Built in 1908 as a retreat hospital for tuberculosis patients, the center has crisp views of
At age 61, he is hoping to spend more and more time on hobbies he wants to do. The Basics of Digital Photography class was his sixth visit to the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops -- and the first with his daughter, a 21-year-old nursing student.
The two are among the 18,000 amateur photographers who have attended the workshops started 25 years ago by
But no matter where the workshops are held, Callanan promises the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops brand, a very hands-on technical learning that teaches the craft but also gets students immersed in a culture and thinking creatively about what they see.
"The best way to do it is in a group setting," Callanan said. "We teach them how to use the gear, but also how to see more creatively. It's the creative part that's so energizing."
One result of the workshops has been the thousands of images of
"People who come here want to experience
Images are what drive information now, Callanan said, and there are "18,000 people coming here and disseminating those images out there and touting
Kothari's daughter -- one of three father-daughter pairs taking classes recently -- admits she takes too many pictures on her phone. She was eager to learn photography with a real camera. "Instagram,
And last week, those photos were largely from
The average five-day workshop in
"I meet many people who [include] taking a class at Santa Fe Workshops on their bucket list," said
Callanan and his staff are glad to oblige, not only with basic classes but with portrait or landscape classes, and sessions on lighting, toning, archiving, and keeping and sharing images. And that's what's different about photography today, he said.
When the workshops started in 1990, the program used overnight photo processing to run batches of negatives. From 1995 to 2,000, one workshop might have students with both film and digital cameras, and staff had to accommodate both. Today, everything is digital, which means laptops and software and digital projectors.
"That's one reason we survived the recession," Callanan said. "The photographer has become the processing lab. The learning curve is so steep, people have to have a place to come and learn."
With an operating budget of
The bulletin board in the main office at the IMH Retreat Center resembles an outgoing train marquee at
For Callanan, it's not about all the stuff, but the camera -- and tourists who can see a place visually have a fundamentally different experience. "The camera gives you a license to go to a place and explore a place," he said. "A camera is a passport to a cultural experience. You see a place differently with a camera."
He said students with a camera can go up to a vendor or a bus driver and ask to observe, but "without a camera, people will think you're a weirdo."
McCarthy is one to point out all the couples who met at the workshops and then got married (even Callanan married one of the students). Or the attendees who came to learn photography and then fell in love with
There is also
She graduated with a degree in criminal justice and thought she wanted to be an
A year after her class, she took a leave from the job and came to
Now she has a photography business here and teaches the
"You see people coming back here time after time. Some people take eight workshops. You think about nothing else for five days. It's amazing what you can accomplish," she said.
"I"m going to be stuck with myself for a long time," she said. "You have to take charge of your own life."
He loves opera, but he loves photography more. "I've had a camera all my life, and I've always been interested in photography. In two days, I've learned more about this camera than I ever did" before, he said.
"I can use the manual control.I guess you're never too old to learn."
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