For those of you who have never attended the festival before, the Palm Springs Photo Festival is perhaps the only event of its kind in the world, a photography festival primarily conceived for professional and serious advanced amateur commercial and fine art photographers. Our mantra, since the first festival in 2006, has been Inspiration, Education & Technology.  

We feature world-famous photographers in our workshop program, valuable opportunities to meet with and present your work to important influencers (those that can hire you, publish or exhibit your work, or consultants who can help you improve your presentation and focus your directions); seminars conducted by the very people who wrote the books on their subjects, both technical, business and inspirational; our daily symposium (round table discussions on important issues for photographers) as well as incredible evening presentations in the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater where our instructors and others present their work.

First I’d like to tell you about our vaunted workshop program for this year. All of our instructors have mined their own personal experience and influences to synthesize a known, recognizable style of expression, the goal of all photographers.

Peter Lindbergh, one of the preeminent portrait, fashion and beauty photographers in the world for the past 30+ years will conduct his first ever workshop, entitled The Role of Creativity. Peter just finished his third Pirelli Calendar featuring beautiful and talented women in their 30s, 40s and older, a radical idea for the famous calendar which is creating a sensation in the industry. As Peter says, it’s “against the terror and perfection of youth.”

Erwin Olaf, the famous Dutch photographer, seamlessly blends the worlds of fine art and commerce with his own unique mix of fantasy, mis-en-scene and the plunder of his own active imagination. His work is powerful, dramatic and surreal. Erwin promises to “show the attendees a little bit of my kitchen.”

Sheila Metzner, the venerable fashion, beauty and fine art photographer, has always had a completely original and personal vision that she has seamlessly blended into both personal and commercial work since the 1980s. This workshop represents a rare opportunity to spend three + days with this master of the classical composition and learn how to apply one’s personal vision to all photographic expression.

Nigel Parry is one of the most published editorial photographers of our time, having made his powerful, signature-style portraits for magazines throughout the world for over 25 years. Nigel has photographed both the famous and infamous. He is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards and exhibits of his work have been seen in the world’s prestigious museums.

Deanne Fitzmaurice won the Pulitzer Prize for her documentary photography work while a staff photographer at the San Francisco Chronicle. Her workshop on documentary storytelling represents a fantastic opportunity to learn from one of our most published practitioners of the genre. She will show how she approaches subjects and how she disarms them to create the trust necessary to make important personal photographs that help the viewer enter the real lives of those she photographs.

Michael Ackerman works on his own and in his own very personal way. We called his workshop Mining the Subconscious because he is one of the best-known practitioners of a very personal and intimate form of making pictures. Gritty, grainy, oftentimes incorporating blur and working in low natural light, Ackerman makes pictures you can’t forget, like a dream that was so strong it stays with you forever. He will help attendees in his class to mine the fertile areas of their own experience for their work.

Henry Leutwyler’s work is everywhere. His conceptual books, magazine covers, portraits, still-lifes and cosmetic advertising are ubiquitous. Henry believes in one light source – and can adapt this to very sophisticated and diverse subject matter. His class is called I Have No Secrets: Photographing Portraits, Still-lifes and the World with One Light. Henry will talk about where he gets his ideas, how not specializing in one direction has made him the go-to photographer for countless clients and why the first thing he thinks about when he gets up in the morning is his next picture.

Sally Gall’s work has been exhibited in the nation’s prestigious galleries since the early 90s. She photographs the natural world and finds her expression in photographing its elemental and sometimes terrifying aspects, its silence, its persistence.” In a series of field trips, she will guide her attendees into the desert landscape in search of subject matter. It will be a quiet exploration that will no doubt yield a trove of interesting images.

Scott Frances is one of our preeminent photographers of architecture. “The focus of my subject matter has always been rooted in architecture and the decorative arts… the atmosphere of the spaces I shoot & certainly their volume and the quality of the available light….the mood.” Palm Springs contains world-famous architecture and Scott will be photographing in both private and public spaces for his class.

Greg Gorman is one of our most recognizable photographers style-wise – his sculptural nudes of men and women are timeless and powerful. The author of eleven monographs, his work has filled the pages of magazines throughout the world for three decades. In this class he will show the secret and power of simplicity and the light known as “Gorman light.”

Julie Blackmon has made a name for herself in the past decade with her wonderfully whimsical & iconic images of domestic life. “…the conflation of art and life is an area I have explored in photographing the everyday life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home.” Julie will work with families, children, parents and models to create her scenes of “rowdy children, and boisterous family gatherings” in this exceptional workshop.

David Muench is America’s most important color landscape photographer. He is the author of over 50 books. His classes sell out at PSPF and this workshop for 2017 will be no exception. David knows the Southern California desert as no one else and will be taking his class to some of his favorite locations to photograph. Be ready to find the majesty and power of the Palm Springs area desert environment in the beautiful early morning and late afternoon light!

Brooke Shaden offers a fascinating course in creating the fine art series. Known for her lyrical self-portrait work, she will share her techniques on set design, photo manipulation and compositing, color theory and more in her class, all tools she calls into service in making her remarkable and personal images. Her distinctive palette and composition bring to life images snatched from dreams.

Stephen Mallon is taking on a subject we’ve not touched on in prior festivals: industrial and annual report photography. The class will explore both photography and video with a corporate client in mind. There will be on-location shootings at industrial locations and the course will discuss the components of creating a photo essay for an annual report client with an overview of industrial video and time lapse photography.

Sandro Miller’s lighting workshop last year was a highlight of the festival workshop program. Miller is one of the preeminent advertising photographers of today with accounts such as American Express, Anheuser-Busch, BMW, Dove, Coca-Cola, Honda, Pepsi, Microsoft, Miller / Coors, Motorola, Nike, Adidas and others. There’s nothing Sandro can’t light, and light perfectly. He loves to teach and his class members walk away with very valuable insights into his lighting methods.

Tyler Stableford is a Canon Explorer of Light and was named one of the seven world’s greatest adventure photographers by Men’s Journal magazine. Not satisfied to be a world-famous advertising and editorial photographer, in the past years he has added Director to his cv and directed a number of award-winning advertising films for his major clients. In this class, Stableford will give an overview of the basics of prepping, shooting and post production for motion video. This is an immersive hands-on class.

Art Streiber is known as the hardest working editorial photographer today, with regular clients such as Vanity Fair, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Wired, Fortune, Time, ESPN and Rolling Stone. His covers are on every newsstand. In this one-day class, he answers dozens of questions about breaking into the editorial market including valuable details about contracts, reps, renting or owning your own gear, how syndication works, what to include on your websites, how to promote your work, how to create and present budgets and much more.

Dirk Dallas teaches photographers how to pilot and photograph using drones. This is perhaps the fastest-growing new segment for photographers working today. Dirk will bring the gear and show attendees how drones work, what camera systems work best, which drones to use and discuss the restrictions and laws concerning the use of drones for photography and motion video.

Michelle Dunn Marsh will offer a two-day class in making the artist’s book. Michelle is the founder of Minor Matters Books and serves as the Executive Director of the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle. Before founding Minor Matters, she was at Chronicle Books and prior to that, the Associate Publisher of Aperture magazine and one of the Aperture Foundations important book designers.

David Fahey is the co-founder and Director of the prestigious Fahey Klein Gallery in Hollywood. He has been instrumental in bringing over 60 photography monographs into the world through his vast network of publishers. His highly anticipated class will help attendees maximize the benefits of presenting their work in portfolio reviews and to galleries. As his gallery enters its 40th year in business, no one is better placed to offer these valuable insights.

Of course, the festival is much more than just our workshop program. Our portfolio review program brings magazine editors, advertising agency creatives, book publishers, reps, gallery and museum directors and other influencers to meet with you and see your work. Networking is a great reason to come; mingle with our faculty, your heroes, your colleagues and our many sponsors at PSPF.

Everyone lives, breathes and sleeps photography for the festival week and you’ll walk away with new friends and lots of inspiration and passion. Keep busy with our great seminar program, attend our symposium each day, dine with friends and enjoy great lectures each night. This is your community.