STEPHEN WILKES: NARRATIVE & THE BIG PICTURE

In this unique workshop, Stephen Wilkes, world renowned for his fine art, large format, large scale photography will discuss how he goes about wrangling so much content into the frame of his photograph. He will talk about how his subtextual use of narrative helps him to “find his picture.” Photographing large scenes as he does requires a very unique skill-set. Wonder why large landscape scenes can look breathtaking in reality but so very boring in photographs? Wilkes brings his concentration on narrative to bear on solving the problem of how to capture “the Big Pictures” that he’s famous for.

This workshop will explore the ideas and practice of making large-scale fine art images, including images destined to be very large photographs, as well as how he makes large scenes into images that work in his editorial and advertising career. How do you consolidate content in an image that encompasses vast areas, vistas, or interior / exteriors of factories and other locations? Learn how Stephen Wilkes makes his Big Pictures.

This is not a class about large-format photography – attendees need not photograph using large-format cameras. Wilkes makes pictures using medium-format digital cameras as well and will be using them for this class. Attendees will be able to photograph using the latest Mamiya medium format digital cameras in this class.

Wilkes has chosen to return to one of his favorite surreal landscapes for this class: The Salton Sea, California’s most troubled lake. Once a lure for tourists, a fluctuation in sea level has flooded settlements and forced people to abandon their homes, leaving buildings to rot in the salt encrusted water. This abandoned and decaying area will provide a dramatic environment for exploration. The region attracted a fair share of unusual individuals, such as the artist Leonard Knight, who has redesigned the desert landscape with adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint. He and his national folk art shrine “Salvation Mountain” will be another exciting subject for the participants.

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