The workshop is the ultimate playground.

If the workshop is set up with the premise for exploration, a sense of fun and openness it can be a place to test your ideas, present your concepts, have them challenged and receive visceral and unfiltered feedback.

In improvisation, one of the golden rules is not to ‘block’ the intentions or direction of your fellow collaborators. Magic occurs when imagination is allowed room to conjure up thoughts and reactions unfettered and expressive.

Workshops are places for cognitive exercises that happen on your feet, as in life. Of course, you bring your personality with its constraints and preconceptions, but when presented with boundaries of a task, a specific direction or outcome and the analysis of results instantly, new thoughts and concepts can be realised.

Within a workshop, there can be no end result or product, but rather just what has been discovered on the way. It can unleash the subconscious and revitalise your process.

As a photographer, I would bring my experiences of creating and leading workshops as a theatre director. Whether developing the concepts of a new play, or exploring a specific aspect of acting theory or writing techniques, the aim has always been to place the process at the centre of the participant’s journey, and for them to create their own presence or working methodologies.

The root of my theatre was in the presence of the actor on the stage, speaking the writer’s words. I was the facilitator of that. Within photography, I feel I am fascinated by the presence of the photograph within the viewer. How it impacts poetically upon their imagination. For me, the photograph is nothing without the viewer.

Fig. 1: Stubbs, J., Pessoa. My-self. I. rehearsal. 2020.

I guess then that any workshop I would be looking to instigate within photography would be about the exploration of what the photograph means to the imagination of the viewer, and to explore the idea of presence within the image.

Similar to the actor’s presence on the stage I am interested in the presence of the photograph that is before us.