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Find out what happens at an RA photography workshop

Published 2 September 2014

Have you ever walked around London and wished you’d had a camera to hand and the confidence to capture the street life of the capital?

  • Update: Check out the photos from our recent Dennis Hopper-inspired black and white street photography workshop here on Flickr.

    Our regular photography workshops range from capturing the urban landscape in London’s East End to exploring hidden nature in Mayfair. Led by professional photographer Roy Matthews, our participants learn the techniques of shooting on location and the art of capturing beautiful images amongst the hustle and bustle of busy London life. In addition to his commercial ventures (he was chief photographer at publishing house Hodder & Stoughton) Roy is a practicing art photographer and a passionate teacher of both location and classroom-based photography.

    In April we ran a workshop exploring black and white photography, inspired by the dramatic contrast of light and dark in the woodblocks on display in our Renaissance Impressions exhibition. All types of photographers, from amateur to professional, came together to develop their skills when shooting in black and white. After an introduction to the techniques and artists that are widely associated with black and white photography – Alfred Eisenstaedt and Robert Capa for instance – the group set off to pound the streets. Along the way, Roy offered tutor support, giving practical help as well as tips on how best to approach people to take their photograph.

    After three hours out on location, participants arrived back at the RA, exhausted but brimming with stories of back street location finds and challenging subject choices. The session concluded with a tutor and peer critique (each participant selected two works from the hundreds of images taken that day for appraisal). These discussions centred on the photographer’s ability to capture their subject through technique and composition, as well as the hidden practicalities in how they managed to take the shot.

    What’s evident is that by the end of the workshop, participants have mastered or developed new techniques in photography; beyond that however, they have also gained the confidence to go out there and capture moments in time.

  • There was a great bunch of participants, inspired leadership from Roy and the usual excellent back-up from RA staff. I thought that there were lots of super photos to look at and then stimulating discussion. I learnt a lot. A very good day!

    Workshop participant

  • Amy Bluett is part of the Learning Team at the RA.