Happy Birthday-Now Almost Old Enough to Drink

TwoCrossesWithHillside, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

In the “happy birthday and yay, you are now almost old enough to drink” department, this year marks the 20th year the Santa Fe Photography Workshops have been around. For the past 20 years, in a quiet (well, ok, sometimes not-though I have to admit I personally blame Joe McNally for that bit) sleepy little ex-convent of a building, tucked away on a high mesa, somewhere near the top of Canyon Road, the workshops in Santa Fe have brought together some of the best image makers from all over the work, to congregate, share, create, inspire, and coexist. Broken down in week long classes, covering everything from black and white master printing, to making your own book, marketing your work, or learning the beginnings of Photoshop, the workshops teach, train, inspire, and have become, over the course of the last 20 years, almost a rite of passage for most photographers. (It’s been said by some that you’ve not a “real” photographer unless you’ve been out to Santa Fe and experienced something like the workshops firsthand.)

Rather than celebrate (though I guess now I’m doing that too) I thought I would present you with a riddle. This year, as part of their workshop offerings, the Santa Fe Workshops have many workshops in what they call “Workshops Around the World.” According to their website, “Workshops Around the World embrace the photographic exploration of nature, cultures, and places in the U.S. and around the globe.”

So, here’s the riddle.

As part of their offerings, they are going to visit some of the following places: Nepal, a photographic journey through the Katmandu Valley, Bhutan, land of the thunder dragon, and Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali.

The riddle is this: which, if any, of these three workshops would you pick, assuming that they were about the same price. That is, which of these three places (if any) would you want to visit first in the context of a photography workshop. And, as you’re mulling over that riddle, think about this next one as well. Which workshop do you think that I would pick?

Isn’t it fun to even think about it? To think about a journey to such a distant land? To wonder what it would be like, to think about the pictures you’d take, the people you’d get to meet, the food you would eat? Do you wonder what the bars look like there, or maybe the restaurants? How about the streets? Are they crowded with many tourists? Or bustling with locals en route to busy markets? Doesn’t it just blow your mind to think about it? Where would you even begin to photograph that and what kind of pictures would you get?

It’s an interesting riddle and, perhaps, I’ll post my answer in a few days. For now though, I’m busy just enjoying the question. (Oh, and, it goes without saying really but, Happy Birthday Santa Fe Photo Workshops!)

Until next time…


  1. mythopolis
    April 27, 2009 / 12:44 am

    I love Santa Fe and Happy Birthday to this organization, but I am too much into outsider art and too much closer to the border, to think much of the galleries there, and the exaggerated prices of art there. Good food, though, and I like the Pueblos outside of town. Las Cruces and Mesilla are more for me. Because of the outlaws, I guess. : )

  2. Carol
    April 27, 2009 / 8:21 pm

    @Mythos, you’ll get not disagreement from me about that. Canyon Road (gallery road in Santa Fe) can be quite “snooty” at worst. The Workshops though are not really about that. It’s more about the craft and process of image making and the power of community to inspire. Hard to explain, maybe you just have to be a participant to enjoy it really, but that’s how it works (at least, that’s how it did for me.)

    El Farol is the bomb. Las Cruces and the high road are fantastic, Mesilla is kind of fun, though it’s gotten bigger and more touristy.

    I kind of love the little towns that nobody notices, you know, like Las Trampas. Those always have a kind of special place in my heart (and camera viewfinder) I guess.

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