workshops

Many people have asked us about workshops but we were initially distracted by Frances's cancer in 2000 and then by our move to France in 2002/2003 (there's more about both in the Diary).

What follows is very much in the nature of 'kite flying' but if you are reasonably serious about wanting to attend a workshop given by us -- i.e. if you reckon that by the time it comes around you will be able to afford both the time and the money -- then contact us.

We're not being funny about affording the time and the money. We know from our own experience that a lot of things which seem like a good idea at a distance can suddenly become more problematical when you have to find the time and the money to do them. If there's enough interest we'll start taking deposits.

With all this in mind, our ideas so far are as follows:

Mdina (Im-dina), the old capital of Malta, dominates the surrounding countryside. The walls around it are probably on classical foundations -- Mdina was where Publius welcomed St. Paul after his shipwreck -- with Arab additions which were strengthened by Roger the Norman in the 11th century and the Knights Hospitallers thereafter.

Malta is the most incredibly photogenic place on earth: go to Gallery, Malta to see what we mean. We have spent a lot of time there -- indeed, Roger lived there as a boy -- and we have an excellent network of contacts.

The workshops would initially be just us and a handful of people: no more than a dozen or so. This means that they would necessarily be expensive, because that dozen or so people would have to pay our expenses as well as their own. On the other hand, the whole workshop would be pretty heavily customized to suit those attending: we would focus on what they want to know. Travel photography; exposure; composition; large format; black and white technique; hand colouring; there are plenty of directions we can take. It's all a question of what you want.

The basic workshop would last a week and be based exclusively in Malta. With the current appalling weakness of the dollar, we don't see how we could do it for much under US $2500 per person, GBP 1500, 2000 euros, and air-fares would have to be extra. We'd block-book rooms in an hotel, probably four-star, half board: breakfast and dinner. Travel inside Malta would mostly be by taxi, included in the fees.

Troglodyte dwellings, initially in caves and then later carved from the solid rock, are not uncommon in Malta. Some were still inhabited in the 19th century after maybe 10,000 years of continuous occupation, but others probably date from as late as mediaeval times. This is on Gozo, Malta's sister island. Maybe a mile away there is a pre-Christian rock-cut tomb.

We would then go to Malta's sister island Gozo for another week and if anyone wanted we could book them into the same hotel; this would probably add another US $1000 or GBP 550 to the bill. There wouldn't be any more formal talks but we'd be available for critiques, help, advice, and information on what to photograph; we'd probably accompany some shooting trips too.

All these prices would be for a single-occupancy room. If you don't mind sharing with a fellow-photographer friend the cost per head could come down a bit. Setting up room-shares in advance would be down to you: we don't want to pair people off. If you wanted to bring a non-photographing partner the only supplement would be for their half-board.

There would be a mixture of shooting trips, talks, print critiques and discussions. The discussions would quite likely be over meals or drinks in the evening. Some of the shooting trips would be to places not normally accessible, or where tripods are not normally allowed, because we have excellent contacts with the Malta Tourist Authority.

When Roger first visited Xaghra (Shah-ra) on Gozo in the 1950s this mill was still working; today it is a museum. It is less than a mile from Ggantija (Juhh-gan-tee-ha), a megalithic temple that is almost certainly the oldest free-standing building in the world: older than the Pyramids.

We don't claim to be the best photographers in the world, but we're not bad, and we can fairly claim very extensive technical knowledge and experience. Most people find that they learn a good deal from our books, magazine articles, talks, etc., and the early workshops would be a unique opportunity for excellent access both to us and to an incredibly photogenic place. Later ones would no doubt be more formally organized and we probably wouldn't all be sitting down to dinner together.

Later we might aim for more people and other lecturers, and quite possibly for a Malta Festival of Photography in the spring each year, probably around March: we'd have to avoid Easter when the island is crowded and hotels are expensive.

In due course we might also organize workshops in Dharamsala, home of the Tibetan Government in Exile in northern India in the Himalayas. Again we have excellent contacts: Roger wrote an official biography of His Holiness Dalai Lama as well as a propaganda book for the Tibetan Government in Exile, 'Hidden Tibet'. This would concentrate on reportage, photojournalism and (let's be honest) advocacy and propaganda. And again as the gallery shows, there's plenty to photograph.

If you are interested in any of this, contact us . The first workshop in Malta would be in March 2006 at the earliest, and we'd want enough deposits to be sure it was going to work.

Frances photographed this venerable gentleman in Bir in the Himalayas; this is the sort of subject we would seek out if we ran workshops in Dharamsala. She hand-coloured it; she has demonstrated hand coloring at major trade shows for both Marshall's Oils and Spot Pen.

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© 2005 Roger W. Hicks