A Truly Special Retreat About Photography And Vision
Castles, Lakes, and Magnificent Coasts…
Ancient Forests and Spectacular Mountains…
Kings and Princes Fought Over It…
The Vikings Couldn’t Stay Away…
A Jaw-Dropping Landscape Dripping With The Spirit Of Pre-History
Crack Your Photography Wide Open
Making work that’s unique to you is what makes you an artist.
It’s a reflection of who you are and how you see your place in the world.
Vision. When I first began taking my photography seriously, I started to hear other artists talk about it. But no one could tell me how to find my own. It took me a long time and a lot of work. And honestly, I had a fair amount of luck too. I found the right people, the right education, and I was in the right places at the right time. If all of those things hadn’t happened, I’d still be struggling to find my artistic self.
Dominica is like me. She’s an artist at her core and everything in her life is expressed in her photographs. And like me, her mission is to share what she has learned with you.
The things we are going to share with you during this retreat are the result of decades of enduring the quiet battle of being an artist. This method isn’t a shortcut. You still have to do the work. But it is a roadmap that will help you to avoid the pitfalls and blind alleys.
Our biggest reward is seeing the light in your eyes when you have your “AHA” moment. As a teacher, I can tell you that the honor of being a part of that for you is the greatest feeling in the world. It’s the entire reason we teach anything at all.
Meet Your Instructors
Jim Welninski is a teaching artist and fine art photographer living and working in Chicago. He emphasizes vision and imagination over style and technique and has won many international awards for his work. He also teaches photography in the classroom at Chicago Photography Classes. Jim’s passion is seeing the growth of his students. Many of them have themselves become award-winning photographers.
Jim has a background in professional media production and has worked as an animator, video editor, sound mixer, and dialog editor. He is also a mediocre amateur musician. He lives just outside Chicago with his cat, Maddy, who allows him to live with her.
Dominica is an artist, a mama, and a teacher. In her twenties, she spent her time on stage connecting with people. Those days taught her about the importance of story and the effect it can have on we humans. She found the art of photography after she left the theater world to focus on her family. It has been her tool and has driven her passion to create again. Her background in writing, directing, and acting helps her capture and design the fine balance between story and art.
Dominica loves to guide her advanced students at Chicago Photography Classes through their 7-week photography project. Creating this series of photographs is usually the first time that students think deeply about their work. She is always moved by the creativity of folks that find their way into her classroom.
Wales is the perfect landscape to explore your inner landscape.
You already have an artistic vision. Our job is helping you find it.
Having a flair for photography makes you an artist. Being an artist means that you also have a responsibility: developing your gift and sharing it with the world. A world with more art is a more beautiful world. And we certainly need more of that!
Finding your vision isn’t as hard as you may think. We’ll be using a combination of exercises, writing, visualizing, and imagining to help you get there. Group discussions about art, life, and meaning will provide extra light. There’s no mystery or magic formula here. It’s simply the right combination to the lock that keeps you from being the photographer you want to be.
You’ll also discover the beauty and power of Dynamic Symmetry, the system of composition used by Master Artists until the Enlightenment when it fell out of vogue in favor of more utilitarian methods. Through the use of some very simple tools, you’ll see for yourself why it’s making a comeback. You’ll also be getting a specially modified vintage lens that makes the most extraordinary photographs. Using this lens will help you to break out of your old habits of seeing and enter into a whole new world.
Armed with all of these tools (and a few other surprises) you’ll return home with a new vision and a new way of seeing. We can’t wait to see what you produce!
The education will be continual. You will be learning in the field, on the bus, at dinner…. The discussions will be ongoing. And remember, the only dumb question is the one not asked.
In the Field: You’ll be developing what Minor White called “Innocence of Eye”, which is kind of like going full circle and seeing like a child again. At the same time, you’ll also be seeing deeper. We’ll be doing exercises that will develop your ability to reach inside and tap into the mystery of the moment. You’ll be journaling as well as making photographs to help you understand your journey and your muse. There will also be plenty of instruction about using the very special modified lens you’ll be getting.
On the Bus: Let’s talk Composition! We’ll be working out of your textbook and we’ll have lots of Dynamic Symmetry and a ton of talk about The Imaginal and how it relates to photography. Every time we talk about these things we get the same reaction: “This stuff is a real eye-opener!”
On the Fly: This is workshop is about you! We are here for you and we’ll explore any questions that you have pertaining to the instruction you will be receiving throughout. Again – The only dumb question is the one not asked.
Here’s What People Are Saying…
We conducted this workshop in Scotland in October 2018. Each of the workshop participants arrived in Scotland arrived with their own unique set of expectations. Each of them had a groundbreaking experience.
Here’s what they had to say:
"This trip was a special moment in my life "
“This trip was a special moment in my life and I will cherish the time we spent together. I learned that taking a photo is so much more than capturing the world as it exists. It provides the opportunity to capture the world as I see it with my heart. In Scotland, I began to approach looking at the world from a perspective of mystery, magic, and endless possibilities. That enabled me to capture the sense of wonder and beauty that I remembered from my childhood. Thank you for the experience and teaching. You are wonderful.”
"It was profound on so many levels..."
“I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience quite like this trip; it was profound on so many levels. Jim’s and Dominica’s generosity of spirit and passionate commitment in teaching us how to see really encouraged us to think of ourselves as artists.”
"This one was special."
“Did all this rain and weather diminish the quality of this remarkable workshop? Not in the least. Jim and Dominica were certainly put to the test. They responded with great resilience and humility. I have been on a number of workshops in a variety of locations. This one was special.”
"I realized that something very special was happening to me."
“During this week I realized that something very special was happening to me. I found myself back in my beginnings of photography as a teenager, a very good feeling that I could take home with me. Thank you for giving me a new way of seeing and for passing on your skills and wisdom.”
"To say this workshop was a seminal moment...is an understatement."
“Thank you to both of you for all that you have done for us this past week. To say this workshop was a seminal moment in my personal and photographic development is an understatement. You have opened my eyes to seeing in a totally different way. I will remember this week forever!”
“I want to thank you for making my first experience abroad one of the most wonderful times of my life!”
Imaginal Photography in Wales, U.K.
June 2-9, 2019
Limited To Only 12 Attendees
What’s Included & How Much Is It?
Hours of Instruction
Days and Nights in Wales
Chance of Having The Experience Of A Lifetime
Only $3750 thru February 28th
$1625 due at registration
$4250 March 1st
Important Workshop Information
Each location requires a hike ranging from 1 to 3 miles round trip. Taking into consideration that we will see a lot of different sites, you may find yourself hiking anywhere from 3-5 miles per day. You will also be carrying your gear. Our first concern is for your health and safety. The terrain in Wales can be a bit demanding. Proper shoes and outerwear are an absolute necessity as is proper protection for your gear. If you have health issues that may be exacerbated by this type of activity, we want you to think about whether or not you can handle it. If there’s a question, consult with your doctor. We want you happy and healthy! If you need more details about the itinerary, let us know.
It is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance. In the unlikely event of an event cancellation or your sudden inability to attend, we cannot guarantee a refund. Also, remember how much money you have invested in your gear. Wales is beautiful but it can also be a wild place. A bit of rain and a slippery rock can result in a broken lens or camera. So insure your gear against mishaps.
IMPORTANT: Due to space limitations, we must request that you bring only ONE bag or suitcase in addition to the one or two small things you carry on the plane. We can only accommodate only this amount of luggage for each person, so please pack carefully. We will have a Q&A session regarding this as we get closer to our departure date.
Wales is a coastal area so the weather can change quickly and it can be a very wet place to photograph. Due to the season, we may not get a lot of rain but it absolutely pays to be prepared! We can expect temperatures ranging from 50 F (10) C)- 60 F (16 C). It is strongly advised that you dress for the weather and bring suitable gear. Average rainfall for the month of June is 3.6 inches (92mm). By comparison, the Chicago average is 3.5 inches (90mm), the New York City average is 4.4 inches (112 mm), the Los Angeles average is less than 1 inch, and the average for Seattle is 1.6 inches (41mm). Protect yourself and your gear and be prepared for rain at all times!
- A small umbrella
- A Poncho
- Extra Lens Cleaning Cloths
- Shop Towels (To cover your camera and dry off the waterfall spray and ocean mist)
- Rubber boots or trash bags for your boots
- Good hiking boots that are water resistant
- Comfortable and weather-resistant hiking pants and tops
- A waterproof jacket
- Water resistant shell pants – highly recommended.
- Hats and gloves.
While everyone is partial to the camera gear that they use, here are some suggestions on what to have in your kit.
- A wide-angle (Prime or Zoom)
- A telephoto Zoom (70-200 or equivalent)
- A circular polarizer (cuts reflections of waterfalls and ocean water)
- A stable tripod (see note at the bottom of this page)
- Cable or remote shutter release
- Optional but helpful: ND Filters (3, 6, or 10 stop)
Note: You’ll be using your tripod a lot. If your tripod isn’t up to snuff, this is the perfect time to remedy that. A good, sturdy tripod/head combo is one of the best investments you can make in your photography. Making this trip with a sub-par tripod will only frustrate your attempts to get great shots. If you need advice on this, please contact Jim or Dominica. Trust us on this: a good tripod will make you much more productive in the field. We’ve watched too many photographers spend thousands of dollars on gear and workshops only to lose shooting opportunities because they spend their time fighting a $150 tripod. We all believe in frugality and financial wisdom but a tripod is the wrong place to save money.
We feel very strongly about your personal and artistic growth. We also feel that a workshop should be a pivotal experience in that growth. That means we won’t be simply driving to a spot, setting up tripods, and clicking away. The landscapes we will visit are alive! Not as just a bunch of little things gathered together in one place, but also as one big, living thing. Each place has a spirit and a history and Wales is a perfect place to dive headfirst into that experience. We’ll help you tune into and become a part of that so you can make photographs that only you can make. Photographs that have meaning and resonate on a deep inner level. Getting the most out of a location means really being there, taking time to soak it in. Listening, smelling, seeing, hearing, and feeling your surroundings, becoming a part of them so you can photograph an experience instead of a thing. We will shoot, laugh, learn, and grow together and you’re going to walk away from this trip a better artist/photographer. Important – We have much to share with you in this workshop. In order to do so, we ask that you assume responsibility for knowing how to use your gear. To get the most out of this workshop you must already know how to use your camera. As much as we love teaching beginners, this isn’t a workshop about learning how to use your camera. Please be familiar with all of its menus and features.
Lodging is included in the cost of the workshop. Please keep in mind that this is a photography trip, not a luxury vacation. Accommodations will be clean and efficient and, as is common in Europe, you may have to share a bathroom. Double occupancy may be necessary.
Your tuition includes instruction from two of the finest Photography and Photoshop educators!
All in-country transportation is included.
We will always keep bottled water and snacks on hand during the workshop.
We will be stopping to eat but the cost of these meals is not included in the workshop. Most of the food in Wales is local, fresh, and fairly inexpensive. Please plan accordingly.
Please plan accordingly as Airfare is not included in your tuition. It is highly recommended to travel in on the day before your workshop and leave the day after.
We will not be providing travel insurance for your gear. What you bring is your liability.
The Welsh Coast and Countryside
June 2nd-9th, 2019
$3750 thru February 28th
$1625 deposit due at registration
$4250 beginning March 1st
An unforgettable workshop experience in Wales. You’ll come home with a boatload of portfolio-worthy photos and a transformative learning experience that will catapult your photography to the next level. Enjoy a once in a lifetime opportunity with two of the world’s finest photography instructors!
$3750 thru February 28th
$4250 beginning March 1st
June 2nd-9th, 2019
Limited to only 12.