UPCOMING WORKSHOPS IN 2020
March 20-22 San Francisco | May 15-17 Madrid | June 19-21 London | August 14-16 Vancouver | November 20-22 Tokyo
WHAT IS THE VISUAL POET EXPERIENCE?
The Visual Poet Experience is a unique series of creative photography workshops led by Olaf Sztaba, known as “the visual poet.” The workshops are based on an exclusive program, Simplicity-In-Seeing, which if followed closely, allows students to increase their attentiveness and concentration, develop photographic and creative “seeing” and take control of the frame to craft stunning imagery. Over the years many students who have taken this renowned program have become well-known photographers and started their own photographic careers.
The Visual Poet Experience is not a presentation or a city tour. It is a serious photographic program which is applicable at any photographic level—from someone who is starting in photography to a seasoned professional. It is not uncommon to have full-time teachers of photography taking Olaf’s unique program.
No, you won’t be standing in the street just taking photos of random passers-by or dime-a-dozen portraits of your buddies. Participants will be guided to tap into their own way of seeing using techniques based on a special photography-training program, Simplicity-in-Seeing, designed from the ground up by Olaf Sztaba. The objective of the program is to encourage participants to take risks, unleash their creative potential and learn how to use simple techniques to produce strong, dramatic compositions.
We will learn how to See the Image, Craft the Image and Execute the Image using techniques Olaf has developed over the years to journey past the snapshot. Every day includes a mix of lectures, discussions and street shooting in the most photogenic neighbourhoods around the world. Olaf will demonstrate his original “keep it simple” processing techniques. You will receive notes and some material to take home with you.
Olaf possesses that rare ability to truly observe that which the rest of us can only see.
A unique eye for superbly creative and aesthetically pleasing images.
A PERSONALIZED, ONE-TO-ONE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE
If you thought the only objective of this workshop is learning how to craft great imagery, you are mistaken. Sometimes students are looking for their true calling and find it in photography. Olaf declares, “While working with my students I never assume that they are all heading in the same direction. Considerations of character, interests and visual exploration may lead students in various visual directions. Since my classes are very small we are able to work together to find the right path.”
During the hands-on shooting, each participant will spend extensive time with Olaf individually. Such one-to-one interaction with students is imperative in the learning process, so our class sizes are limited to 8 participants.
Unlike many other workshops, Olaf always works with his workshop assistant or a host who is responsible for logistics, taking care of participants’ non-photographic needs and giving any assistance which may be needed. In this way, Olaf is able to focus on teaching and interacting with students, leaving other tasks to his assistant.
On completing your registration, you will receive a welcome letter and a direct email address for Olaf. From this point on, Olaf will help you with your preparations in terms of gear choices and will answer any questions you may have. In the period leading up to the workshop you will receive email communication regarding any changes, updates and/or preparation ideas. Olaf says, “All my students remain in direct contact with me after the workshop so we can interact and discuss your progress.”
We always strive to create a relaxed and respectful atmosphere of learning no matter what the level of your photographic knowledge. There is no such a thing as a “stupid question” at the workshop. The joy of photography and highest craftmanship will be the central theme in everything we do.
You should leave the workshop with a clear vision, confidence and a set of mental and technical tools to craft stunning imagery.
Note: When choosing your workshop and investing your hard-earned dollars, keep in mind that the photographic industry is flooded with such offerings. Although there are distinctions in teaching styles or approaches, the ultimate distinguishing factor should be the imagery produced by your instructor.
Olaf’s stunning photography is a visual gift to the world.
Olaf’s photos always surprise with their dramatic contrasts, reduction of elements to powerful geometric shapes and the placement of colour where it matters. All this, despite his wicked sense of humour.
The best manifestation of the success of the Visual Poet Experience Workshops is imagery shot by photographers who participated in the program. Below please find just a few examples.
An extraordinary, talented educator and photographer, Olaf is passionate about his craft and about teaching his students to see. I felt privileged to be among them and consider Olaf’s workshop the best I have ever attended! I do not say that lightly – as an educator myself I am often critical of others’ efforts. But Olaf is amazing – I learned so much!
Olaf Sztaba is the closest one can get to being a philosopher-photographer. His approach encourages you to place less emphasis on the camera and more on your unique way of seeing and experiencing the visual world. His photography and his insights allow you to discover the true beauty and wonder that exist both far and close to home.
I was extremely resistant to both (what?) because it meant I had to ask people for photographs or bypass their permission. Olaf’s teaching let me put the worst of that behind me, even (amazing!) made me enjoy it. The result? The best five days of my photographic life and some of the best images I ever produced. I’ll never be the photographer he is, but he shared enough of his knowledge and focus that I came out of the workshop a much better photographer than the guy that went in.
The video and blog only gave a taste of what it was like to work with Olaf in person. He has a singular devotion to his work and has acquired expert knowledge of how to capture amazing images. Fortunately, he is incredibly generous in sharing this knowledge. Without knowing Olaf, my biggest fear in taking the workshop (apart from the fear my images might suck) was that he might be a secretive hard case who dribbled out crumbs of information. The exact opposite was true. Shooting sessions included solid approaches to getting good images but were also filled with many creative suggestions.
I have many more great images from the workshop, and many great memories as well. I highly recommend his workshop to aspiring photographers, and also to experienced photographers seeking inspiration and a unique perspective.
The Visual Poet Experience is the only workshop that I know that deals with the subject of creativity in the process of photographic seeing, doing it rigorously and in a practical, didactic way. Highly engaging.
Friday, 4:00PM – 8:00PM
The workshops start on Friday afternoon with a get-to-know-you session, organizational topics, and ethical and personal aspects of street photography. Then we dive straight into the Simplicity-In-Seeing program. We will make sure you are ready for the next day of shooting.
Saturday, 9:30AM – 5:30PM
Saturday mornings we spend shooting on the streets, then at noon we move to the classroom to evaluate and discuss the imagery and further work in the program. In the late afternoon we head out again to the street or an indoor location if conditions warrant such a move.
Sunday, 9:30AM – 5:30PM
On Sunday, we perfect our techniques and shoot most of the day with frequent breaks for discussion and honest evaluation. The workshop concludes on late Sunday afternoon with an “I did it” photo extravaganza and a personal one-to-one photo chat.
Suggested: mirrorless, SLR-like cameras or iPhone. A basic knowledge of how to operate your gear is advisable. A camera with a 35mm or 50mm prime lens is recommended. If possible, please try to avoid zooms.
The full payment of US$995 is required at the time of registration.