La Vida Leica!

William Albert Allard 1-day Master Class in LA
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Author:  James Lehrer [ Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:06 pm ]
Post subject:  William Albert Allard 1-day Master Class in LA

Leica Akademie and the Leica Store and Gallery LA are hosting a 1-day master class with William Albert Allard on Saturday, April 7, 2018. The class size is limited to 11 participants, and when I signed up, yesterday, the folks in the store told me the class was filling up fast. Contact the Leica Store and Gallery LA to see if there are any spaces left and to register. I got a 10 percent discount on the tuition by registering through the LHSA members' website.
According to the Leica Akademie advertisement: "...this is an exclusive and rare opportunity to experience a full day of lecture, conversation, and a portfolio review from one of the founding fathers of the modern photographic essay...Topics covered include:
• Color and composition
• Seeing the details
• Discover your photographic strengths
• Working the scene
• Developing long term projects
Who should take this workshop? This workshop will be useful to experienced or up-and-coming photographers alike. Participants are expected to have good understanding of the general operation of their cameras, as this is not a basic technical program. Photographers with completed projects or projects in progress will gain the most from having their work reviewed."
Here's the link to the Leica Akademie webpage:

Author:  James Lehrer [ Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: William Albert Allard 1-day Master Class in LA

I should also mention that the Leica Store and Gallery LA is also presenting a free 2-hour talk with William Albert Allard Sunday, April 8th, 2018 (12:00-200pm). The Store and Gallery are located at 8783 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood CA 90069, at the corner of Robertson. Free adjacent parking lot, and adjacent meter lot. If you plan on attending, please RSVP: telephone: 424-777-0341.
This artist talk is part of a new exhibition of Mr. Allard's work at the Gallery and the publication of his new book: Paris - Eye of the Flâneur. Here is the link to the Leica Gallery LA's upcoming exhibitions page:

Author:  James Lehrer [ Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: William Albert Allard 1-day Master Class in LA

The William Albert Allard master class at the Leica Store & Gallery Los Angeles yesterday more than fulfilled my need for some long-overdue inspiration. I first ran across Bill at a Leica Historical Society of America convention in Pasadena, California around 30 years ago, just after I bought an M4-P from a wonderful Leica store on Lake Avenue in the same town. I didn't know much about Bill (he prefers to be called "Bill"), perhaps because I was not a regular reader of National Geographic. Being a dyed-in-the-wool nerd, Scientific American was more my bag. As luck would have it, that convention drew several legendary photographers, among them Bill. I learned pretty quickly that I was in exciting company.
Bill was very kind to me; he spoke with me a while and signed one of his books (Vanishing Breed) for me and also an iconic print of a horse and rider tearing across the West Texas plain.
When the opportunity came up to take even a short master class with Bill, I whipped out the plastic so fast it practically melted. Tom Scott of Leica Akademie North America works hard to make these programs successful for everyone, and I knew I'd get something good out of it.
The class was limited to 11 participants. Most were locals, although one came in from Idaho just for the program. Each participant was asked to provide 10 digital images representing work they particularly cared about, or a project they were working on. Most of the participants used Leicas (digital Ms, Qs and Monochromes for the most part) and several used Nikons with both fixed and zoom lenses. A variety of genres were presented: mostly street and travel, landscape, wildlife, architectural/graphic, and portrait, in both color and black and white.
The morning was devoted to a slide presentation and talk by Bill, in the manner of a retrospective of 50 years of professional photography. Bill welcomed questions along the way. He followed this with two short slide presentations of recent projects set to music. The morning closed with a general question and answer period covering technical as well as aesthetic issues. Bill was candid about the things he felt he would have difficulty imparting "wisdom" on, such as color, or style. On the other hand, he was very forthright about things he feels are his forte and which he can share: framing, composition, and working the scene, for example. He repeatedly emphasized the importance of taking your work seriously at every stage. You can't shoot haphazardly and hope to fix it late in processing. You have to learn to be your own editor, and a tough and demanding one at that. Laziness in framing the photograph, resulting in merged bodies and faces that don't read well or make visual sense, and sloppy things like "trees growing out of the subject's head" simply destroy the photograph. Working the scene, on the other hand, is gradually (if circumstances permit) moving around, adjusting the shapes in the frame, cleaning away the inessential, and trying to catch the essential in a moment of gesture or expression.
The lunch break on the Leica Gallery's open-air porch overlooking Beverly Boulevard was delightful, catered by the nearby restaurant Lemonade. Afterwards we reconvened in the third-floor classroom for a group review of the participants' 10-image portfolios. Bill ran through each portfolio quickly to get an overview, then again slowly, verbalizing what he liked and found problematic about each image. Where he could, Bill gave suggestions for reshooting or modifying the image if it had been changed in post-processing. The best images (in Bill's opinion) were marked. Before moving on to the next portfolio, the photographer was invited to ask Bill any advice for next steps or further work on their project.
The program concluded with a slide presentation on Bill's return visit and photographic work with a Hutterite colony. Bill also wrote the script and provided the voice over. Here, his paramount skill at combining words and pictures was shared in a most personal way, and those participants with an interest in photographers such as Walker Evans, Eugene Richards, and W. Eugene Smith were immersed for a while in the work of a living master.
Thirty years after we met in Pasadena, Bill inscribed his book The Photographic Essay to me, as well as his beautiful new book: William Albert Allard: Paris - The Eye of the Flaneur.

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