Workshops / Individual Instruction
Got film? Got digital? Individual instuction is an open format intended for anyone at any skill level where we can have focus on specific areas of artisitc inquiry, exploration, portfolio review or technical skill-building.
Contact me for additional information or to schedule a session. I offer a free consultation to discuss your goals or determine your needs if you have a specific project in mind or you're simply not sure what you should focus on. Individual instruction can be also scheduled for extended sessions for beginners or more advanced students looking for mentoring.
Workshops are offered about twice a year (approx. May and November). To be notified about upcoming workshops, sign up below for my "Upcoming Workshops" mailing list.
Email Signup: Upcoming Workshops
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How I work and teach
I greatly enjoy sharing the wealth of knowledge and experience I’ve gained in my ten years devoted to fine art photography. My philosophy is to offer instruction in only what I have worked with a great deal; these are the areas I continue to explore daily. I believe that the technical is not an end in itself, but simply a readily-grasped tool that allows the person behind the camera to work towards infusing their photos with depth and meaning. Throughout my photography career, I‘ve captured images with all kinds of cameras ranging from antique to modern, from toy to professional, and in formats ranging from 35mm to 4x5 as well as digital. Currently, I am using a medium format Hasselblad camera from the 1980’s, developing my own film and creating scans from the negatives and making fine prints on an Epson professional printer. This is known as a hybrid workflow which requires proficiency in both the film and digital domains, including Adobe Photoshop. I work this way because after much experimentation, I found it fit my personality, desired way of working with the camera, and yielded the kind of results I want.
Film Photography: The Camera
- If you have a film camera don't know what to do with it (or even if you don't but you're just curious), RA is the go-to person for film phptography, In this class I’ll show you how to take the guesswork out of working your film camera so you can achieve reliable, high-quality results, be it 35mm, medium format (120 roll film), or instant film. You’ll be shooting film that very day!
The primary systems of your camera will be field checked and explained. You’ll learn how to correctly load and unload film as well as effectively hold and operate your camera. We’ll cover ISO, aperture and shutter speed using demonstrations and non-technical language; how to use a hand-held light meter and compensate for situations that may fool the built in meter, as well as how to estimate exposure if you have no light measuring tools at all.
Please bring your camera as well as a fresh roll of Tri-X black and white film of the appropriate size. If you haven’t yet purchased a camera, I can provide one for the class and we can discuss the various options available. (2hrs)
Film Photography: The Urban Environment
- Shooting the action on the street or the unique landscape of cities presents many problems the photographer must address and a special set of issues for those shooting with film. It’s one of the most challenging environments but also the most rewarding and is great for developing ones photo skills. Working hands-on we’ll explore a neighborhood through the lens. We’ll discuss how to tap the energy and moments around you as well as how to “see” with the camera and work in harmony with it to get the images you’re after. (1hr)
Black & White Film Photography: Scanning and Printing
- An excellent way to work with a film image while maintaining its essential information is to digitize the negative. This way the image can be shared online and also made into a fine black and white while print. This method allows a degree of control and repeatability that traditional printing can’t match with some of the best digital prints being virtually indistinguishable from those made in the darkroom.
In this class I’ll take you through the scanning process on an inexpensive consumer-grade flatbed and show you tips and work-arounds that will help you get the most from your film negatives. Please bring some of your own to work on! Then, we’ll print a number of images using a calibrated and profiled system. I’ll show you how to add profiles to Photoshop, navigate the various menus and handle issues that may arise with inkjet printers as well as adjust your files for optimal results. Knowledge of Photoshop is helpful, but not required. (2hrs)
Fine art portfolio review and project planning
Helping photographers succeed so they can build a cohesive body of work is one of my primary aims as a teacher. I will work with you to clarify your ideas and find creative and conceptual directions that will allow you to keep on track. If you are just starting your first group of related photographs or have one completed, I can offer ideas and insights including practical suggestions concerning ways of working, technical approaches, and funding that will help you reach your photographic goals.
"Why does art need criticism? Because it needs something outside of itself as a place of reflection, discernment, and connection with the larger world. Art for art’s sake is fine, if you can get it. But then the connection to the real becomes tenuous, and the connection to the social disappears. If you want to engage, if you want discourse, you need criticism." -- David Levi Strauss
Portfolio Building and Review
A portfolio is a living, changing collection of your work, skills and experience. It will will reflect your abilities as an individual as well as your personality and intersts as an artist. It is an essential tool in marketing yourself to employers, corporations, colleges and universities. This workshop will focus on portfolio building - typically student, project, or professional portfolio and discuss ways to prepare a portfolio for engaging an art gallery, getting project sponsors, getting into undergrad or graduate school, or whatever purpose you're working toward.
Have the perfect project in mind but aren't sure how to get started? Have questions about project work. like: How do I get started? How do I get access to the location(s) I want to photograph? How do I get permission to photograph things/people/etc.? How do I get close enough? How do I get money / corporate sponsorship? How do I get crowdfunding? This workshop will address project work, access, permission, crowdfunding and other project concerns. Having raised $17K for a major self-publish book project, I have some insight into process and pitfalls of project work!
All Roads Lead to Brooklyn
Although I am originally from Manhattan, I have lived and worked in Philadelphia since the early 1990's. Resigned to single-hood, in 2015 I met someone I adore who is a long-time Brooklynite. I turned my lens back to the city of my childhood, looking to capture both the new inner and outer landscapes.
The Concrete Muse (Philadelphia)
About RA Friedman
RA Friedman is a photographer who works in NYC and maintains a studio in Philadelphia. His work utilizes digital technology and traditional photographic tools and techniques that connect with the history of the craft. A Technical Theatre graduate of Harpur College, Binghamton, NY, he studied drawing with Charles Eldred and Linda Sokolowski. He received his MFA in painting from LSU, Baton Rouge. From 2009-2011 he was a fellow for “Journeys South” an initiative of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Project. He is currently working with a colleague on photography book and mentoring project that was funded via Kickstarter, called Photographers Squared.
Self-initiated projects have included a traveling vintage photo booth dubbed as Tsirkus Fotgrafika, and a multi-figure pinhole shoot at Penn’s Rotunda during the 2012 Philadelphia Fringe. Since 2011 he has been covering the Philadelphia urban scene and more recently, in Brooklyn, NY. Friedman’s work has been shown by the Merchant’s House Museum in NYC along with pieces by Sally Mann. His photos have appeared in The Sun Magazine, New York Magazine, Supplementaire (UK) and F-Stop. He is a regular contributor to The Laboratory Collective Magazine and regularly posts new images to RA Friedman on Tumblr and RA Friedman Photo on Facebook.
Statement of Purpose
As a photographer, I get to muck around in all that would be too pretentious, trite, or incomprehensible in any other medium. The camera allows the detritus of modern life to permeate and facilitates reveries. If I push onward, it bestows the privilege of reimaging the world, leaving me ever surprised and renewed.
All Roads Lead to Brooklyn
In these photographs I’m searching for childhood remnants, trying to connect my individual and collective past with the present. I photograph to overcome the disorientation of dwelling again in my childhood city, one that my parents abandoned in the early 1970’s. Since the 90’s I have lived and worked in Philadelphia. I am back in NYC for the best of reasons—love.
I work slowly, develop the black and white film and carefully scan each frame. I often walk long distances scouring the neighborhood for things I may have missed. Lugging around a big, heavy, medium format camera helps keep me grounded. I do not worry if I come home with few or no film captures; it’s the process that is important.
I’ve covered hundreds of miles on foot in all corners, in all seasons, in all kinds of weather witnessing the pulsing, intimate and poetic aspects of Philadelphia. It is never the same from day-to-day. The urban environment is a strange collage-- bits and pieces, remnants of things that fly in the face of logic and possess a life their own, where dream-like vistas unfold -- fascinating, complex, fragile and evanescent.
My hope is that the work does not become an elegy to what was, but rather that it functions to persuade its audience to become aware of their surroundings and reconsider what is. I want my photographs to lend credence to the idea that innovative and uplifting re-crafting of urban structures and spaces is not an aesthetic add-on, but pivotal to the life of the city.
Using a pinhole camera, high-speed instant film, and a single moving light source, I’ve developed an analog capture technique wherein I take multiple images and combine them digitally to form a unity.
My aim is to free my photographs of the nude from the tradition of making images for the (usually male) gaze. Instead, I work to enfold the inventiveness and energy of the subject into the image making process. The photographs evolve over months, multiple sessions with each model, and hours of working the images. I bend the photographic process and slow it to a mere crawl, compressing time and visual incident into the small canvas of each print.
Tsirkus Fotografika (Yiddish, circus; Polish, photography), 2008-present is an itinerant vintage portrait studio where most of the shooting is done using hot lighting and a large format 1940’s era Graflex camera. The project works in Philadelphia and NYC, often finding in front of its lens steampunks, flappers, reveling late-night denizens.
Contact me about booking Tsirkus Fotografika.
Tsirkus Fotografika Weddings
A photographic experience that is unique and memorable for those in the NYC metropolitan area. I bring years of experience and have shot literally thousands of portraits.
I provide everything for an extraordinary and fun analog photographic experience. Photos are made using an antique camera and lens that are over seventy years old, vintage-style backdrops, Hollywood-style lighting, along with an essential box of props. An assistant/stylist is also on hand to make sure your guests look their best and everything goes smoothly.
My prices are very reasonable with an average event running approximately $1500. Contact me about options and booking Tsirkus Fotografika.
Please don't hesitate to contact me for more information about my work or to sign up for a workshop. I usually reply within 24-48 hours.