For those of you who have never attended the festival before, the Palm Springs Photo Festival is perhaps the only event of its kind in the world, a photography festival primarily conceived for professional and serious advanced amateur commercial and fine art photographers. Our mantra, since the first festival in 2006, has been Inspiration, Education & Technology.  

We feature world-famous photographers in our workshop program, valuable opportunities to meet with and present your work to important influencers (those that can hire you, publish or exhibit your work, or consultants who can help you improve your presentation and focus your directions); seminars conducted by the very people who wrote the books on their subjects, both technical, business and inspirational; our daily symposium (round table discussions on important issues for photographers) as well as incredible evening presentations in the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater where our instructors and others present their work.

First I’d like to tell you about our vaunted workshop program for this year. All of our instructors have mined their own personal experience and influences to synthesize a known, recognizable style of expression, the goal of all photographers. This 2018 workshop roster is quite literally an embarrassment of riches!

Erwin Olaf, the famous Dutch photographer, seamlessly blends the worlds of fine art and commerce with his own unique mix of fantasy, mis-en-scene and the plunder of his own active imagination. His work is powerful, dramatic and surreal. Erwin promises to “show the attendees a little bit of my kitchen.”

Dan Winters has forged one of the most unique visual identities of any photographer working today. Driven by sheer love of photography, the act of making pictures, steeped in the history of photography and a nearly unlimited curiosity, Dan Winters is a presence in our field today. He has a seat at the table. He will work with his class to find their own sources of inspiration.

Deanne Fitzmaurice won the Pulitzer Prize for her documentary photography work while a staff photographer at the San Francisco Chronicle. Her workshop on documentary storytelling represents a fantastic opportunity to learn from one of our most published practitioners of the genre. She will show how she approaches subjects and how she disarms them to create the trust necessary to make important personal photographs that help the viewer enter the real lives of those she photographs.

Frank Ockenfels 3 . Frank’s ability to adapt to unusual ten minute situations as well as staying away from the obvious seem to be his trademark. He believes in once meeting someone to then decide what the image will be, working with existing light and making light collaborate with the subject to create the moment. In many ways Frank is unconventional and believes that photography can still have moments of purity without being overly conceptualized or retouched. His class will learn to see differently, one of the most valuable sources of creating an individual signature style.

Todd HidoNight light, weather phenomena, and differing temperatures of electric illumination lend an eerie quality to Todd Hido’s unique landscape photographs. The course will cover the experiences, strategies, and influences that form and shape his work. A world-famous fine art photographer, Hido has forged an identity for himself and his work that has resonated with curators, publishers and gallery directors throughout the world. Work along side Todd looking for the unique lighting / landscape opportunities in nighttime Palm Springs and the areas surrounding to come away with a new body of work.

Barbara Davidson is a three-time Pulitzer Prize and Emmy award winning photojournalist best known for her work on victims of gang violence in Los Angeles. Barbara mastered her story-telling approach through multiple assignments over two decades and across 52 countries covering war, humanitarian crises and the human condition for the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News and the Washington Times. Her class this year at PSPF is on making motion-video using DSLR cameras. Learn how to create motion for your personal or professional applications from this dynamo of enthusiasm and knowledge.

Stephen Wilkes has two careers, both highly successful; A leading commercial photographer working in editorial and advertising, he is also prominent as a fine art photographer whose work is widely exhibited and most importantly, – collected.  In his workshop, he will talk about how his subtextual use of narrative helps him to “find his picture.” Photographing large scenes as he does requires a very unique skill-set. Wonder why large landscape scenes can look breathtaking in reality but so very boring in photographs? Wilkes brings his concentration on narrative to bear on solving the problem of how to capture “the Big Pictures” that he’s famous for.

Gary Knight is one of our preeminent photojournalists working today. His main area of focus with photography now is far away from the media and very far away from violence. He works on very long term projects, one of which is in an area of the world known to anthropologists as Zomia where he is documenting the transformation taking place amongst the hill tribes of South and South East Asia. Founder of the press agency VII Photo, he has been a major force in reportage photography for decades. His class will encompass making deeper stories that include both photography, motion video and writing to create a much more in-depth look at a subject.

Debbie Fleming Caffery draws her inspiration from her deep roots in her state of Louisiana. Renowned for her deep, haunting and mystical black and white photographs of the human condition,  her four-day workshop is dedicated to the theme: The Long-Term Project. These become the books and exhibitions that cement reputations. A must check-out class!  During this unique workshop, Caffery will help participants identify and execute strong personal work, drawing from the students’ own portfolios and project ideas. She will present useful methods to sustain passion and creativity during the course of a long-term project, resulting in the student’s’ ability to make work that is both powerful and singular.

Tim Griffiths work comes not from magazines, but internationally famous architects themselves. Known for his deep understanding of their practice and principles, his work focusses on the unique elements the architects have infused into their buildings. The workshop will have access to a number of locations in Palm Springs, both residential and commercial in scale. During the practical sessions, discussion and demonstration of specific technical issues associated with both large and small format digital capture will be undertaken. On one morning the class will be taught by Scott Frances (see below) who is also teaching an architecture master class.

Scott Frances is one of our preeminent photographers of architecture. “The focus of my subject matter has always been rooted in architecture and the decorative arts… the atmosphere of the spaces I shoot & certainly their volume and the quality of the available light….the mood.” Palm Springs contains world-famous architecture and Scott will be photographing in both private and public spaces for his class. On one morning the class will be taught by Tim Griffith (see above) who is also teaching an architecture master class. 

Sandro Miller’s lighting workshop last year was a highlight of the festival workshop program. Miller is one of the preeminent advertising photographers of today with accounts such as American Express, Anheuser-Busch, BMW, Dove, Coca-Cola, Honda, Pepsi, Microsoft, Miller / Coors, Motorola, Nike, Adidas and others. There’s nothing Sandro can’t light, and light perfectly. He loves to teach and his class members walk away with very valuable insights into his lighting methods.

Mark Edward Harris is both a photographer and writer / journalist. The Travel Photo Essay workshop teaches the necessary techniques to create professional travel stories, using images that go far beyond the “I was there” photographs we often associate with this genre. From establishing shots to the environmental portrait, this workshop focuses on the techniques and concepts used to build dynamic travel photo essays incorporating various photographic categories from portrait and food to landscape and wildlife.

Jill Enfield: With her third book due to hit the shelves in 2018, Jill Enfield is a fine art photographer, educator, curator and author with many years of teaching experience. Her specialization is both historical techniques and alternative processes. Her class will focus on landscape photography using alternative processes including wet-plate, transfers and cyanotypes. A return to the 19th century fused with modern digital technology.

Stephen Johnson‘s fine art landscape work has been published in numerous books and magazines and widely exhibited. Johnson will lead a special workshop exploring the desert landscape at the 2018 Palm Springs Photo Festival. Attendees will make work together in the spectacular landscapes near Palm Springs and its environs. Stephen will share his love of the desert, exotic flora, desert vistas and wonderful boulder-strewn fields and hills. This workshop is about desert color, organic form and exploration. It is about quiet, and wind, sun, dawn and twilight, star-filled nights and solid photographic information.

George HolzA unique and respected understanding of light and form are the reason George Holz’s photographs are celebrated worldwide. Join us for a 4- day workshop and learn from this renowned photographer and teacher who has made the nude a major part of his work for most of his career. Drawing upon his vast experience in the fine art, fashion, portrait, and advertising worlds, Holz has a wealth of information to share with his students who will see firsthand Holz’s thought and decision-making process from the controlled studio environment to the unpredictability of shooting on location.

Art Streiber is known as the hardest working editorial photographer today, with regular clients such as Vanity Fair, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Wired, Fortune, Time, ESPN and Rolling Stone. His covers are on every newsstand. In this one-day class, he answers dozens of questions about breaking into the editorial market including valuable details about contracts, reps, renting or owning your own gear, how syndication works, what to include on your websites, how to promote your work, how to create and present budgets and much more.

Dirk Dallas teaches photographers how to pilot and photograph using drones. This is perhaps the fastest-growing new segment for photographers working today. Dirk will bring the gear and show attendees how drones work, what camera systems work best, which drones to use and discuss the restrictions and laws concerning the use of drones for photography and motion video.

Michelle Dunn Marsh will offer a two-day class in making the artist’s book. Michelle is the founder of Minor Matters Books and serves as the Executive Director of the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle. Before founding Minor Matters, she was at Chronicle Books and prior to that, the Associate Publisher of Aperture magazine and one of the Aperture Foundations important book designers.

David Fahey is the co-founder and Director of the prestigious Fahey Klein Gallery in Hollywood. He has been instrumental in bringing over 60 photography monographs into the world through his vast network of publishers. His highly anticipated class will help attendees maximize the benefits of presenting their work in portfolio reviews and to galleries. As his gallery enters its 40th year in business, no one is better placed to offer these valuable insights.

Of course, the festival is much more than just our workshop program. Our portfolio review program brings magazine editors, advertising agency creatives, book publishers, reps, gallery and museum directors and other influencers to meet with you and see your work. Networking is a great reason to come; mingle with our faculty, your heroes, your colleagues and our many sponsors at PSPF.

Everyone lives, breathes and sleeps photography for the festival week and you’ll walk away with new friends and lots of inspiration and passion. Keep busy with our great seminar program, attend our symposium each day, dine with friends and enjoy great lectures each night. This is your community.