This retreat acknowledges the importance of technical photographic skills and equipment use along with the compositional elements of setting up and framing a picture, and digital editing, processing and printing. However, while essential individual needs in these areas will be addressed, the focus of the course leans more towards the spiritual than the technical.
Cameras, lenses and other equipment are simply tools. In the right hands an iPhone or plastic 'toy camera' can create more magic than the most sophisticated digital camera. For the purposes of this course, all that is necessary is that you know how to use your digital camera sufficiently so that it becomes an aid to creativity rather than a hindrance.
"A camera alone cannot tell us this. It is only an eye. It doesn't have a heart"
- from ZEN in the Art of Photography by Robert Leverant
An accompanying companion who would like to share your room but will not attend the workshop is welcome to do so for a small additional fee. You are also welcome to extend your stay before or after the course to see more of this beautiful region, based on availability.
International travel is served by Santiago and A Coruña airports in Galicia, and Porto airport in northern Portugal. Regionally, there is an excellent network of roads for private or public transport.
Airport pick-up and drop off can be arranged on a specific date and time suitable for the majority of participants. To coordinate your timing with the airport pick-up, you may choose to spend a night at a local hotel. We can help with any arrangements you need to make.
The retreats are held at Casa da Cabaza, a renovated old stone farmhouse located on the shores of a countryside lake in beautiful, rural Galicia, Casa da Cabaza houses the printing studio facilities, and provides the accommodation and all meals for the duration of the courses.
It has several private, en-suite, guest rooms, a large dining/lounge/recreational room and lovely gardens. It is a peaceful, creative place, ideal for learning and developing new ideas and work. The food is delicious and healthy, mostly vegetarian, organic and locally sourced. Dietary requests can usually be accommodated if notified in advance.
The retreat over three days, will include presentations and discussions, photographic assignments and reviews, silent nature walks and time for self-reflection and individual personal development. The structure and schedule are intended to shape the flow of ideas and work but not restrict them.
We have a studio for digital processing and printing (MacBookPro, Eizo monitor, Epson A2 printer), and a small still-life/portraiture studio with a variety of stands, backdrops, lights and props. There is a modest library with a nice collection of photographic art books to browse in for inspiration and ideas. The countryside location offers a variety of options for all kinds of outdoor photographic work including landscape, portraiture and more.
The aim of the retreat is to help you develop a deeper connection with your inner self which will be reflected in your creative work. This is achieved by incorporating what is popularly called mindfulness, or ‘no-mind-ness’, essentially about turning off distractions and tuning in to your senses in the present, the ‘right here, right now’ moment, and allowing the sensations and emotions that you are experiencing at that moment to be reflected in your creative expression. There is no magical shortcut to attaining this. It is a lifetime creative journey that consists of focus, dedication and practice. It will allow you to gradually develop a sense of intuitive awareness through connection with your environment and subject. You will learn to ‘feel’ your way towards the final image before you even take the picture. And you will know whether this final image is right or not. Because, ultimately, the picture is for you before it is for anyone else.