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#23 Workshop by Forum BEELDtaal

Koen Verjans listens to one of the participants. photo Hetty de Groot

One of the main tasks of Pennings Foundation is education. Activities, courses and workshops are organized for different target groups and at different levels.

Think of the portfolio review days, talent development programs, visits from schools, but also the Closer to Art course and the workshops. We organized a cyanotype workshop. Together with DuPho we organized a photo book making workshop and the Visual Thinking Strategies workshop.

In November 2019 Forum BEELDtaal gave a workshop ‘Storytelling’, spread over two half-days. That went so well that it seems to be the start of a long collaboration.

Jorgen Polman speaking. photo Hetty de Groot

Forum BEELDtaal regularly gives courses and workshops, both online and on location. Forum BEELDtaal is run by Koen Verjans and Jorgen Polman. Both act as teachers and coach. They are concerned with visual language.

A report of the workshop ‘Storytelling’ that took place on Saturday 16 and 30 November:

The registration was open to anyone who makes photographs and wants to tell a story with his photos. This resulted in a mixed group, from the enthusiastic leisure photographer to the teacher of a school for photography.

After an introduction in which each participant explained what he/she was doing in photography and what he/she expected from the workshop, Koen Verjans started the theoretical part of the workshop. The starting point was: “Are you taking a picture of something or about something?”

Explaining done by Koen Verjans. photo Hetty de Groot

That immediately set the tone. “If you take photos ‘of’ something, the images will soon be boring. But if you make pictures ‘about’ something you choose a point of view. You take a mental position."

"First ask yourself: do I make the photos for myself or for an audience?"

Verjans referred to a statement by the American photographer Ansel Adams: "There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer."

“You are going to show something to the audience. The question is what do you want to show and why? It is important to avoid coincidences that do not contribute to the story. Become aware of the meaning of what you show."

Explaining done by Jorgen Polman. photo Hetty de Groot

After ‘what’ and ‘why’ you may wonder how you are going to do it.

You can accentuate something by using flash or by choosing black and white photography or color photography. Or by choosing an angle, a point of view (literally). Or by framing, by off-focus. By making these kinds of choices you develop a visual language.

Storytelling is done by formulating a concept in advance and by developing your own visual language.

So much for the theory. How to develop storytelling through what, why and how the coaches will explain in the workshop.

Interviews for the video done by Renée Visschers. photo Hetty de Groot

In a video, by Dennis Faro, Koen Verjans and Jorgen Polman explain their objectives and some participants tell what they have learned from the course.

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