On this page are some projects resulting
from Robert's workshops.
Immediately below is a deeply touching photo-story by Joy Unglow. Below that is a short stills film by a talented young Romanian designer and now photographer and film maker Irina Maria Ganescu.
How I came to tell this story by Joy Uglow
My parents were swept into care suddenly and without preparation. They lost their independence. The family was no longer a cohesive unit. The institutions of local care took over. I was angry about what was happening to them, and about the quality of care they were receiving at that vulnerable stage of their lives. Our family was not being heard.
At that moment, Photographic Storytelling and Story Sharing popped into my inbox. Robert Golden was offering workshops for a small group, focusing less on technology, more on the ideas behind each photograph. I’d been struggling to get a grip of my new digital camera and also to come to terms with my ageing parents’ lack of independence. So this opportunity was well-timed.
Two years on, I recognize how Robert opened for me a photographic world of social reality. I came to understand the value of careful preparation, planning and pre-visualization to make images that tell a story; how a photograph is much more than the moment when the shutter clicks - what happens before and after are just as important. Time spent identifying my concerns and thoughts, sharing them with Robert and the group, translated into a confidence in my own vision; a respect for the subject I work with; an understanding of the importance of attention to detail at every stage of the process to make my photos the best they can be.
There in the background was Robert’s enthusiasm, encouragement and critical eye to motivate my drive to improve my camera skills and to grapple with the frustrations of Photoshop to produce this story.
The irony; at the very end of my father’s life this project was the thing that reignited his interest in living. When his sight, hearing and general health were all failing, we stumbled upon what would be his last passion. It gave the two of us a renewed closeness.
Irina Maria Ganescu about Robert Golden’s ten day workshop at Bournemout University, Dorset UK, given for THE COMPLETE FREEDOM OF TRUTH project of Opera Circus.
Robert's workshop was an amazing opportunity. Not only did I have access to a truly professional camera, a studio and a very good PC (provided by BU University), but I gained knowledge and understanding that was and is the most valuable.
It was the first time in my life that I opened a video editing program, the first time to take photos within a studio and to photograph people that were there for that purpose. Robert taught me how to use the equipment, how to create a sympathetic atmosphere within the studio, how to create a photographic story, and how to choose elements that would underline the red thread triggering the viewer's emotions.
He showed me the importance of light and ways to frame a picture in order to underline its message; how to post-process an image in a way that it doesn't affect the truth, but enhances it; how to give depth to an image and to bring it to a more dynamic and alive state.
He showed me how to direct the viewer's eye to the most significant part of the photograph. He showed me how important patience and presence are - to understand who, why and what you are photographing; he taught me how to release the shutter "at the peak of the compositional and emotional action". Thanks to Robert, I now understand the beneficial and transformative impact photography can have not only for the viewer, but also for the photographer - to try to understand the world through the lens. And most importantly, he taught me how to express meaningful truths and to raise questions within the viewer’s mind that might lead to enriching answer.
And last, but not least, to dress in dark colors when seeking to photograph natural expressions or actions, as well as to move slowly and silently - techniques meant to transform you into a "shadow" so you can get by unnoticed - which I haven't yet managed to master because it's waaaaaaay harder than it sounds!