Rose Vandepitte, Belgium

Reflecting on the workshop in Varanasi I can first of all say that I am happy that I joined the workshop and that I am satisfied with the whole experience. The structure really suited my way of going about things. Being free during the day to go and photograph wherever an whatever I wanted and not necessarily going out in groups is something I could appreciate and enjoy. It forced me to look around me, find my subjects and focus on how I would translate what I saw and felt into a photograph. Keeping in mind that an editing session followed added that extra bit of positive pressure. And those editing sessions in the evening were of course crucial for the learning process ! The setting with the terrace, some food and beer was great. Your projection setup is really great. Listening to your comments was most enriching. I found it particularly interesting when you analysed all the elements that make up an image. I learned a lot from those remarks about form, content, balance and trying to go beyond whether it concerned my images or those of the other students. That is why it was very important and interesting that we did the editing and image evaluation as a group, these were moments of sharing and contribution (sometimes also moments of confrontation with oneself). We all benefited from the image critiques, guidelines to improve our skills and image quality. About the stay I can say that I liked the fact that we stayed enough days in Varanasi so we could really get in touch with this very special Indian city. But maybe one day less in Varanasi and one more day in Delhi might be a suggestion … (I also did find photographing in Delhi a lot more difficult and tiring). The total workshop duration of 9/10 days is perfect. As far as I am concerned I found the choices for accommodation really fine. The hotel in Varanasi did not only have a great terrace but it also matched the Indian scene we found outside the hotel. Personally I don’t like to find myself in “golden cages” in these countries, it does not correspond with how I see traveling and experiencing those parts of the world. I enjoyed the company of the group too (about the right size). For communication it is never obvious when a nationality or language group is in the majority even if all know that the workshop language is English however towards the end when we all got to know each other better it worked out alright. Anyway, I was really happy to be able to combine my interest in India with my interest in photography.

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