Recently, I had the pleasure of attending Art Wolfe’s The Art of Composition seminar in New York. Mr. Wolfe is currently presenting in a number of cities across the US and Canada. Those living in the New York City area are fortunate, in that many photographers come through on the lecture circuit. Whenever I can make the time, I try to attend these seminars, as one always learns something from each speaker. I have been a fan of Mr. Wolfe’s work for years, and made sure I kept the day free for his seminar.
Mr. Wolfe’s six-hour seminar was very different from others that I have attended. Rather than spending time on the nuts and bolts of photography, Art focused on the artistry of the craft. Trained as a painter, and an educator, Mr. Wolfe tackled subjects that are very hard to teach, namely, inspiration, passion, vision, and ultimately, composition. The first lecture of the day was more art theory class than photography lecture. It made you really THINK about the images presented. What Mr. Wolfe spent the day doing, was giving his students a new set of tools to help SEE a photograph.
Mr. Wolfe is an engaging speaker, and with his background in television with “Travels to the Edge”, knows how to hold an audience and work with it. It made for a well paced day. Art drew on almost four decades of images, shot in literally every corner of the globe. The breadth of geography and subject matter was truly impressive. Although Mr. Wolfe made his name in wildlife and nature photography, his cultural photography, still lifes, and abstract compositions show his true breadth as an artist. Drawing on the sheer scale of this body of work allowed the seminar participant to see a concept illustrated across a number of photographic disciplines, allowing one to see how lessons were relevant to their own photography.
If you live near one of the cities where Art will be speaking next, I highly recommend taking the time to attend this seminar. Photographers of all skill levels can learn something from a true master of the craft.
About the Author:
Trevor Peterson is a passionate photographer, whose work focuses primarily on cultural photography. Unfortunately, his photography frequently has to take a back seat to his primary career as a private equity professional.