When the Toscana Photographic Workshop was founded in 1994, it tried to bridge the gap between technique and practice by giving amateurs and professionals a chance to learn from world-class masters in quaint Italian towns.
Say cheese: An image from a student’s final portfolio.
More than a decade later, workshop alumnus Nikhil Bhandari has set up an Indian offshoot in Shekhawati, Rajasthan, a state overflowing with inspiration. Bhandari, who says the workshops are mainly for people with a solid foundation in the field, accepts groups of 10-11 at a time, each mentored by talents such as Magnum Photographs golden boy David Alan Harvey.
During the day students participate in a series of workshops under the tutelage of professionals; the results are displayed in a final night slide show presentation. Meals are had together, and everyone — teachers included — shack up in a 19th century Rajput fortress, lending the 10-day courses a vaguely collegiate feel. “The nights are endless,” Bhandari says. “It’s not just a workshop. It’s a society which is formed.”
The convivial feeling lasts well after the courses end, with students and teachers often remaining in touch through Facebook groups and email. With the inaugural workshop held this February, Bhandari is planning a second one in October, with four more in the pipeline for 2009. Expect location changes to Ladakh, Kerala and Orissa. Students bring their own equipment, but the price, starting from €2,400 (around Rs1.5 lakh) per person, includes lodging, tuition and food.
Visit www.ipw.org.in for more information