Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Blinded by the light: A Photography education

Step away from the shiny things....

Perhaps you’ve always had a desire to try photography, or perhaps your loved ones bought you a camera to help you uncover your hidden talent? Whatever the reason you got into photography, you have the kit, you have to desire to learn, all you need now is some real guidance, someone with the expertise to point you in the right direction, to help with your skills and confidence but you are not sure who to approach!
Sound familiar? We have all been there.

But before you pour anymore of you hard earned money into the latest all singing and dancing gazillion mega pixel camera, ask yourself this: What is it that you really need to make you a good photographer?

Inexperienced photography theory!

The biggest fallacy in photography is ‘you need a bigger, better, newer camera/ lens so your images will be better!’ This is of course, utter bollocks. Remember, Camera and photography magazines are funded by their advertisers (the manufacturers), so they are going to say that, right? Ignore them.

The biggest mistake I see new photographers (and some experienced ones) make is they spend ridiculous amounts of money on kit, and not on a basic photographic education. These same guys usually proceed to never comprehend why they continue to create utter drivel imagery, even though they have the latest (insert manufacturer here)

So what should YOU do instead?

You learn, become an educated photographer. Imagine waking up tomorrow with the idea that you want to be an Air Ambulance pilot? You wouldn’t go out and buy a Chinook helicopter would you? No, you would seek out the best education that would enable you to become the best pilot, right!

Photography is no different, except perhaps it doesn’t save lives, but it does inspire them, which perhaps does save them in some way too!

So why learn with me?

I have over a decade of experience in teaching both new and experienced photographers, enriching their photographic knowledge.

You do not attain the high level of experience, understanding and comprehension of photography which I have, without grafting for it. I have worked and studied myself almost to death. I have invested my life into photography to gain the experience and knowledge which I now retain.

Besides my formal academic Certificate in Education Teaching Diploma and Master’s Degree in Photography, I have over a decade of experience in working both for clients and on my own projects. My work is published, exhibited and respected.

Basically, I actually do know what the fuck I am talking about.

So what do I offer exactly?

I am a highly experienced, highly skilled photographer and educator.

Photography is not about genre. It is about ideas and understanding. Once you marry the two, the possibilities are endless.

Having said this, to cater for tastes and individual desires, I do run specialist workshops, for specific genres. So whether it is camera and compositional basics, portraits, Landscape, Skyscape, high end Fashion or Fine Art Nude, I can teach you.

I am also a master editor/ retoucher. I offer workshops in editing from the basics to Masterclass retouching. Again, I can do this because I have earned the experience. I will make a further blog about editing and retouching soon.

I also embrace new technologies and advancements. I do not limit myself to Digital DSLR photography. 35mm, Medium and large format film, Camera Phone, Mirror-less and app editing are all areas I include in my teaching.

Taken on my Sony A6000

Why my workshops?

My workshops are dedicated to their participants. It is my job to inform and guide you, and set you on the road to understanding photography.

There are no egos allowed in my sessions, it is never about how amazing anyone else is, or who has the latest all singing all dancing kit. The sessions are simply about you gaining the confidence and ability to enable you to begin to expand your photographic practice.

We are all the same, simply fallible humans with a camera.

I guarantee you will leave the workshops having attained a much more thorough understanding of photography and its origins, the camera and where you go from here as a photographer.

My guarantee?

If you are not 100% satisfied with the workshop, you get your money back!

Image result for money back guarantee

A little side note:

It is difficult when you are starting out to know exactly what your favourite area of photography (genre if you like) or style may eventually be. Have a look around and see what excites you. Book on to the workshops that will excite and engage you. If you have Zero interest in Portrait photography, don’t book on a portrait workshop.

Read up on the photographers who excel in those areas which do excite you. Look outside of the normal places. Instagram is an excellent resource for discovering amazing photographers who may be unheard of.  Have an idea of where you would like to take your photography. I am not interested in creating a bunch of Lance Burkitt clones. I will encourage you to learn, I pass on what works for me, but as a photographer you should be aiming to create your own style, and that begins now.

How much??

I know what your initial thoughts are. ‘I’m not paying that for a workshop, I can get them cheaper elsewhere!’

I also know that you will happily waste more money on unnecessary new kit, right?

My workshops are not cheap, knowledge is not cheap. Yes we all know that you can get an online course or one taught by any clueless charlatan for £40 quid for the day, but ultimately what are you going to learn from it?

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for, and on my workshops you are investing in me, in my experience and knowledge, which is real and does actually exist, but does not come cheap.

I guarantee you will learn, understand and improve, and that is the point, right?

So what when and where?

At this time I am planning my next 12 months of workshops. I am looking to work both nationally and internationally. So keep an eye on this blog and my website for information and dates which will be available very soon.

A key point to remember throughout your photographic practice.

The word ‘Photography’ translated from its Greek origins literally means ‘Drawing with light’
In essence, that is all you are doing. A camera, like a pencil to an artist is simply a facilitator of that drawing process.
Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it, and learn it, then your creativity will begin to shine through.

If you have any questions please feel free to drop me an email at and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

I am looking forward to meeting and working with you all over the coming months and years!
Cheers, Lance

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Ways of seeing:

The power of great teaching.

During my MA photography over the last 2 years, I have had many moments of realization, moments of clarity, revelations not just about myself as a practitioner, but about the thing that is photography itself.

Struggling for inspiration during the MA I was advised more than once by my tutor Hugh Hamilton to continue examining my back garden, although I had suggested that I was completely exasperated by it, he had convinced me to look again (I was unable to get about much due to a knee operation, so the back garden became of interest) Hugh also suggested that I read ‘Ways of seeing’ by the fabulous and sadly recently deceased John Berger.

So I returned to the garden, and again saw the fence, the trees, the sky, the rooftops….. yawn…

Shot on a Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Tri-x 120 film. Scanned and Digitized. Feb/ March 2016

Then I read and watched (BBC series of the same name) then read again and re watched ‘Ways of seeing’

John Berger. Who is this guy? Where has he been all of my creative life?

Very quickly this book would become a point of reference that I would race to and one which would re appear in my text and thoughts many times during the MA.

To be a creative image maker, to make images that make your audience see, you have to understand that looking is not seeing, and within that one particular view is not the same as any other. With his words, his energy and his passion, what Berger does is to make you realize that although you may well have been looking, you have not been seeing at all, and once your realize this, you can begin to make stories where you have previously seen none.

Shot Sept 16 on a Rolleiflex, Kodak Tri-x 120 film. Scanned and Digitized. 

A simple quote by Berger that has remained with me...

'You painted a naked women because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and called the painting 'vanity' thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure' Berger (1972

Do you get it? I hadn't until I read Ways of Seeing.

I have learned to look past the obvious and to step away from the obsession I had with the technicalities of an image, and instead i began to see the image!

Following this awakening I began to find the back garden awash with great imagery! I would devote the following 18 months (And I continue still) to discover narratives which had been present the whole time. 

Both shot Sept/ Oct 2016 on a Rolleiflex, Kodak Tri-x 120 film. Scanned and Digitized. 

If you take this thought further, no matter where you happen to be, and whatever you may be looking at, you can find an image, a narrative, something interesting to photograph. 

By considering the way you are seeing, you will invite your audience to see for themselves. 

So stop waiting until you take that trip to New York or to the Australian Outback. Step out into your own back yard, the street, your office, and find a way of seeing!

Cheers all


Monday, 9 October 2017

Drawing with light





a sologram
A 2 day solargram on Black and white photographic paper.

I have been training, tutoring and educating Photographers for over a decade. Whatever you need to learn, be it a small hurdle you are trying to overcome, or maybe you have decided to learn a new genre, whatever your question, I am here to help provide you with the answers.

My wealth of expertise and experience in many genres of photography, along with my continuing academia and practice, allow me to offer a service which is far different to any other photography training available elsewhere.

I offer bespoke Training, Workshops, Tutorials and Seminars from beginner level to masterclass, in both technical and theoretical Photography, Digital image editing and retouching, traditional film Photography and Darkroom techniques.

Rolleiflex 120m TRI x Kodak film
Rolleiflex 120m TRI x Kodak film

These include one to one private tutorship, group workshops and online tutorials across the full remit of photography.

Whatever you are excited to learn, whatever level of ability and experience you have , I can tailor training for you.

Alongside providing training on the technical aspects of photography, I also tutor historical and contemporary practice, research, evaluative & contextual matters, should you be working towards a vocational qualification and require assistance, or perhaps you would simply like to attain a greater understand of photography, and discover how reflecting on your practice can massively help you improve you understand both your own photography and the Photography of others.

To discuss your individual needs, or to receive invites to training events please e mail at

Keep an eye on my social media feeds for updates on group workshops and events.

Cheers all!

Lance Burkitt

Photographer & Educator.


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Modern photography is rubbish

Modern photography is rubbish

Mostly, do let me continue…

During the latter stages of my MA photography degree earlier this year, I begin discussing how experience can hinder your creativity. By experience I mean experience of camera’s and equipment, of composition, exposure and editing, all of the things firmly placed in the professional photographer’s toolkit. Photography has become so obsessed with the camera, it has forgotten its creative roots, and this is clearly view-able in the work produced by the so called and often self-professed photographic elite. 

Remember when you were a kid, and the possibilities were endless, you know, before your parents, your teachers, life, money and greed got in your way and turned you into a capitalistic, photographic zombie...

'Usually the amateur is defined as an immature state of the artist; someone who cannot, or will not achieve the mastery of a profession. But in the field of photographic practice, it is the amateur, on the contrary, who is the assumption of the professional; for it is he who stands closer to the noeme of Photography'

Barthes (1980)

Simply put; when you don’t know enough, before you understand there are rules to break, before you acquire the ability to understand the formal elements, how to compose, to expose, to edit and over produce, you will approach making photographs in a much more innocent, natural and exploratory way.

Once you gained this higher knowledge, when you have gained the ‘professional toolkit’ and can finally purchase yourself a membership of an old boys club, you undoubtedly begin to approach photography in a much more tentative, micro managed and ego led way. Oh yes, your Ego will lead you, and it will also destroy your work.

‘I couldn’t take that shot because I haven’t got an X, Y, Zzzzzzzz….’ We have all been there …

This theory has been proven to me over the last few weeks. My fledgling photography students have begun discovering camera-less technology and the dark room. Reminiscent of bluebottle flies heading to the blue light, they have approached the technology of pinhole cameras and lumens prints with intrigue and amazement, without fear or care. They have fumbled with the technology, whilst creating the most interesting and wholly original imagery. Intriguing shapes and tones, images which their pure, untainted, none corrupt imagination has lead them to, made possible because they are not yet consumed with the boundaries which they will discover over the coming months.

A small selection of student work

There misunderstanding of process, their photographic immaturity and inexperience does not hinder them from creating some wondrous images! Any semblance of an understanding of ISO, shutter speed or aperture, all of the staples of the Professional photography toolkit are absent here, they are not required; they do not exist in the minds and imaginations of the students.

Pure, unskilled, almost entirely inexperienced photographers, producing much more interesting, creative and expansive work than many within the so called photographic elite ever have or ever will produce.

Photography breeds snobbery and elitism.

For over a decade I have closely studied the established photographic bodies, of which the only major benefit it seems is that being a member has the effect of elevating your ego to a place where you actually believe you are a better photographer than anyone who is not paying for the privilege of being encouraged to believe this. 

Nowhere within this elitism do I see any semblance of a free imagination, of independent creativity, of real exploration or of anything new. What I do see are carbon copies, 3D printed re-incarnations, flawed, inadequate versions of much greater image makers.

Think outside of the triangle...

I urge any creative photographer, a photographer who desires to create exciting, interesting and original work, to forget what photography has become, a stale, technology led process of snobbery.

Pack away that latest bit of kit you have re-mortgaged your house to acquire. Go to the cupboard, empty the Bisto gravy granules in to the bin, Paint the tub black, stick a pinhole in the bottom, buy some cheap photographic paper & chemicals from Ebay, Build a darkroom in your bathroom, and begin to make some original, exciting and creative photographs!

I guarantee you, having experienced this myself, in letting your imagination, not your knowledge guide you, you will begin to create something entirely new.

© lance burkitt 2017

Nicéphore Niépce; Retouched version of the earliest surviving camera photograph, 1826 or 1827, known as View from the Window at Le Gras

Failing that, get out your credit card and sign up to one of the old boys clubs, and give your ego a pat on the back!