Our Living History Photography Workshop

“Well, that was fun!”

The comment was enthusiastic with a touch of surprise in the tone. It was made by one of the participants at the end of our Living History Photography Workshop at Historic Latta a few days ago. I’m not sure what she was expecting when she came but I’m glad that she enjoyed herself even if she hadn’t anticipated having fun.

We had eight photographers with us; partly to be sure that we were compliant with COVID-related guidelines and mostly to be sure that everyone got the attention they needed and plenty of opportunities to shoot. Just about every level experience was represented. Some were still getting used to their cameras and trying to figure out how to move out of the “auto” mode. Others were contemplating how to improve their gear with a new lens. And we had some experience there too, including one very good photographer, a couple of artists, and even an art teacher who decided to shoot with her iPad so that she could take what she learned back to her students.

My thanks to Daniel Brinneman for this shot that captured most of the group. You will notice that we appropriately distanced ourselves before removing our masks.

Those that know me, know that the phrase “detail conscious” may apply to me even to a degree that might be considered insulting. So planning for a living history photography workshop meant that I had pretty much prepared things down to the minute. But I also know how to be flexible. I think. I hope. The class had plenty of questions, which (I think) meant that they were engaged and interested. I’m still waiting on some of their feedback forms. I may find that it meant that they were confused and needed clarification. But those excellent questions meant that we spent more time in class than I had intended.

After the classroom session, we moved outside to spend some time with three reenactors who generously donated their time to provide subject matter for us. The participants were able to work in a variety of settings, both indoors and outside, providing an immediate opportunity to see the kinds of light we had just been discussing in class. They captured musket fire, sewing, spinning, and even some fiddle playing! Then we moved around beautiful Latta, taking advantage of the variety that the site offers.

As you can see in the images below, our reenactors certainly brought their best to the event! Click to enlarge.

I couldn’t have asked for a better group to work with! I asked them early in the session to tell me what they were hoping to accomplish that day. Hopefully, they all went home feeling, at least to some degree, that they had done that.

I look forward to my next Living History Photography Workshop. If you would like to know about hosting one at your site, or attending one in the future, let me know.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Robert, I enjoyed every moment of the workshop. I was interested in the techniques of photographing living history. I think it’s 20% portrait, 20% landscape, 20% location, and 40% story.

    1. Thank you, Daniel. It was great to have you there. You are right, there are many different elements, or potential subjects, that combine to make Living History photography fairly unique. In the end, however, it’s mostly about the story!

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