FIVE YEARS OF LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS
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IT HAS BEEN FIVE YEARS SINCE WE STARTED VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS, SEE HOW FAR WE CAME, WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE AND HOW MY LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS PHILOSOPHY EVOLVED
It has been five years now since I started VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS together with my wife Zeynep, whom I am lucky enough to have as my assistant in the field as well. I am not normally one to look back, I am much more interested in the future than in mulling over the past. However, these last months of coronavirus-forced lockdown have presented us with a great opportunity to stop, reflect on the business, and develop some new ideas I have been thinking about for quite some time. To do so, first we had to look back and evaluate what we did so far.
During these five years, Zeynep and I run over 55 Workshops, working with nearly a hundred photographers. We started in 2015 with two destinations only, and we now travel to over 15 destinations worldwide, spending about six months a year on the road. Besides running Workshops in our current portfolio of destinations, we work very hard to add at least one new Workshops destination every year. In 2019 we added The Dolomites, in 2020 we’ll run both our first Normandy & Brittany Workshop and our first Cornwall Workshop, in 2021 we’ll do out first scheduled Workshops in Northumberland & Southeast Scotland as well as Cappadocia, in 2022 we plan to add one or two Workshops in Ireland, and so on.
It is a beautiful lifestyle, and a very rewarding one. Thanks to our travels we get to see some of the World’s most amazing locations, and thanks to our Workshops we have a chance to revisit them multiple times. I am always excited when we are traveling to new locations, but perhaps I love even more to return to locations I already know. In my opinion, it is only after repeated visits to a place that one can really start to get to know it, its landscapes, its culture, its people and its lifestyle. As photographers, I find that going to a location we already walked and photographed before definitely helps us in creating our best work.
During these first five years of VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS, we had the good fortune of traveling with some amazing groups of people. As our Alumni know, during all our Workshops Zeynep and I dedicate you, our participants, all our energy. During our travels together, we share with you everything we know about landscape photography, both as far as photographic technique goes and under an artistic point of view. We exchange ideas, chat, have fun, laugh and do photography together 24/7, and we keep working together on your images after the end of your Workshop as well. Keeping that level of energy up, non-stop, for two-three months in a row can be demanding, both physically and mentally, but it is extremely rewarding as well.
I have been teaching all my life, and I always believed that as tutors we need to be ready to give all we can, without holding anything back (see my LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS PHILOSOPHY for more details). Only then, we can be open to absorb all we can from those we interact with. For me, in fact, teaching is not a one-way street, and I feel that both Zeynep and I learned a lot from you, our participants. For that, we are very thankful to everyone who came along for this amazing ride so far, and to everyone who will join us in the future.
Starting VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS, we set off to create the best landscape photography Workshops on the market. In my 2016 article CREATING THE BEST LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS you’ll find what my goals were when we started, and how we went about designing our Workshops. That same drive to create the best Workshops on the market keeps motivating us today and is what we constantly think about, both during our travels and during our time at home.
During these first five years, we kept perfecting the art of developing a new location and creating new Workshops, learning from our experience and improving as we went. Since we set off to create our first Workshop, to make your photographic experience as rewarding as possible, before launching a new Workshop we did repeated trips to any given destination, revisiting it in different seasons, under different weather, with different tides, and so on, in order to find the best locations and the best times to get you there. Not only we need to know our shooting locations perfectly, but we need to have enough extra locations, for any given Workshop, to face any possible problem with the weather, to be able to offer people with different physical conditions alternate options, and so on.
Since I believe that repeated visits to a location will help us to create better images, during all our Workshops I always try and return to at least one or two of our locations to have another go at them. I am always impressed to see how people work more confidently and productively on their second visits, and how the images they create improve and change for the better.
To offer you the best learning experience possible, we decided long ago that we needed to work with small groups. And by small, I mean really small. After starting with already small groups, limited to six people, since 2017 I decided to limit our groups further, to a maximum of three photographers, accepting at most one non-photographing partner or spouse onboard any Workshop. This way, you can be sure you’ll have my complete attention, as well as enough one-on-one time with me to make your Workshop as rewarding and enriching as possible.
As well, choosing to work with really small groups allowed me both to create my trademark image review sessions and to do serious post-processing sessions. Both these sessions, impossible to do in such depth with larger group settings, are extremely useful teaching tools. They result in more awareness in the field, in better results on the images we took together and in a stronger Portfolio. More, they are an invaluable tool to carry home after one of our Workshops together and to use on your own work afterwards.
To make your time with us as comfortable as possible, since the start we invested a lot of time and resources to figure out all the logistics for a successful Workshop, and we continue to do so today. We always choose the best hotels and restaurants available, and we always travel in oversized vehicles to give everyone as much space and comfort as possible during our transfers, as well as enough room for your bags. This way, you’ll be well rested, well fed and well relaxed, and you’ll only have to think about creating the best images you can.
In these times of environmental crisis, starting in June 2019 I decided to offset the carbon footprint created by your participation to our Workshops by funding the planting of 250 trees per participant to each of my Workshops. So far, I am proud to share that Vieri Bottazzini Workshops already funded the planting of 11.000 trees and counting! All planting is done by Eden Reforestation Projects, using local manpower, creating jobs and saving lives in the process.
To thank you for your support and celebrate our five years together, this year I decided to completely redo what used to be my Workshop reports, transforming them in an opportunity for you, our Alumni, to show your work on my website. Enjoy our new WORKSHOPS REPORTS & ALUMNI SHOWCASE section!
To further improve on all that we did so far, this year we decided to take the comfort part of our Workshops to the next level. If you thought that our regular group Workshops were great, and that our Workshops One-on-One were even better, wait until you’ll see our newly introduced Prestige One-on-One Workshop! We designed these luxurious trips to pair our trademark photographic side of the Workshop with superior comfort, resulting in a truly unique experience. Choosing our Prestige One-on-One Workshop, you’ll enjoy 4- or 5-stars hotels and unforgettable restaurants (including Michelin’s starred restaurants), all while traveling in high-end cars. More, you’ll get to choose hotels, restaurants and vehicles yourself out of our list of available options, if you wish to do so, and you’ll even have the opportunity to add your own favourite places to our list (see ABOUT VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS for more details).
So, after five years, after over 55 Workshops shared with nearly a hundred photographers, after traveling together for months on end, after driving for over 100.000 km to take you to the best locations at the best time, we keep moving forward with new energy in our quest to create the best landscape photography Workshop experience for you. To do so, we spend six months a year on the road, divided between running our scheduled Workshops & our Workshops One-on-One, exploring new locations for new Workshops, and of course my personal work. We have been doing it for years now, and we enjoy it more and more as we keep going.
However, we couldn’t have done any of that if it weren’t for you, our Alumni, who joined us on this incredible journey with landscape photography. This post is to thank you for your preference, for your continuing support and for the time, energy and love you dedicate to landscape photography. We are proud of having shared this journey with you so far, and we are looking forward to enjoying many more years on the road and many more Workshops together. Thank you and see you soon out in the field!
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