HENRY LEUTWYLER: I Have No Secrets: Photographing Portraits, Still Lifes and the World with One Light.
Orientation Sunday, May 7, 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Monday, May 8th – Wednesday, May 10th 9:00am – 4:00pm.
Thursday, May 11th 9:00am – 11:00am (Optional)
For Henry Leutwyler, photography is everything. “This is the only thing I like to do and why I wake up in the morning,” he says.
Leutwyler has no secrets. He loves to photograph. Any assignment is a welcome chance to make new work. Henry works in many disciplines; portraits, still lifes, cars, food, ballet and documentary photography. He is known for his unique books and magazine assignments; always fresh and lyrical, strong and memorable. His enthusiasm is infectious. Spending three + days with Henry will charge your batteries, inspire you and you’ll make a new friend.
The author of 8 books, many self-assigned, others the results of unusual and fascinating editorial assignments, Henry loves to make pictures. His ideas come from everywhere – he knows as well as anyone working today how to take an idea, execute it flawlessly and transform it into a complete and published project. He wants to talk about his process, help his students to see how this is accomplished. He believes in simplicity and elegance; the idea that there is one light – and can light nearly anything with his mastery of the single dominant light source. This is not a class about technique – though he is open about sharing anything with his class; it’s about making memorable images of a wide range of subjects because Henry is interested in exploring a wide range of subjects with his camera.
This workshop is for working professionals or soon to be, in the field of photography who would be interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding on how to use inspiration and the world around us to develop projects and ideas that could eventually lead to book publications and exhibits.
The workshop will explore portraiture, still life and much more. This is a hands-on shooting workshop. There will be critiques. Bring your gear and explore with Henry.
We will discuss techniques and the process involved in taking the simplest photograph to something more complex and the experience will be two-fold: we will photograph both objects (each person brings one or several objects that inspires them from home, I will bring some of mine) and we will also photograph each other as single portraits, elaborating also on how to build and make a group portrait work using the same light for both set ups and invent variations in technique together that will include working in a studio environment and outdoors in daylight. The goal is to see the light, in the real world and learn how to duplicate it eventually in a studio.
We will discuss the differences between all the various set ups and how that affects both the subject and the end result. I will share with you the 7-minute rule, that I learned while photographing Helmut Newton in 1991: how to make a quick last minute decision and how to change completely the original set up. Mistakes sometimes happen and we will learn how to rectify them fast or use them to our advantage, without anyone realizing.
I will share with you how to visualize simply, make sound decisions and considering time constraints and small budgets, still get good results. I will reference essential books we should all know about. We will learn to open our eyes, learn from the sun and the world we live in. There is NO bad time to photograph; the myth of the magic hour, very early morning light and / or just minutes after the sun sets are not the only times one can photograph… Be prepared to work, talk, share, fail and start over. We’ll spend long hours together.
Bring your scrap books, drawings, photography references, polaroids and your inspirations for the conversations and Q&A’s.
Day 1 / Monday
1: Introduction of students and review of their work
2: Talk about my process
3: Show my work and discuss
4. Q+A, ideas and suggestions
Day 2 / Tuesday (Shoot day)
Still life. Every student brings one object or a series of objects to photograph. We will go through the process of photographing these objects together.
Recap of the day’s shoot and conversation & Q&A. What we learned, what we saw, what we thought…
Day 3 / Wednesday (Shoot day)
Portraits in studio setting and daylight. We will be the subjects and will photograph each other.
Recap of today’s shoot, conversation & Q&A. What we learned, what we saw, what we thought…
Day 4 / Thursday
Conversation and overview of everything we learned. A discussion on how to take our ideas and turn them into viable projects, i.e., books, exhibits, and most importantly, how to keep your photographic present and future interesting.
Born in Switzerland in 1961, Leutwyler is a self-taught photographer with a stubborn streak and unflappable love for the medium. “My grandfather and father were both printers. I decided not to follow their path, instead to travel and photograph, soaking up color and culture from around the world.
After being rejected by one of Switzerland’s best photography schools, I opened my own photo studio in Lausanne, photographing cheese, chocolates and watches and went bankrupt in a year-and-a-half.”
In 1985, Leutwyler moved to Paris where he apprenticed with photographer Gilles Tapie and rapidly established himself as an editorial photographer. A decade later, Leutwyler moved to New York City.
Today, Leutwyler’s celebrity portraits can be found in the pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair, the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Esquire Magazine and Time. He has photographed the likes of Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts, Tom Wolfe, Iggy Pop, Rihanna and Martin Scorsese to name a few.
Often spare and unflinchingly tight, Leutwyler’s photographs are a quiet yet striking rebuttal to today’s hyper retouched and uber stylized images. “There’s a whole new vocabulary surrounding photography that I find quite vulgar. For me, it’s not about ‘shooting’ and sensationalism,” he says. “It’s a magic moment that happens in the first few minutes of a sitting. Revealing something from out of my subjects that isn’t obvious — finding the beauty within.”
Leutwyler lives and works in downtown Manhattan.