On Sunday, I drove up to Atlanta to attend Sara Lando's portrait workshop. OMG. If she ever passes through your city/state/country/continent -- do whatever you have to do to get there. Beg and plead if you must; it will be transformative.
Her discussion on how to interact with models/clients had me dizzy -- it was so simple and obvious. I was honestly stunned that she could drop a bomb like that on me, and if she had stopped there, I would still have been left thrilled. But she didn't. Sara went to work on destroying the artificial barriers I had created around a set of creative concepts that I wanted to do but had decided were just too tough. I mean, have you ever been Kung Fu kicked by a seven stone ballerina?
The workshop has continued in my head and in my notebook since I walked out of the class. I have been drawing up solutions and ways to apply her advice, and then turning it all around to see even more little gems falling out.
Here is my advice:
- Get to her workshop. Leave your ego at home. Walk in with a clear mind and a clean sheet of paper -- she will easily fill both.
- Listen. Your mind will be racing with ideas, solutions, and little tiny sparks as parts of your brain kick to life. Just focus. What she is laying out isn't rocket science but it will take you to the moon.
- The magic is in the why. Everything that was said on Sunday was sort of this multi-faceted truth where when you looked pass the brilliant "what," you found this invaluable "why." The why is the most important part.
- Resist the urge to defend or even explain your work. She respects you. She respects your work. Our workshop had this amazing critique section where she very gently offered her advice. Let her share her insight that would make your process and photos better. (She can't help you if you are moaning about not being able to use Photoshop, which of course I did).
I need to thank the gorgeous Gigi for being a patient and enthusiastic model. My workshop experience would not have been complete without her hard work.
And holy crap, Zack was an amazing host. It was really neat/weird getting to chill with someone you see all the time and have learned so much from, but who doesn't even know you. Of course I pretended like it was totally normal while my inner five year old was doing cartwheels. Check out Zack's work and follow him on twitter. The man practices what he preaches: be the signal not the noise.
A huge thanks to Bernard who was very patient with all of us space invaders and to Alessandro who was cool and kind and listened to all of my stories about my trip to Italy.