SFW On Location

Seeing Light

with Tony O’Brien

August 9 - 13, 2021

  • Tuition $1655.00
  • Model and Location Fee $125.00
  • Standard Deposit $300.00

Online registration for this program has closed. To check availability or if you would like further information, please call 505-983-1400 ext. 111.

COVID-19 Update: For all in-person workshops and trips in 2022, Santa Fe Workshops requires that all participants attending be fully vaccinated (per definition of the CDC) and provide proof of vaccination. This requirement applies to students, staff, and instructors.

Course Description

Photographers, novices and professionals alike sometimes take light for granted and neglect its subtleties. Tony O’Brien shares his decades of experience to help participants heighten their awareness and truly see what it is your photograph and how to express that vision.

During this five-day workshop, while we are photographing during the day and at night, we are deepening our awareness by using only natural light. Rather than focusing on technical aspects, this week with Tony is about expanding our willingness to take risks and trust ourselves.

Keeping an open mind is essential in order to meet this challenge and resist the temptation to alter the light artificially. The streets of Santa Fe and villages of Northern New Mexico is our playground. Whether our focus is on portraits, still life, landscapes, we learn to think about what it is we want to say through our photographs as we experiment with light.

Our schedule includes time alone photographing, as well as time spent together discussing our work and what it reveals. Daily image reviews and assignments fill our days, as we perceive, frame, and translate light into photographs that reveal so much more than the sum of their individual elements.

Additional Information

Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs
What You Should Know:

Working knowledge of digital workflow and manual mode on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera. iPhone users are also welcome. All participants must be able to download, select, and transfer images to their own jump drive for class each day.

Special Notes:

View Payment, Refund, Withdrawal, and Transfer Policies for Summer 2021 workshops.


Participants are responsible for making their own housing arrangements in Santa Fe. On-campus accommodations are not currently available.

Tuition INFO:

Tuition includes lunch Monday through Friday and dinner at the Friday evening Image Presentations.

Creative Vision, Fine Art
Tony O'Brien

Tony O’Brien began his photography career in 1973. His work has appeared in LIFE, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, and many other national and international publications. He has documented the lives of drug addicts and prostitutes on the streets of Washington, D.C. and New York, the struggle of Afghan rebels fighting the Soviet occupation of their country, and a British expedition climbing Mount Everest. Tony spent six months in the Middle East covering the Persian Gulf for LIFE, and he returned to Afghanistan in 2003 and 2007 for his children’s book, Afghan Dreams. His latest book, Light in the Desert, about contemplative life at a small Benedictine monastery was published in 2011In 1990, he won the first Eliot Porter Foundation Grant for his work in Afghanistan.

Tony’s photography has been exhibited at the Museum of Our National Heritage in Massachusetts, Adham Center of Photography in Cairo, the Atrium Gallery at the Marion Center of Photographic Arts, and the Newseum, among others. He is the former Department Chair of the Marion Center of Photographic Arts at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

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This workshop is currently full. Use this form to sign up for the waitlist, and SFW will reach out if a seat becomes available.

Image © Tony O'Brien