Zen Photography Workshop
with David Butow & Thomas Machowicz
Santa Monica, California. September 30th - October 2nd, 2022.
A Zen approach to photography allows us to be fully present in the moment we're photographing.
We invite you to explore techniques that help tap into your creative energy and immerse yourself in making meaningful pictures.
Register for the workshop!
From Seeing Buddha by David Butow
Green Menorca by Thomas Machowicz
Through lectures and individual instruction we will guide you on simplifying settings and technique so you can fast forward to the space where photography becomes a more personal and artistic experience.
We will discuss observational empathy, the state where you pay careful attention to what the subject is doing, anticipating what might happen next. We'll cover if and when to engage with strangers and what is a comfortable way to approach people.
Even if you're not photographing people, you'll practice becoming a careful observer, being present physically, emotionally and artistically as you look for light, shapes and design.
The editing component will help you find creative threads in your work, refining your personal style and interests. We will also discuss strategies for engaging with groups in your communities through photography, building bodies of work, doing exhibitions and making books.
Our workshop space will be in Santa Monica, not far from the beach and pier. In the morning and afternoons, we will venture out as one or two groups so you can immerse yourself in your photography, but still ask questions as you work. You may choose to work on an existing project or start a new one. This project might be a specific subject, or might be thematic, perhaps an extension of something you can photograph elsewhere. Everyone is welcome to freely photograph on their own anytime.
During mid-day we will return to the workshop space for one on one editing sessions with David and Thomas. Editing sessions are an important growth exercise that helps develop a consistent photographic voice. This is where we make the beautiful and challenging decisions on which photographs to choose for a cohesive essay so you can leave the workshop with the beginnings of, or even a finished body of work!
Reserve your spot!
Photos from Seeing Buddha by David Butow
From the busy, urban streets of Hollywood to the hills above Santa Monica, the whole of the Los Angeles valley is open to you. There are lots of people, beaches, piers and urban areas to experience, as well as parks and mountains for more tranquil explorations in nature.
Lectures and editing sessions will be held in a comfortable meeting space near Memorial Park, just a short Uber or bicycle ride away from Santa Monica Pier. There is a mini-fridge, sink, restroom and cozy indoor and outdoor areas for community, reflection or rest.
The workshop begins on Friday, Sept. 30th at 3pm with a welcome lecture and evening photography session.
Saturday, October 1st - Morning photography session, midday editing and evening photography session.
Sunday, October 2nd - Morning photography session, midday editing, evening closing lecture and optional photography session.
Photos from Sanctuary by Thomas Machowicz
Costs, Transport and Lodging
Early registration $825
- Registered and paid in full by September 2nd
- Early registration discount
Late registration $875
- Registered and paid in full after September 2nd
- No discount
Transportation, lodging and meals are not included in the workshop fee. Group travel to local photography sessions can be shared amongst the group. We recommend booking a hotel or Air BnB near the workshop space (right next to Memorial Park in Santa Monica) or near the area you would like to photograph, if you have one in mind.
Santa Monica by David Butow
Our weekend workshop and editing space in Santa Monica.
David and Thomas
David Butow has been a freelance photojournalist for more than three decades and assignments have taken him to more than two dozen countries including Afghanistan, Burma, Iraq, Peru, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Photographs from his project Seeing Buddha have appeared in National Geographic, Tricycle and Lion's Roar and he has guest lectured on the subject at Stanford University. His new book BRINK on U.S. politics from 2015-2021 (Punctum Press, 2021) has been reviewed in The Washington Post and Pop Photo among others. More recently, his work from Ukraine and Uvalde, TX has appeared in TIME and the The New York Times.
David's photographs have been shown in numerous exhibitions including the Asia Society NY, the United Nations NY and Visa Pour l'Image in Perpignan, France. They have also appeared in books and magazines worldwide. He has won awards from World Press Photo, POY International, The White House News Photographer's Assoc. and other organizations.
He created the Zen Photography Workshop and has taught it in-person and online since 2015. This is his first return to in-person workshops since the pandemic.
"Even though I've been photographing professionally for a long time, I've recently discovered that going out with a focused 'intention' has brought renewed enthusiasm and a freshness to my approach. In addition, the process of editing my book BRINK last year with two colleagues re-enforced the importance of outside input with work in progress, and how the process of selecting photographs for a body of work, whether large or small, is vital to creating a visual signature."
Thomas Machowicz is a documentary photographer and filmmaker focusing on animal rescue efforts and social issues. He is working on a long-term project, Sanctuary, which documents animals and the people who rescue them. This project has taken him all over the world, including the current Russian war in Ukraine.
Thomas considers himself a conduit for stories meant to raise the consciousness of humanity and uses photography film, lectures and workshops as tools to explore and share the human experience. He also offers yoga and meditation in photography mentorships.
Thomas' work has been published by BBC News, Vox, The Arizona Republic, The Raw Society and We Animals Media. He is a Pro Member of The Raw Society and as a regular contributor to We Animals Media his work has been also featured in multiple animal rights campaigns.
"Meditation and breathwork are part of my photographic process. It has been my experience that the deeper we go in to ourselves, the more deeply we can experience the world and connect with others. That's photography to me."
Register for the workshop.
Who is this workshop for?
This workshop is open to enthusiasts as well as professionals. We recommend that you have a basic proficiency in shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Part of the workshop will be learning to dial in these settings before photographing, but we will not be starting from scratch.
If you're a more experienced photographer, we think that focusing on a subject or theme, and the subsequent editing will help you refine an approach or subject idea. The editing sessions will be particularly important, not just for the current project, but for development of your voice overall.
What do I bring?
It is said that the most important gear apart from your camera is a comfortable pair of shoes. Be prepared to walk and explore a lot. Bring a water bottle, snacks, money, sunscreen, or anything else you may need during the day. For editing sessions you will need your laptop, editing software and of course, your camera!
Where can I eat?
Meals will be on your own, or with the group. We will not have scheduled meals during the day so you can work and photograph at your own pace. David and Thomas will be available for group dinners but these will be optional.
Where can I stay?
Our workshop space will be very close to Memorial Park in Santa Monica. You can find a hotel or Air BnB near the workshop location, or near the area you plan to photograph if you have one in mind.
Do you have any scholarships available?
We are offering a reduced rate for one qualified student. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Can I arrive early or stay later?
Absolutely! Though David and Thomas will only be available during the scheduled workshop.
From Seeing Buddha by David Butow