Our short, residential courses on Easdale island in 2021:
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.
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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]
“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!”
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.