“The Crit”: Learning Fine Art Photography by
Looking at Photographs Critically and Nurturing Creativity
There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described. –Garry Winogrand
What is “The Crit”?
-One-On-One Individualized Tutorial
-Learn by Critique and Looking at Photographs
-Meet in Person or Remotely
-Based on Yale University’s Photography Department
“The Crit” Overview
“The Crit” is a way of teaching fine art photography with a simple approach: look at student’s photographs critically, give feedback, and nurture the artist’s photographic vision. This is primarily based on Yale University’s Photography MFA program, whose lineage includes Walker Evans, Tod Papageorge, and Gregory Crewdson, (myself) and a list of other fine art photographers. We meet individually to review your work, foster a creative vision, develop a portfolio, review technical challenges–all at your own pace and customized based on your needs.
What Makes “The Crit” Unique?
“The Crit” is a unique but simple way of learning how to create fine art photographs. Unlike workshops or classes, my approach is to offer completely individualized attention to your creative process.
This allows us to focus on developing your photo project and any issues that come up. There are few formal assignments. Instead, we critically look at your photographs, where I offer ideas, suggestions, directions and other artists to look at.
In my experience, this is the best way to teach fine art photography.
“The Crit” Goals
Working together, we will:
Identify creative challenges and what is going well.
Discover and develop your photographic vision.
What to Expect From “The Crit”
“The Crit” can offer:
Broader understanding of the history of photography and other contemporary photographers, and how it might relate to your work.
Expansion of your photographic vision.
Creation of a portfolio of work.
Technical review of Photoshop and fine art color correction for the creation of fine art prints.
Recommendations on next steps, such as where and how to show the work.
I have taken several lessons with Steve and he has been remarkable and patient. –David hunter
This course is for students with a serious interest in fine art photography. The chief pre-requisite is a passion for your work and a commitment both to sustaining the effort over time and for working and submitting work at regularly established intervals.
You could be a:
Retired financial executive looking to expand your photographic vision.
College student with a strong interest in another aspect of your fine art photography.
Professional with an already existing creative career that has been a hobbyist looking to improve your work.
Commercial photographer working on completing a creative project.
To me photography must suggest, not insist or explain. —Brassai
Teaching and learning progress at your own rate and is completely customized. You will neither be held back by others students nor impeded by their progress. Instead, you set the priorities of subject matter, style, technique, materials, etc., and work accordingly. Your time is used efficiently, and for each tutorial session, we contemplate only your own work.
Agnostic Approach to Style, Stressing Looking at Other Photographers
There is no belief in any specific camera, technique, style, genre, school of thought, theory, over any other–except to see what is the photograph. My goal is to help you create strong images that follow your artistic truth and find your own creative way.
We do this by setting a foundation by learning photography’s history as well as looking at contemporary work, and constantly bringing into the discussion references to and examples from painting, drawing, and print making, film, and other arts such as literature. Since fine art photography is a visual art, with a pursuit of beauty and truth, looking at other sources are helpful.
Follow Student’s Instincts to Discover Originality
How to discover your photographic strengths and originality?
Students are encouraged to follow their instincts, feelings and find and what interests them.
One of the best approaches is to not focus on the good pictures but study those that are interesting and even a bit baffling because these–the ones you don’t understand–will lead you forward in developing a unique creative vision.
There will be little attempt to assign subjects, topics or locations since these usually are simple exercises and rarely result in a deeper development of the work. Instead, we focus on a way of seeing.
Photography Teaching Options
Strong and promising work is being done by photographers working outside the established network of graduate schools and the art world. For many, a few evenings’ conversation, a ten-day seminar, three-to-six week summer workshops, or a semester’s evening classes, yield short-lived progress.
Because of this, I offer two options:
In person teaching lessons in New York.
Remote learning via Skype or other technology.
In-Person Teaching In New York
One option for learning fine art photography is to work together in person. This option is offered for those in the New York City area. We meet together to go over work, discuss your project and look at other artwork.
Distance learning enables photographers sustained growth within the context of the photographer’s other professional, family and personal commitments, and provides a ways for photographers to and establish the kind of dialogue which before was possible only in the concentrated environment of a graduate school or a big city with a strong art world. By using Skype or other technology, we will be able to review work, offer photographic critiques and suggest other artists or photographers to look at.
Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. –Robert Frank
Meet to Review Work
We meet together, either in person in New York or remotely at regular intervals:
Meet about every other week for one to two hours.
Ten to twenty sessions or more are suggested to craft a body of work.
Individual one hour consultations are available.
Before each meeting, I will have reviewed your photographs for that session.
You and I discuss your work.
Recommendations are made, along with possible reading assignments, and pictures and artists to look at.
Technical recommendations will be made.
Photoshop, Adode Camera Raw, Bridge, color correcting could be topics.
If possible, a final portfolio will be edited.
Stressing Development of New Portfolio
Every three months you will submit a portfolio of new work. This will give us both a periodic overview of your development, enable us to spot new themes, stylistic directions, etc. as they emerge, and decide upon the emphases of the next two months’ work.
Help With Next Steps: Galleries, Art School
When your pictures are coherent enough to be called a body of work, we can discuss when, how, and where to show your work.
Also, if your work indicates that the best thing for you would be to enroll in formal university study, the discussion will turn to questions of which program would be best, and how to create a strong application.
Pricing is flexible, and depends on the number of classes and whether we will meet in-person or remotely.
Best for photographers working on a specific
portfolio or technical challenge.
BASIC CRIT -- $1,200
5 one-hour customized individual sessions.
Review your creative process
Ideal for most photographers.
10 one-hour customized individual sessions.
Extensive review your creative process
Portfolio creation and development
One time meeting for specific issue or portfolio review
CONSULTATION - $250
One hour customized individual session.