Peripatetic Geek

Photo Workshop with Catherine Karnow

Photography, as Catherine teaches it, is, like music or dance, a real-time performance art.  As the musician places a note at a particular time to achieve musical effect, so a photographer is searching for the instant when the expression and arrangement of the subject all combine for maximum impact.  As the musician searches for an acoustic environment that adds life to the music, so a photographer is constantly in search of beautiful light.  As the dancer extends a hand to a partner who gives weight, so too the photographer seeks subjects with whom to share the moment.

While music theory and knowing the steps of a dance are necessary to creating moving music or the flow of the dance, they are insufficient.  Likewise, understanding camera settings and the elements of composition are necessary but not sufficient for great photography.  While these elements must be discussed, Catherine goes well beyond these.  It would be folly to try to teach a child to feel the musical beat by delivering a lecture on the theory of rhythm. We naturally take the child’s hands in ours and clap in time with the music to provide the opportunity for the child to feel the beat.  That’s what Catherine does. She creates environments that bring our humanity close enough to the surface that we have a prayer of photographing with it.

When Catherine says, “shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot” with a growing sense of urgency in her voice, she’s helping you to feel the beat – clap with her.  When she pulls you into the crowd and says, “shoot here”, she’s helping you to invite a partner to dance.  Return the weight they give – dance.

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