japan. I was worried that people might have an issue with me shooting them. But there was nothing to worry about, I was able to get on without any issues at all.

I ended up shooting a massive amount of film while I was there, so it is going to take me a while to get it all developed, but I will post it when I do. I shot a lot on the X-pan, which was new for me. I really wanted to try and see how I could utilize the panoramic mode in a street situation. I hope that it worked.
I shot a mixture of slide, colour negative and mono film, so I am pretty excited to see how it all comes out.

The Workshop
We held the workshop downtown in LA at the Hatakeyama Gallery. This place is huge and perfectly located near to all of the great shooting spots in Downtown. If you are downtown then pop by and check out the gallery. It is a great meeting spot and is going to be the place to be this year. I was completely jetlagged when I arrived, but a stiff upper lip is the British way, so we immediately got into it and started the workshop.
The workshop on the first day had 10 people and it was the perfect size. We got the chance to chat and spend time talking to one another.
After a morning session dealing with introductions, theory and basic practice we had some lunch and got into an afternoon of shooting. It was perfect weather and we took a walk through the streets of downtown. I would love to say that I can remember where I went in detail, but I was so tired that I could barely remember my name by the end of the day.
I do remember that we had a lovely dinner near to the workshop and I got to chat with the students. It was a lot of fun and I got to learn a bit more about all of the people on the course. We had everyone from complete beginners right through to seasoned long term shooters, and all of them were eager to learn.
We had a very interesting first day and I was really eager to get cracking with day 2, but first I had to see the sights of downtown at night…er, better left unsaid.

On the second day the delightful Elizabeth Wang-Lee assisted us and gave a presentation about the history of photography and shooting styles. This was great for the students and for me too! There is always something new to learn and I felt like I learned a lot during the course. It was great to hear what people thought of my work too. I am often quite shy about showing my photography, so this was a good chance to hear what other people think about it.

The students seemed to really enjoy the talk time and there was a lot of participation. This was really important as I didn’t just want it to be Rinzi and myself talking. By the afternoon we were all eager to get out and shoot. And get out we did. We were blessed with another day of fantastic weather and we all got to walk the city. It was interesting to see each different students style.

For me a big part of the workshop was teaching the students how to build on their abilities. There is no need to try and be someone you are not or to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, but you should be pushing yourself to do something that is away from what you normally do. It was great to see people trying this and I think that we got some great results. I tired to set the students small projects as the were walking, something that would help develop their strong points. It was nice to be able to talk to everyone and to be able to answer as many questions as possible.
After a long day of walking we finally made it back to the gallery to sign of with a small prize giveaway and a nice good bye from each and everyone of us. And then we went and had a cracking meal.
After being introduced to the delights of French dip we finished up and I got some much needed rest.

I feel like I made a lot of new friends and I also learned a lot about how to see. Some of the students had such a fresh eye that I was really impressed with how they managed to capture moments. As the groups was small we got to go out and not smother a situation. The people of LA are happy to have their pictures taken, and there are so many scenes that you cannot help but to see something interesting on your day.

I want to say a massive thank you to all of the students and all of the people that I met during my time there in LA. You were all so good to me that I don’t think I could ever repay you properly. I had a brilliant time and I cannot wait for the next workshop (hopefully later in the year).
If any of you would like to have your work featured on JCH then please send me the links or add them in the comments.
Hope to see you all again soon and keep on shooting.

Thanks
Bellamy

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