This photography workshop is a one-week intensive exercise that will demonstrate and develop the students’ skills in their own artistic practice using photography as a medium, culminating in a clear-eyed vision of a project/body of work.
Whether the students use photography to capture new images, to document, or to extend through the use of found images/existing images; whether through narrative or through concept, the workshop activities are focused on self-reflexive exercises in finding out a path that expresses each student’s way of seeing the world filtered through both experimentation and intelligent critical discourse; placing a mirror with the current visual culture vis-a-vis the vulnerable and incredibly potent—personal vision.
As a practicing artist with various disciplines and formal training in photography, I’m interested to share and teach possible ways we can approach the medium to interpret very specific ideas and emotions to echo a bigger/general field of meaning. To help students understand and develop “author works” is at the forefront of my personal goals as an educator.
The aim is to shake off the ‘illustrative’ trap of photography and expand new ways of seeing by defining one’s own aesthetics, process, experimentation, limitations, editing, and presentation. Just like building a structure brick by brick, doing away with the superfluous and unnecessary, the outcome is a collection of single images that form an opinion and expresses a point of view of creator/author, a cohesive body of work.
The workshop is structured with a mix of sit-down class discussions, exercises, writing, planning, and the bulk of the time independently creating/shooting images in situ Penang, with individual consultations/check-ins everyday; the final workshop days for editing/polishing work for presentation.
The mentorship instruction is tailored to have an individualistic approach, dealing with the students’ project development one-to-one. As a class, the workshop will teach how to manage through various ideas and references. In one week the group will hack and traverse the often-confusing multi-possibilities the medium has to offer by learning how to think like an author, applying the techniques beyond ‘shooting the image’ to applied methods of editing, rhythm, seriality, unique approaches to image-making, and borrowed devices from contemporary art such as concept, typology, appropriation, etc. In short, a pressure cooker of one week to crystallize the makings of a real body of work, or at least germinate the seed that will stay for a long time. The hectic pace is part of the process, pushing the boundaries, testing the artists’ mettle for tenacity and improvisation. My belief is that true artistic practice is rooted in rigor and devotion.
Set in Penang, and probably out of the comfort zones of most of the students, this new experience of a new place is the ideal petri dish for training and experimentation. The body is the studio.
WAWI NAVARROZA is an international contemporary artist from Manila, Philippines mostly known for her works in photography. She graduated from De La Salle University, Manila and attended continuing education at the International Center of Photography, New York. In 2012, Navarroza completed her Masters on Contemporary Photography (European Master of Fine Art Photographer) with a scholarship from Istituto Europeo di Design, Madrid.
Navarroza’s approach to photography is malleable, less and less as a documentarian but rather as an author of a visual language she creates and assembles in pictures. Her body of work is expressed in a combination of tableaus, portraiture, still life and installation through a process informed by research and also largely by referential use of materials. In recent years, Navarroza has followed a cycle focused on depicting notions of looking at contemporary landscape seen from an experiential self-reflexive point of view. Her works investigate displacements, disorientation, discovery and the idea of shifting locations as a response to the surrounding environment.
She has been shown in various galleries and museums in the Philippines and abroad. To name a few: the National Museum of the Philippines, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Singapore Art Museum, Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery, Hangaram Museum, Korea, National Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, and Fries Museum of Contemporary Art Netherlands. She participated at the Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan, “CUT: New Photography from South East Asia” VWFA, “Emerging Wave” Asian Contemporary Photography, Korea.
Navarroza has received a number of awards such as the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship Grant New York, Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Awards, Lumi Photographic Art Awards Helsinki, and finalist for Singapore Museum Signature Art Prize. As of press time, she is nominated for the 2018 Sovereign Asian Art Prize.
She has published two of her books in 2014: “DOMINION” and “Hunt & Gather, Terraria”, launched internationally at Offprint Paris and New York Art Book Fair, respectively. Her works appear in recent photography anthologies such as “Photography Today” (Phaidon), “Contemporary Photography In Asia” (Prestel), “Photography in South-East Asia” (NUS Press) by Zhuang Wubin.
As an educator, she has conducted workshops, talks, lectures, and portfolio reviews at Fotomasterskie Peterburgskie (Russia), Photography Studies College (Melbourne), Obscura Festival (Malaysia), National Museum Singapore, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Art Fair Philippines, to name a few. She previously worked as a lecturer of Photography at the Department of Communications, De La Salle University Manila. She also sat as jury for national photography competitions and Asia-Pacific advisory boards for regional developments on contemporary photography and photobooks.
In 2015, she founded THOUSANDFOLD, an independent platform and library for photography-based practice, publishing, and education in Manila, which also mounted FOTOSEMANA, the city’s first international micro-festival for auteur photography.Navarroza is represented by Silverlens Galleries, and will be presented at the forthcoming ArtBaselHK in March 2018. Wawi also sings for rock band The Late Isabel with a new album “Imperial” released in 2017 under Offshore music.
• 1-3 working ideas for a project (ongoing or about to commence) and the ‘why’/curiosity behind it
• Technical: bring own camera, laptop (with image editing software, video-editing software), optional: InDesign
• Basic knowledge of image-making, photography, and/or video
• Basic knowledge of creating slideshow/video editing (ex. PowerPoint, Keynote, Adobe Premiere, FinalCut)
• Bring references that inform/inspire the project (research notes, images, music, art, cinema/video, literature, conversations, memory, text, theory, songs, poems, etc)
• Bring physical materials, if needed (ex. existing images, prints, art tools
The OBSCURA Festival Workshops and Masterclasses bring world-class industry practitioners to nurture a new generation of photographers seeking to improve their knowledge and understanding, while simultaneously expanding their network with the photography industry and community. Led by a faculty of award-winning photographers and mentors, the programme is an intensive experience for amateurs and seasoned professionals alike.
Objective & Methodology
The OBSCURA Masterclasses and Workshops aims to nurture the latent talents of photographer to become good storytellers who are able to create work that resonate with and are relevant to the world today.
The masterclass is delivered through a combination of in-class lectures, discussions, practical & theoretical sessions, peer-learning and review, one-to-one consultations with the instructor, as well as field shooting and in-class editing and processing.
Over the course of an intense week, participants will find their knowledge and expectations tested to their limit, as they hone their photography, editing and storytelling skills, overcome various challenges and further develop a personalized vision and approach to their photography. At the end of the OBSCURA masterclass, the participants be empowered and connected to a wider network of fellow photographers, editors, curators and cultural managers.
Participants of the masterclass are required to:
- Be able to attend the masterclass for its entire duration of August 18-23, 2018.
- Bring examples of past or ongoing projects for in-class portfolio review. Sample works should be as closely representative of your photographic interests and direction as possible.
- Provide for your own food, accommodation and transport fees, in addition to any costs from hiring fixers or translators.
- Produce a photography series over the course of the programme, which will then be projected during the festival. Participants are highly recommended to research on and have several possible topics to shoot prior to attending the masterclass.