We woke this morning to a very bright and very crisp morning. After a gray day yesterday, the sun coming up the valley sparkled from every corner, puddle and blade of frosty golden grass. And our morning session began with that same bright energy.
We reviewed and critiqued our images from yesterday, all of those beautiful layered and abstracted images of the Dzong and the forest. Today, our last day, we planned to work on a final set of concepts: movement and gesture; the approach to a subject; and classical versus candid portraits. We studied these ideas in composition in preparation for our afternoon’s excursion into the city.
However, before we could go out, we had one difficult task in front of us. We had to choose four of the advanced students to stay and work with us as assistants for next week’s beginner’s class. It was a very hard decision to make. All of the students had amazing work, were hard workers, and deserved a spot in the class, but unfortunately we couldn’t take them all with us. So we chose four students, one from each group. Our advanced class graduates who will be staying with us for the next week are Karma, Thinley, Ugyen and Lakdil. After today, they will be staying with us to help run the presentations, to learn more, to help teach, and to act as mentors and facilitators for the new students.
Our plan for the afternoon was to head out into the city center again and engage in people where they are living their life: working, shopping, paying bills, or even just running errands. Once again, our students blew our minds with the images they found from around the town. In their assignment, the students did a wonderful job approaching and photographing people of all types in a variety of situations, and made some fantastic candid and classical portraits. Their sensitivity and compassion for their subjects really spoke through their work.
At the end of the day we, of course, came back to the class to download and edit the images (those of you who’ve been following the blog probably know the routine pretty well by now!). Our final edit of the class again revealed to us the kind of success that these guys are capable. The images were diverse, touching, engaged, and very interesting with many of the young photographers employing the concepts from the entire week in some amazingly keen portraits.
After our final edit, we pulled the best images of the past few days into a slideshow and held a bit of an impromptu graduation ceremony for the advanced students, complete with graduation certificates, photos, and of course an attentive audience: the new beginners class. The students traveled in from all over the country, and arrived in time to get settled into their room and join us for the closing of 2015’s advanced Bhutan workshop. They were treated to a show of amazing imagery.
We closed out the advanced group as we do all of our workshops…with lots of hugs, smiles and a few tears. Like with every workshop, we bonded with these students and are going to miss them a lot in the coming days. We hope that we’ll be able to come back next year and see these students again, but we’re also excited to see what they photograph over the next several months too. There is incredible potential in this group of young artists.