The ultimate evaluation question of any workshop is "did anything change?" Obviously, one measure of the workshop value is have you applied those new skills or new techniques to your work? Some people may measure their return on investment by how much money they make using the new skills.
But I discovered a different metric of value; owning who I am in my photography.
Let me explain.
The philosophical thoughts
The more years I engage in art, the more deeply I believe art requires the fullest expression of my soul, my potential, and my psyche. And the longer I engage in the business of art, the more I understand WHY the artist must continually work to "know thyself". I believe this latter point, "know thyself" is the required foundation for the (business) success of any artist.
"Know thyself" explains (whether you're aware of it, or not)
- why you create the art you do;
- why you choose the subjects you do;
- how you identify your target audience;
- how you engage in your community, and
- the choices you make about marketing.
The more deeply I know myself as a person, the more satisfied I am in my creative business. How can this be? The depth of this self-knowledge makes me more willing to challenge "conventional wisdom" about an art/photography business. There is a very large space in the creative business atmosphere to "do it my way".
And, this means what?
By nature, I am a solitary person. That solitary nature suits my desire for communion in my soul and in my psyche. For every hour I am the gregarious, "lead from the front", erudite extrovert, I require about four hours of respite and solitude. I need a deep recharge of the internal batteries. Last evening's three-hour social event will cost me twelve hours of no demands.
- Therefore, my art has been solitary, singular, quiet.
- I choose the subjects that cause me to feel the wonders of life and experience a world beyond what I see.
- My target audience is a joy that allows me to bring my best work forward. And if a potential client doesn't bring joy to the experience and I can't bring my best to bear, I will refer that client to another photographer. (Oh yes, I have done this.)
- I engage with the friends, artists, and community on a schedule that preserves my energy. Don't be surprised to see me leave 90 minutes into your three-hour meeting.
- Any marketing that requires a personal appearance with multiple people is carefully planned and scheduled. You're not going to see me at your weekly networking meeting. Just. Not. Happening.
Did anything change?
Yes, I've seen the depths of who I am in my art, in my photography. And as the current psycho-social lingo goes, I "own" who I am in my art and photography. I know my photography reflects who I am at the deepest levels of my being. And, I know I can create portraiture that is solitary, singular, and quiet. I will continue to create illustrative images as well as fine art images solely because I enjoy it. Those illustrative images convey a message in their own right.
The final measure
So, there you have it. Four comprehensive reviews of the Compelling Portraiture Workshop with Carolyn Mendelsohn. I've shared the following metrics of evaluating a workshop:
- The "why" this workshop was chosen. You must know why you choose any given workshop. The "why" is your first measure of evaluation.
- The "what" included the portrait curriculum, and "how" to construct a fashion layout.
- The benefits of a portfolio review.
- The final metric - and perhaps the most valuable - did the workshop affect change in you, the photographer.
I hope you found this series helpful. And, I hope the series stimulated new ideas of how to evaluate a workshop.
Expect the best. Anything else is an adventure.
Do you desire a portrait that reflects your singular self? Contact me and we'll chat about your ideas.
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