Yesterday, I was fortunate to attend a full day workshop with renowned photographer and educator, Joe McNally. Joe’s been a pro photog for 30 years and his work has graced the covers of Time magazine, Sports Illustrated and countless issues of National Geographic. Needless to say, if he’s got something to talk about, it’s worth listening too.
Joe’s teaching manner is incredibly informal and full of self deprecation and humility, he’s equally at ease with pointing out his mistakes as he is with showing how things should go. Coupled with a great and dry sense of humour, it’s difficult not to be entertained in his presence. He made the effort to learn everyones name almost straight away, no easy task with 20 students and nearly as many crew floating around which adds that all important personal touch to the day. During the demos, his images we’re, as expected, crafted with ease and elegance, each step building on what was done previously – enhancing the good and eliminating the bad. And there’s no real tricks here, no silver bullet and no secret sequence of buttons. Everything he does is brought together from very simple first principles and coupled with a creative eye that has kept him at the top of his game for so long.
The second half of the day was spent creating our own images – clumsily trying to re-create something we had seen so ably demonstrated not long before, most of the time with the finesse of a small child trying to put a square peg in a round hole. The beautiful Vaucluse house provided the backdrop to all the images and thanks to some long and sumtimes frustrating dialogue between Mentem (the organisers) and the trust, we were able to get in and amongst the amazing rooms that are usually closed to public access. Albeit under the watchfull eyes of the house staff – ensuring we didn’t move or touch something we weren’t supposed to!
Thanks go out to Mentem, Kayell and Nikon for investing what is a huge sum of money into this tour to bring talent like this to Australia (especially Kayell for bringing along a huge amount of kit for us all to play with). Its pretty few and far between that people make such a long trip for such a small audience but I’m glad they did.
Ive tried to keep all the images as close to out of the camera as possible – theres virtually no retouch in PS and a few tweaks in Lightroom.