Straight from the Heart: Finding/Refining Your Visual Voice

Workshop with MaryAnn Lynch

MaryAnn Lynch, Bus stop poster, Quito, Ecuador, 1997

It is important to understand the workings of your camera, but equally important
is finding and refining your “visual voice,” the subject of this workshop. Through shooting, discussion, critique, exercises, and looking at a range of work, you’ll gain an awareness and understanding of your own visual voice. We’ll talk about how and what you see, what makes you click the shutter, the role of composition and formal elements, and two ingredients critical to the development of this voice: your intuition and inner feelings.

Considering each of the above aspects in relation to your photographic process and the resulting work, you’ll be able to discover your present voice and what you might wish to do to nurture, change, or refine it. Your photographs will speak to you differently when you introduce the possibility of their having a visual voice all your own. And once you recognize this, your working method going forward will be transformed. You’ll have experienced what so many refer to as “the moment,” when you sense internally that all formal elements, concerns, and external conditions are being magically interwoven, and it’s then that you photograph. Photographers often experience this as a timeless moment.

Not everyone wants to be a fulltime photographer. However, no matter what one’s level, interest, subject matter, or goal, it is possible to rise above cliché, imitative, or predictable work and to make images with staying power. Two days in “Straight to the Heart” can be an important step on your photographic journey. It will send you out to photograph with intent, rather than to speed-shoot. Confidence in what you alone can feel, see and create will replace any fear of missing something you never really saw.

Day One

In our first meeting, after a brief introductory presentation, I’ll lead an exercise using prints you have brought, to discover what you as the photographer see in your work and what the audience may see. Following this, I’ll critique each person’s work –help determine the project each individual will set out to accomplish and the groups we will divide into to shoot. And then it’s to the streets of one of the world’s oldest cities. We’ll regroup at a specified time and place, where I’ll look at work as requested, and then you’ll return to shooting. We’ll end the day in our classroom, reflect on the day’s work, and discuss options for shooting the next day.

Day Two

Continued open discussion of results of the first day’s shooting and plans for this day’s shoot. I’ll review and critique images, make suggestions, and with each person continue to explore the inner core, or sensibility, from which your photography springs, and your visual approach in relation to the visual voice you want. There’ll be a brief presentation on works of various photographers, with technical and personal insights and tips, and question and answer as needed. Then it’s back to field shooting. We’ll meet for wrap-up in the classroom.



MaryAnn Lynch

MaryAnn (Bruchac) Lynch, born, raised and based in New York State, traveling widely. Photographer/filmmaker, publisher/writer and Director of Mary Ann Lynch Productions. Married with a son and daughter and grandchild. She lives surrounded by family.

Self-taught, I gravitated toward cameras as a child, inspired by an uncle with a Graflex. Later I took workshops with Ansel Adams, A.D. Coleman, Robert Heinecken, Joyce Tenneson, Minor White and more. My bio and website reveal some of the terrain I’ve covered over the past 40 years of photographing and creating audiences for photography. You too can use the world’s most powerful medium for the good, in your work, your art, your neighborhood, and for our collective global future. See you at the Workshop!

From 1968 to 1976 Lynch lived in Hawaii, teaching English at theUniversity; working as a Media Specialist; and directing the Hawaii Film Board--the country’s first regional film center. Returning to New York in 1977 she founded Combinations, a Journal of Photography, to publish emerging and well-known photographers.

Photographs: Since 1971 her work has been exhibited, published, and written about throughout the United States and internationally. Recurrent themes are ancestry, popular culture & the arts, places of power, and spirituality. Among major solo exhibitions 2004 to 2009: Kalapana, a Hawaiian Place, 1971-1975; Legendary Waters, photographs of Saratoga’s famed mineral springs; and Lynch’s acclaimed Forever Marilyn: The Enduring Legacy of Marilyn Monroe, at the John Stevenson Gallery, NYC. Lynch will open a major Marilyn Monroe exhibition in Estonia, Spring 2015.
Photographs in collections (selected): Brno Art Center; Center for Creative Photography (Tucson), International Center for Photograph; New York State Museum, Albany; Queens Museum of Art; Visual Studies Research Center.

Writing: Articles on influential photographers, from Roger Ballen and Imogen Cunningham to Ralph Gibson and Thomas Struth can be found in B&W, Camera Arts, Color, Imago, National Geographic, View Camera and elsewhere. Lynch currently writes for Imagista (online).

Selected Awards: Lucie/Int’l Photography Awards 2006 to 2013, Kodak International Pathe, National Science Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, NYU, Sierra Club. Lynch’s feature documentary, Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass, captured awards from Chicago Film Festival, Denver International Film Festival (premiere), San Francisco Women’s Film Festival and more.

Education: Cornell University, BA in English, magna cum laude; University of California at Berkeley, MA. in English; New York University Graduate Film, MFA in Filmmaking, 1986.


Workshop Information:

For detailed information ( also infos on flights and hotels) please contact
Tina Schelhorn:, +49 176 63426448



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