Screendance in the landscape with Katrina McPherson

This course offers participants an amazing opportunity to work with Katrina McPherson, one of the  most celebrated and innovative contemporary artists who uses dance and film to create outstanding and acclaimed bodies of work. This intensive, hands-on course will allow participants to learn directly from Katrina, taking as their inspiration the work she has produced over a 30-year career. Participants will be tutored and guided into planning and making a short piece of work, which will incorporate film, dance and the dramatic landscape of Easdale island. Professional dancers  are provided as a resource, and participants will be encouraged to take a collaborative approach to making their work on the island. Katrina will be supported by her brother, Colin McPherson, a photographic artist whose work has been exhibited and published at home and abroad for nearly 30 years. He will lead a short technical session on cameras, composition and light.

The five-day course runs from Sunday 11th until Thursday 15th July, 2021. (Arrival date on Easdale for participants is Saturday 10th, departure date is Friday 16th July.)

*** Watch a short film introducing Katrina and the course***

What is included:
  • All teaching, guidance and encouragement.
  • Your accommodation. We have six bedrooms for participants, in two separate cottages, Chattan and An Rubha. (Katrina and Colin will stay nearby in separate accommodation on the island). Each cottage has its own well-equipped kitchen, generously-sized bathroom and communal area for socialising. Both cottages have gardens, with Chattan also having a patio to the rear.
  • Meals. The following will be offered as part of the course fee: continental breakfasts on the six mornings of your stay, including day of departure. A light lunch, consisting of soup, sandwiches and salad on each of five full days of the course. Five simple evening meals, which will be eaten communally. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided.  On the last evening, we recommend the short trip to the island’s award-winning Puffer restaurant to sample some of the finest local seafood and other produce from Argyll. This is at participants’ own discretion, but it’s well worth it and we encourage all the participants to join us for the meal.
  • We can arrange free travel to-and-from Oban, the nearest major town to Easdale island (15 miles by road). Oban has railway and bus stations and is a two-and-a-half hours drive from Glasgow airport.
What is not included:
  • Travel to and from Easdale island. You will be asked to make your own way to either Oban or down to the island and to time your arrival for the late afternoon before the day the course commences.
  • Cameras and other equipment for your use. We recommend you bring your own camera (capable of shooting video), with a small selection of lenses if appropriate, a tripod and suitable clothing for all weathers, including robust footwear. Either a laptop or external hard-drive to store footage is essential.
  • Your personal insurance. Easdale Experiences, who are facilitating the courses, have all the necessary insurance policies in place for your protection, however, we recommend you have your own travel and personal insurance in the event that you are unable to attend the course after booking, are delayed in your arrival/departure or that your equipment becomes faulty or damaged.

Further information on how to reserve your place can be found on Katrina’s website. Or email colinmcpherson@mac.com for additional details

Writing to challenge and change your world with Louise Tickle

We are delighted to be able to offer this course again, hosted by the award-winning social affairs journalist and commentator Louise Tickle. Lasting three full days, this course is for anyone with a desire to transform their world and an urge to write with a purpose.

Is there a burning issue you want to explore?

An injustice you want to campaign against?

A problem you want other people to care about?

Louise has written extensively on domestic abuse, failures of safeguarding in the state school sector and the effects of poverty on children’s education, as well as international development and the environment. She has a particular interest in family courts and the care system, and is a member of The Transparency Project which aims to promote greater understanding of family law.

Her features, long-reads and opinion pieces are published in a wide variety of national news outlets. She is a regular Guardian contributor, a columnist for Family Law Journal, runs media training courses, and is frequently invited to speak at public events and debates. In lighter moments she writes on activity travel including, most recently, an open water swimming trip to the Arctic Circle for BBC Wildlife magazine.

We are running the course on two dates:

This year: Sunday 8th until Tuesday 10th November, 2020. (Arrival should be timed for the afternoon of 7th November. There will be three full days of tuition, before participants depart on the morning of the 11th November.)

Next year: Sunday 4th until Tuesday 6th July, 2021. (Arrival should be timed for the afternoon of 3rd July. There will be three full days of tuition, before participants depart on the morning of the 7th July.)

*** Watch our short video about Louise’s writing course***

She recently took up the role of the first ever “journalist at large” to be appointed by the charity Local Trust, and is the recipient of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Ideas and Pioneers Fund award enabling her to spend nine months on her Open Family Court project, through which she is exploring how to effect greater transparency across the family law system.

Louise has considerable experience of designing and delivering bespoke media training courses, and co-founded a popular series of conferences called What Journalists Want that ran over three years, aimed at communications teams from the voluntary, public and education sectors.

In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils for her work on the BBC One film Behind Closed Doors and her Guardian reporting on domestic abuse. In 2016 she was also shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Journalism, and was joint winner of the Bar Council’s Legal Reporting Award. She has won a number of CIPR Awards for outstanding education journalism, and has twice been winner of the Rosemary Goodchild Award for Sexual Health Journalism run by Brook and the Family Planning Association.

Drawing on over 15 years’ experience of reporting and campaigning journalism, Louise will guide participants through the process of:

  • tightly defining the issue at hand
  • identifying a selection of story strands within it
  • sourcing and deploying evidence within your writing
  • using lively and illuminating quotes
  • providing balance / being fair
  • structuring a short news article or blogpost
  • researching and sustaining a compelling piece of longer writing

It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced writer or not, but please come with at least one firm idea for an issue you are keen to explore.

Essential items to bring:

A laptop that is wifi enabled

A notebook

Any reports or other research materials that you would like to draw on

Dawn breaks over the former slate-quarrying island of Easdale in Argyll, on Scotland's west coast.

This is a unique opportunity to ‘get away from it all’ and benefit from the peaceful environment offered by Easdale island and work with one of the UK’s leading journalists.

What is included in the course fee:

  • All teaching, guidance and encouragement!
  • Your accommodation. We have six bedrooms for participants, in two separate cottages, Chattan and An Rubha. (Louise will stay in separate nearby accommodation on the island). Each cottage has its own well-equipped kitchen, generously-sized bathroom and communal area for socialising. Both cottages have gardens, with Chattan also having a patio to the rear.
  • All your meals. The following will be offered as part of the course fee: continental breakfasts on the four mornings of your stay, including day of departure. A freshly-prepared lunch, consisting of soup, sandwiches and salad on each of three full days of the course. Three home cooked evening meals, which will be served in one of the cottages to allow everyone to eat together. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided.  On the last evening, we recommend the short trip to the island’s award-winning Puffer restaurant to sample some of the finest local seafood and other produce from Argyll. This will be at your discretion but it’s well worth it and we encourage all the participants to join us for the meal.
  • We can arrange free travel to-and-from Oban, the nearest major town to Easdale island (15 miles by road). Oban has railway and bus stations and is a two-and-a-half hours drive from Glasgow airport.
What is not included:
  • Travel to and from Easdale island. You will be asked to make your own way to either Oban or down to the island and to time your arrival for the late afternoon before the day the course commences.
  • Personal equipment for your use.
  • Your personal insurance. Easdale Experiences, who are facilitating the courses, have all the necessary insurance policies in place for your protection, however, we recommend you have your own travel and personal insurance in the event that you are unable to attend the course after booking, are delayed in your arrival/departure or that your equipment becomes faulty or damaged.

Places are limited to six participants and the course costs £495.00. There is an early bird offer of a £30.00 discount if you reserve your place before 1st January, 2020. To secure your place,  we require a £50.00 non-refundable deposit, which will be subtracted from your final balance, which will be due six weeks before the course commences. To find out more information about what is on offer, please email colinmcpherson@mac.com in the first instance.

Creatively re-set your photography with Colin and Adam

Our short, residential courses on Easdale island in 2021:

Practical Storytelling

5-8 June, 2021

21-24 August, 2021

Develop Your Narrative

9-12 June 2021

25-28 August 2021

Three-nights accommodation, two full days practical, hands-on, supported photography tuition – and delicious, home-prepared food in a unique island environment.

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THE COURSES: Professional photographers Colin McPherson and Adam Lee will guide you through two days looking into ways to ‘re-set’ your practice and how to develop the idea of shooting a photographic essay, story or narrative. We have two separate courses, the first of which will focus on getting the best from your photography technically to allow you to shoot a short visual story. The second will look at more theoretical, yet practical, ways of enhancing the narrative ideas underpinning your work. Both courses will be hands-on and fully supported, with participants guided in how to take and edit a series of photographs to create a visual story.

These short courses are aimed at people who love photography and want to take their practice to a new level. Your teachers will help you explore what makes a great photograph and how to take one. Enjoy a stimulating and rewarding visit to one of Scotland’s hidden treasures – Easdale island. We look forward to welcoming you to Easdale island, a stunning and unique location on Scotland’s west coast which will inspire you. Our aim is to share our knowledge and experience with you, to spark your creativity and to give you the confidence to explore new ways of seeing and making photographic images. The courses are run over two full days (three nights), and allows you time and space to explore and photograph. You will be given one-on-one support and the opportunity to share and discuss their work with others in the group. You will be fully catered for with delicious food, much of it locally-sourced and all freshly prepared.

Practical Storytelling: The first of the two courses is more technical, in the sense that we try to enhance the practical skills of our participants. On the first day we deconstruct what a photograph is, looking at composition, lighting and how to make the best use of the environment you find yourself in to make impactful, interesting and creative images. There’s lots of technical hands-on help so you can develop new skills such as long exposures, silhouettes and portraits. We then move on to looking how this can be built into a series of images which tells a basic story, by thinking through ideas and then going out and illustrating them. The second day is very much about developing and delivering the idea and we look at editing and sequencing, all building towards presenting your photo story to the group. Everything is totally supported and participants can benefit from both Colin’s and Adam’s years of experience and knowledge in practical and hands-on teaching.

Develop Your Narrative: This course, although more theoretical in its foundation, also arrives at the same point as Practical Storytelling: participants will shoot a short visual story, however, we are looking for something more narrative-based for this outcome. On the first day we look, for example, at the way narrative is used in art and photography and at representation. These can be used as the building blocks for participants to put together an idea and illustrate it. Again, we aspire to produce technically good work, therefore you will be advised and supported in areas where we think you could strengthen your practice. At the end of the two days, you will have a story to show and tell.

Both are three night stays on the island. Please get in touch for a more detailed description of what we can offer on each respective course and how to book on.

We are delighted to offer places on the courses for a fee of £395. A non-refundable fee of £50.00 is required to secure your place, with the balance due two months prior to the commencement of your course. Please email colinmcpherson@mac.com for details.
Payment can be made by bank transfer, credit/debit card or PayPal.

We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, wish to know more about the island, the course or the teachers, please get in touch by emailing colinmcpherson@mac.com.

“I’m so happy I attended the weekend photography course on Easdale island. In addition to their wealth of technical experience both Colin and Adam are patient and supportive instructors. They made sure everyone felt comfortable regardless of their experience level.”  AE, Edinburgh

Easdale is a lively place, with plenty to see and do, both on the island and in the immediate area. Once the centre of the Scottish slate mining industry, the abandoned quarries and tiny white-washed cottages give the place an historic atmosphere. Access to the island is via a three-minute passenger ferry which serves as a lifeline for the 65 permanent inhabitants. There are no cars on this inner-Hebridean island, but it does have a pub, tearoom/restaurant, museum and plenty of people coming and going. Set against dramatic coastal and mountain scenery, it is the perfect place to get inspired and take stunning photographs. It can be reached by train on the dramatic and beautiful railline from to Oban, or is a pleasant two-and-a-half hour drive from Glasgow.

The course is hosted and run by professional photographers Colin McPherson and Adam Lee, both of whom have distinguished careers and a wealth of experience in teaching and running practical photography workshops. Participant numbers will be between five and six per course and you will be accommodated in one of two beautiful cottages (Chattan and An Rubha) which look out over the Firth of Lorne to the neighbouring island of Mull. Each participant will have her/his own separate bedroom.

We welcome anyone on to the course who has an interest in taking photographs, even if your chosen camera is a Smartphone. Although there will not enough time to teach individuals about the basics of cameras, we can offer to guide you in many of the basic rules of image making which will help you create stunning pictures.

Your arrival will be timed for late-afternoon on the eve of the course. We will use this time to introduce ourselves and each other, eat, relax, chat about photography and familiarise ourselves with our surroundings. We’ll even have some fun doing light painting, using long exposures and flashlights to create beautiful images at twilight. The following morning, we begin our journey.

“I just wanted to say again how much I enjoyed the course, a truly inspiring experience… I’ve been doing lots of reflecting about what we covered and trying to put it into practice!”
 SM, Argyll

Each participant will have plenty of time each day to put what they have learned into practice and you will be encouraged to make and share your work with the other participants at the end of each day. Adam and Colin always on hand to offer advice, guidance and cups of tea. There will also be plenty of down time – an opportunity to socialise and share stories and experiences – and to ask lots of questions. We’ll talk about what inspires us to take photographs, how we can turn ideas into stories and how to undertake and complete projects. You will have the chance to have your portfolio reviewed by both Adam and Colin, so please bring some examples of your work with you if you wish.

You will stay on the island for three nights and departure will be on the morning after day two of the course.

What is included:
All teaching, guidance and encouragement to take great photographs. We have a large communal lounge with big screen for looking at and reviewing work. Theory and practice will take place both inside and outside, so come prepared to be on the move.
Your accommodation. We have six bedrooms for participants, in two separate cottages, Chattan and An Rubha. (Adam and Colin will stay in separate accommodation on the island). Each cottage has its own well-equipped kitchen, generously-sized bathroom and communal area for socialising. Both cottages have gardens, with Chattan also having a patio to the rear.
All your meals. The following will be offered as part of the course fee: continental breakfasts on the four mornings of your stay, including day of departure. A freshly-prepared lunch, consisting of soup, sandwiches and salad on each of two full days of the course. Home cooked evening meals, which will be served in one of the cottages to allow everyone to eat together. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided.  On the last evening, we recommend the short trip to the island’s award-winning Puffer restaurant to sample some of the finest local seafood and other produce from Argyll. This will be at your discretion but it’s well worth it and we encourage all the participants to join us for the meal.
We can arrange free travel to-and-from Oban, the nearest major town to Easdale island (15 miles by road). Oban has railway and bus stations and is a two-and-a-half hours drive from Glasgow airport.

What is not included:
Travel to and from Easdale island. You will be asked to make your own way to either Oban or down to the island and to time your arrival for the late afternoon before the day the course commences.
Cameras and other equipment for your use. We recommend you bring your own camera, with a small selection of lenses if appropriate, a tripod or stabiliser, flashlight and suitable clothing for all weathers, including robust footwear. Either a laptop or external hard-drive to store images is essential.
Your personal insurance. Easdale Experiences, who are facilitating the courses, have all the necessary insurance policies in place for your protection, however, we recommend you have your own travel and personal insurance in the event that you are unable to attend the course after booking, are delayed in your arrival/departure or that your equipment becomes faulty or damaged.

“Thank you for organising such an enjoyable and stimulating trip, and for all the patient teaching and encouragement that you and Adam offered.”  MD, Manchester

“This was a fantastically engaging course which I couldn’t recommend enough for a person of any level of experience to do. Colin and Adam were excellent hosts and teachers.”  EC, East Lothian

Meet the tutors…

Colin McPherson – www.colinmcpherson.com
Born in Edinburgh, Colin McPherson has been photographing at home and abroad for a three decades. He undertakes long-term projects alongside commissions and assignments for a number of newspapers and magazines and is represented by the Getty agency. He was a major contributor to the The Independent and was the official photographer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay. In 2012, he was a founder member of the Document Scotland photography collective. His work is published internationally and held in archives and collections such as the Scottish national photographic archive. His photography has been featured in more than 30 solo and group exhibitions including at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and Impressions Gallery, Bradford. His latest exhibition of work made on Easdale island was shown at five venues across Scotland and England in 2019. Like fellow tutor Adam Lee, he is a member of the SixBySix photography collective, based on Merseyside.

Adam Lee – www.adamleephotography.com
Adam is a freelance photographer and photography facilitator based in Liverpool. His work has been published in a number of national newspapers including the Observer, the Independent on Sunday as well as commissions for other magazines such as Aeon and Earthlines and clients such as Granta. Aside from commissioned work, Adam also undertakes personal projects, which have been exhibited across the North West of England. As a facilitator Adam works with a wide range of groups including adult and young people. His clients include Blackpool Museum, Liverpool City Council, Preston City Council, The Library of Birmingham, Redeye the Photography Network, Halton Borough Council and Halton CGG amongst others. Much of this work involve teaching photography skills to groups so that they can tell their own stories and advocate for the issues that affect them. Adam has received Art Council England funding for a number of these projects. Recently, Adam has started undertaking long distance walks, which included walking 600 miles along the Pamir Highway in Central Asia. During 2018, he walked the length of Britain with his companion, Martin the Donkey. Adam has written extensively about his adventures.

Join the conversation on our Easdale Island Photography Courses Facebook page.

Check out some of the work made on our courses on this participant portfolio page.

 

 

 

First photography courses on Easdale island announced

The Firth of Lorne from Easdale island. Photograph by Colin McPherson

The Firth of Lorne from Easdale island. Photograph by Colin McPherson

Easdale Experiences is delighted to announce the launch of our first practitioner-led photography courses in Argyll, to be held on the island in September, 2016. These short courses are aimed at people who love photography and want to take their practice to a new level. Using the island as our inspiration, our teachers will help you explore what makes a great photograph and how to take one.

We look forward to welcoming you to Easdale island, a stunning and unique location on Scotland’s west coast which we hope will inspire you to learn about the practice and theory of taking great photographs. Our aim is to share our knowledge and experience with you, to help you re-set creatively and to give you the opportunity to explore new ways of seeing and making photographic images. Read More …