SSL Certificate
Claudia Lopez
The Portrait: Gesture and the Intangible

Session One - June 10-16, 2018

Course Description
This workshop will explore the intrinsic relationship between the photographer and the sitter, mediated by the camera, in the creation of a photographic portrait.

Through photographing we will explore the collaborative aspect of image creation aided by lighting, environment, and composition.

On the first day we will have an introductory lecture on the history of portraiture and will study different approaches that make a portrait emotional or descriptive. Delving into the meaning of gesture and the power of the environment in which a portrait can be set up, we will learn how different visual elements contribute to the creation and strength of an image.

At the beginning of the class, I will ask students to present 10-15 photographs of their own for the class to learn about each other and to set the tone and goals for the work ahead. There will be 4 modules, one on each following day, focused on emotion, description, environment, and the Self.

Our morning hours will be dedicated to photographing (in studio or location) and during the afternoon sessions we will work on image editing and post-production. In addition, we will be brainstorming and planning the next day’s photoshoot.
Be ready for fast-paced, full days!

Skill Level:
All participants should have working familiarity with the manual functions on a digital SLR or mirrorless camera, in addition to basic knowledge of digital workflow on Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, or a similar program.

Although the workshop is open to all levels, I encourage the participants to know the basics of how to operate their own cameras and how to transfer images to a computer.

Artist's Biography
Claudia Camila Lopez is a Colombian photographer working from any corner of the world where there is a story that needs to be shared. After 14 years involved in advertising photography, Claudia took a drastic turn from the safety and comfort of the studio environment into the changing world of the Himalayan high mountains and the uncertainty of conflict zones. Working as a Cultural and Adventure Documentarian, she has travelled to Tibet, Nepal, Kashmir, Ladakh, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.

Claudia is a regular contributor to Der Spiegel (Germany), La Vanguardia (Spain) and Gory Magazine (Poland), a TED Speaker, and a teacher. Currently she is working in 2 monographs: Cardinal Points (women & violence in Colombia) and Tres (Sherpas & Porters in the Himalayas).

Due to her penchant for practical jokes and dance moves, and her cool head in times of trouble and danger, she has been nicknamed The Vibe Guru.

Artist's Statement
I’m just not from around here.” I say it often. It speaks to who I am, what I do, and how I do it. My journey began in Bogotá, Colombia, at more than 8000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains. Coming of age in a cosmopolitan metropolis ringed by sharp mountain peaks left its mark. It gave me a passion bordering on obsession with altitude, a love for hybrid cultures, and an eye for the meeting of extremes. It gave me a patient stubbornness seemingly out of proportion to my diminutive stature. And it gave me photography.

Photography is narrative. It is losing myself in my grandmother's stories whilst studying yellowing mementos in her albums. It is the vivid history of Tibetan culture in an illustrated book borrowed from my father. When my mother gave me a Kodak 110 for my 11th birthday, it immediately became an extension of my own thought process, a point of view I could exercise at will. The camera is not just a way of zooming in and capturing from a safe distance. It draws me in closer to my subjects, close enough to read the small print life has etched on their faces.

It is in portraiture where I find myself at ease. Creating a connection, a dance mediated by the camera, represents the utmost challenge I pursue. It is finding what is intangible in that realm of visual communication that fuels me. The face fascinates me. It is a mysterious gateway to the human soul. It can be truthful or deceiving. It is always an interrogant to be explored, and deciphered.

Website: Claudia Lopez

Supply List:

  • Digital camera and lenses
  • Memory Cards
  • Card reader
  • Batteries and battery chargers
  • Camera flash (optional)
  • LiteDisc or any kind of collapsible light reflector (optional)
  • Tripod (optional)
  • External hard drive and/or USB Flash drives (optional)
  • There will be iMac computers loaded with Adobe Creative Suite for each student but participants are welcome to bring their own laptops.
  • For the first day of class, please bring 10-15 images of previous work with emphasis in portraiture, if at all possible.

Recommended reading:

    • At Work. By Annie Leibovitz
    • Faces: A Narrative History of the Portrait in Photography. By Ben Maddow
    • Ghost in the Shell: Photography and the Human Soul. By Robert Sobieszek
    • The Camera I: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection. By Robert Sobieszek
    • Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous. By Brian Smith

Claudia Lopez

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