Workshops are… well, they are everywhere. It seems everyone has a workshop or a class or an online course nowdays. They are all competing to educate a base of photographers and media creators that didn’t go to school for their craft. They compete with each other as well as with free or cheap online educational solutions. I use YouTube almost every week to learn or relearn something. The overwhelming number of workshops makes me question the fundamentals of being inspired to teach. Why do I feel like I need to teach? Why have a workshop or class when there are a billion on the market? Why do I teach multimedia skills to people who may never use the skills I taught after leaving my workshop?
Teaching to me is a collaborative exploration where the teacher is part guide and part student, and the student is part muse and part student. Learning is often symbiotic. The teacher, if engaged, will learn more about themselves and their art while teaching and that deeper understanding will fuel the creative learning process of the student. It is that process that makes me want to teach.
During my most successful multimedia workshop the students decided to shoot all video instead of photography, which made it more of a video workshop for photographers. That’s how I prefer to teach, where I listen to the needs of my students and adjust the curriculum accordingly. In that instance, I wanted to see the spark in my students eyes when they realized that a lot of disconnected footage could snap into an actual film. It’s hard to see that spark when teaching online, so I prefer in person workshops at this time.
But why teach multimedia?
The answer is simple. It is good practice.
Learning multimedia breaks a photographer out of their shell and makes them think of things outside of the frame. It helps them visualize how an image fits inside a larger story, how the image can impact the persons story when viewed, and gives them the tools to help tell that larger story. If they never use Multimedia in their day job, the practice of learning and keeping it front of mind will cause them to listen more while they are photographing (making them more aware of potential images), make sure the images they do make have the right context when deciding on what goes in the frame, and understanding how those images can fit into print and video materials.
It is with that in mind that Tyler and I started working on Camp Wirkshop. Camp Wirkshop is a week long multimedia workshop that documents a camp for kids on the autism spectrum called Camp Encourage. I had been working with Camp Encourage for years, originally making documentaries for their fundraisers, and then working on a fundraiser called An Evening with the ‘Rents. When thinking of where to host our workshop Camp Encourage was the perfect place. By partnering with them we made sure that the images would not be ignored and the work we do has an impact.
Shown below is a multimedia piece I created about the ‘Rents performance. Most my work with Camp Encourage has not been multimedia but I’m including a less played film I made for them into this post just to show it some love.
Tyler had been doing a lot of work with Foundation Workshops over the years, and we wanted to offer people something different than that. Something other workshops were not offering. Camp Wirkshop came about because of Tyler’s desire to teach great photography and my desire to teach multimedia. There were a few other multimedia workshops on the market, but we wanted something that was intimate, hands on and so intense that by the time it was over you felt like you accomplished something by making it through to the other side.
We wanted it simple all inclusive, where students didn’t have to worry about paying additional for hotels or travel to and from the site. Camp Wirkshop makes that possible with everything wrapped up in a nice little package. Concentrate on story all week long, not the little details.
We are about to start our third Camp Wirkshop. Students come from all over the world to spend a week camping and documenting Camp Encourage. At the end of the week, we give Camp Encourage the images and multimedia films that are used to help raise funds for next years camp during their annual fundraising event in October. Here is one of the films they used at their fund raiser from Kelly Virden Koller:
*this is the advertisement sales part of this post.
If you are a photographer looking to expand your toolbelt, then you should join us at Camp this year. Even if you never use multimedia as an exclusive tool, understanding all aspects of media creation can help you think of how to tell stories for you clients better in any single media. Come to camp, learn to tell multimedia stories while becoming a better photographer and help out Camp Encourage while you’re at it.
Find out more information here by visiting the Camp Wirkshop website. Watch more films, see the schedule for the week and sign up!
This is the conclusion of my five part series examining my love of the multimedia format, and why I keep pushing to educate photographers about it. Thanks for reading. Camp Wirkshop is not the end of my multimedia journey. Just the most current incarnation of that obsession! Keep in touch to find out more in the future!