A workshop with Michael Ackerman & Lorenzo Castore
Calcutta | January 10th to 15th 2018
From ‘Present Tense’, By Lorenzo Castore.
The 6 day workshop will consist of reviews, slideshows and discussions. Lorenzo and Michael will help students find their strengths and weaknesses, spend time on their individual bodies of work and brainstorm through ideas that could make the students work deeper, intimate and more compelling.
Students will be encouraged to visualize the final form of their work and be shown examples from Michael and Lorenzo’s own career as photographers and the vast experience they have accumulated working under different conditions all over the world.
Following the workshop, students will be required to follow up with the instructors on the progress of their work.
This is a workshop that is meant to give photographers the tools to take their work forward, and enable them to come out with a rejuvenated vision. Students should come prepared for long days and be ready to push the limits of themselves and their work.
From ‘Present Tense’, By Lorenzo Castore.
Lorenzo Castore was born in Florence, Italy in 1973.
His work is characterized by a very peculiar energy more than a formal style: he privileges long term projects – shot in color and/or black white using different formats – mainly focusing on his personal experience, everyday life, memory and the relation between minor individual stories, History and the present time.
In 1981 he moved to Rome with his mother and in 1992 he relocated to New York where he began to photograph life on the streets.
After a formative trip to India in 1997, which was an important step in his personal and creative growth, he got a degree in Law and traveled to Albania and Kosovo in 1999. Here he photographed the Albanian exodus and portrayed a group of elderly Serbians who were imprisoned in an orthodox monastery under siege. In the same year he visited Gliwice, Poland where in 1939 Germany had attacked the local Radio Station, the event that was used as pretext to then start World War II. From this moment and for many years after, Silesia then Krakow became key locations for his photographic investigation.
In 2000 he returned to New York and India for extensive traveling and photo work. In 2001 he moved back to Italy and joined the Grazia Neri Agency in Milan. In 2001-02 in Havana, Cuba he realized a series of photos under the title, Paradiso. In 2003 he joined Agence/Galerie VU’ and worked on the series Nero in South-western Sardinia. He started teaching photography workshops around this time and won the Mario Giacomelli Award. In 2005 he won the Leica European Publishers’ Award and published the Nero book. In 2006 he moved to Krakow and published the Paradiso book. In 2007 he started to photograph the haunting Polish brother and sister Ewa and Piotr Sosnowski. This work continued through 2013. In 2009 he directed the film No Peace Without War with Adam Grossman Cohen and in 2012 the film premiered in many international festivals and won the Golden Frog Award as Best Short Documentary at Camerimage Film Festival. In 2013 he worked on the series Sogno #5, freely based on August Strindberg piece The dream with bipolar patients performing in the former Mental Institution Leonardo Bianchi, Naples. In 2013 he shot his second short film, Casarola about the Bertolucci’s family historic home. Ultimo Domicilio book is published in 2015. Since 2013 he intesified his work in Catania and keeps working at the lay-out of three books that will be published starting in 2018.
Since his first exhibition, in 1999, Michael Ackerman has made his mark by bringing a new, radical and unique approach. His work on Varanasi, entitled “End Time City,” breaks away from all sorts of exoticism or any anecdotal attempt at description, to question time and death with a freedom granted by a distance from the panoramic – whose usage he renewed – to squares or rectangles.
In black and white, with permanent risk that led him to explore impossible lighting, he allowed the grainy images to create enigmatic and pregnant visions. Michael Ackerman seeks – and finds – in the world he traverses, reflections of his personal malaise, doubts and anguish.
Excerpts from “Suspension” – a text by Jem Cohen about Michael Ackerman
Noun: Suspension, Verb: suspend:
“To cause to stop for a period, hold in abeyance; suspend judgment.”
In Michael Ackerman’s work, documentary and autobiography conspire with fiction, and all of the above dissolve into hallucination. Common themes have always run through his photography and they’re equally grand and down to earth. Time and timelessness, personal history and the history of places. Decayed and damaged images, not as a matter of style but a direct analogue of experience, which is never pristine. The particular journeys of his book Half Life encompass New York, Havana, Berlin, Naples, Paris, Warsaw, and Krakow, but the locations aren’t necessarily recognizable at all. Michael has been moving towards this erasure of geographical and other distinctions in his photographs for some time. There is surely a trajectory away from the constraints of a traditional documentary mode towards a very different way of getting at the world.
If Michael’s work is sometimes tough, the landscapes remind us back to a balancing delicacy, a faith in beauty. Michael deeply loves the snow trains that cut archaically through Europe, especially through Eastern Europe, especially the overnight trains which he and I share as our transportation of choice. On these you travel but are nowhere for the duration of the trip, floating through whiteness if it’s wintertime. This nothing in which things float is echoed in his prints, though the white is sometimes heavily vignetted, as if darkness wants in. Alternately, the backgrounds can be of total blackness, and then the subject radiates like a candle.
In the last few years he has explored of the concrete changes and dream states of immediate family, wife and child. These pictures, deeply caring but by necessity fearless, reverberate with bluntness, warmth, shock, matter of fact erotics, and of course love, which when regarded honestly, includes a steamer trunk of contradictions. So, there is fear mixed in with the fearlessness, the joy includes some trepidation, the innocence is utterly real, but tangled and fleeting.
But in looking back at Michael’s work as a whole, I’m reminded that one of the great challenges artists face is when to pull back from the proverbial edge – those addicted to pushing the envelope sometimes fall into a negative trap which has its own complacency. A kind or subtle or purely beautiful image might actually be the risk that they can’t seem to take. The walking of tightropes has always been integral to Michael’s work, but I don’t see him falling into that dark trap, which is why the work is thorny but never cynical, heavy but also sweet.
You can view Michael’s work on his artist page on the Agence VU’ website.
Calcutta is a deliciously fucked up, gritty, beauty of a city. It is enormously diverse and embraces everything
in-between life, death and beyond.
It is a city that wants to be a modern metropolis, but doesn’t quite know how to, as it struggles to embrace it’s past and hold on to its legacy.
Calcutta served as the capital of India under the British Raj until 1911. The city was the centre of the Indian independence movement and remains a hotbed of contemporary state politics. Parts of the city still retain unique British architecture interwoven with traditional Indian structures as well as modern constructions
Following Indian independence in 1947, the city which was once the centre of modern Indian education, science, culture, and politics – witnessed several decades of relative economic stagnation. Since the early 2000s, an economic rejuvenation has led to accelerated growth.
As a nucleus of the 19th- and early 20th-century Bengal Renaissance and a religiously and ethnically diverse centre of culture in India, Calcutta has established local traditions in drama, art, film, theatre, and literature.
Geographically, the city is a circular network of close-knit neighbourhoods, called paras, interlinked through narrow streets and curvaceous avenues. Each para has a unique energy and sense of space, the northern part of the city has a drastically different vibe from the south.
The workshop will be based in south Calcutta with easy access to the rest of the city through the subway, buses, trams and taxis.
There are lots of accomodation options around to suit every budget. If you need assistance finding a place to stay, drop us an email, we’re happy to help.
Workshop Fee: EURO 350 | INR 25,000
Does not include any International or domestic travel or accommodation expenses.
Students may apply for scholarships(see scholarship section below) or a fee reduction.
To apply for this workshop
1.Click here to fill out the application form
2. After you submit the form, send us 15-20 images, as jpegs resized to 1500px on the long edge @ 72 ppi. Images can be from a single body of work or multiple bodies of work.
Put the images in a zipped/compressed folder and email the folder as an attachment to email@example.com with the subject line “YOUR_NAME-Workshop_Application_Shared_Visions”
Once selected, you will receive information on how to complete the registration procedure.
The workshop is restricted to a maximum of 15 participants.
Deadline for applications is November 15th 2017
To apply for a scholarship please fill up this application form and send us a selection of 20 images from a single body of work.
Put the images in a zipped/compressed folder and email the folder as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “YOUR_NAME-SCHOLARSHIP_Shared_Visions”.
One application will be selected by Lorenzo, Michael and the Lighthouse team. The scholarship covers the workshop fee. Travel and accommodation expenses are not paid for.
Applications for scholorships are now closed
From ‘End Time City’, By Michael Ackerman.
terms & Conditions
The workshop requires a minimum of 8 participants. In the event that 8 participants are not registered, the workshop will be called off. Participants who have registered will receive a full refund of workshop fees/deposits.
The Lighthouse reserves the right to cancel a workshop due to unforeseen circumstances. In the event of such a cancellation a full refund will be given to all participants. We will not take responsibly for any third party expenses made by participants such as cancellations for accommodation or flights etc.