jinky art workshop!

In September one of my biggest photography dreams came true: I attended a Jinky Art workshop!  I’ve admired Barb Uil’s work since I first started.  I love how her photos make you feel something.  They transport you into the world of a child.  They’re whimsical and creative and they tell stories.

Our styles are nothing alike.

Which is exactly why I wanted to attend her workshop.  I knew it would push me creatively to be around a different style of work.  I wanted to learn more about how Barb approaches her photo shoots and hear about her ‘vision’.  I wanted to invest in a weekend of learning that would strengthen my photographic abilities and push me out of my comfort zone.

We spent the weekend in Barrington, a suburb of Chicago, on about 10 acres of farmland.  Surrounded by horses, ducks, chickens, and my favorite… DONKEYS!  [I had no idea that I was in love with donkeys until I stepped onto that farm… something about their big ears…]  Throughout the weekend Barb brought in various families and setup shoots.  None of these children are paid models, but they’re all beyond beautiful.  [I’m not sure what’s in that Chicago water.]

Let’s start with my favorite photos from the weekend… followed by my thoughts on the experience.

These photos may look a bit different than the rest of my work.  Barb relies heavily on props to set the scene.  I typically avoid props in an effort to maintain timeless photos, but this workshop stretched me in that aspect and allowed me to experience something new.

Our first ‘models’ were adorable little twins, about a year old.  Barb setup a vintage bath tub for the girl and vintage wooden toys for the boy:

 I love those tiny little teeth!

Our next shoot was in a ‘boat’ and this little girl’s dress was TO DIE FOR.

Love the way that little boy sucked on his fingers and held his blanket.  Too cute.

Our next setup was inside the barn, still using natural light.  AND CHICKENS!

 We wrapped up the workshop by photographing the family who owns the farm.  We brought out this white horse for the photos of the daughter.  And then a boat on the pond for some quick family photos.

Oh, and there was quite a bit of mud too.  Not a planned prop, for the record, but still fun to photograph.

So that’s the photographic run down of the day… here are my ‘closing thoughts’ for any fellow photographers contemplating a Jinky Art Workshop!

The Lovely:

  • Spending a weekend with Barb.  She greeted everyone with a hug.  She’s down to earth, answers any question, and is willing to share it all.
  • The one-on-one critique.  I was petrified.  How could I show my portfolio to BARB UIL?  But her advice & encouragement were awesome and confidence building for me.  Incredible experience.
  • The workbook.  It’s FULL of great information and it’s yours to take home!  It made everything easier because I wasn’t worried about taking notes… I could just absorb everything.
  • Meeting new photographers.  We all had different styles… were in different stages of developing our businesses/work… and had a LOT to share with each other.  I look forward to keeping in touch with these ladies through our facebook group.
  • Shooting FOR FUN!  Over the last few years I’ve worked really hard.  I’ve photographed a lot of clients.  And I’d forgotten how shooting just for me is energizing and inspiring!  I didn’t have to worry about nailing that big-smile shot for mom and spent time focusing on seeing the details or alternative angles.

The not-as-lovely:

  • The price tag is steep.  I had to save up for a long time.  I had to forego getting some new equipment.  But Barb is from Australia and she came to Chicago for this workshop and will be teaching exclusively in Australia for 2013.  I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  • There’s no one-on-one interaction with the ‘models’.  Obviously everyone wants to shoot and Barb is conscious of ensuring everyone gets their chance by splitting up into smaller groups.  But it’s overwhelming for the children to be in front of such an audience and there’s not an opportunity to talk to them, like in a normal shoot.  This pushed me creatively because I couldn’t take photos of children looking at my camera and smiling at me, like usual.  I have different emotions & feelings conveyed in my photos from this workshop.

Overall, would I recommend the workshop?  Heck yes.  Hopefully Barb returns to the states in 2014 for some more opportunities!

Emily - October 15, 2012 - 1:39 pm

Case, these photos are really spectacular!!

Rachel Nielsen - October 14, 2012 - 9:30 pm

Love these Casey!! The chicken ones are my favorite!

Krista Campbell - October 14, 2012 - 1:24 pm

Your images are so gorgeous! Thanks so much for the review Casey!

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