SFW Online

Seeing Light

with Tony O’Brien

January 19 - February 5, 2021

Tuesdays and Fridays; 2:00-4:00 pm (Mountain Time)

  • Tuition $595.00

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

Course Description

Photographers—beginners 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 of light and shadow and truly see what it is you photograph and how to express that vision.

During this six class, three-week workshop we deepen our awareness by using only natural light. Rather than focusing on technical aspects, this workshop with Tony is about expanding our ability to “see’ and “feel” light. It is also about 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. Whether our focus is on portraits, still life, architecture, or landscapes, we learn to think about what it is we want to say through our photographs as we experiment with light and discover new ways to express our personal vision.

Our schedule includes wonderful time spent together in the Zoom classroom discussing our work and what it reveals, as well as plenty of time to photograph the assignments at home in between our group sessions. These images made often reveal insights into what “home” means to us.

We come together twice a week to review work from the previous class assignment as we perceive, frame, and translate light into photographs that uncover so much more than the sum of their individual elements.

Additional Information

Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs
What You Should Know:

Working knowledge of digital workflow. Participants must be able to download and select images using image editing software for class sessions.

Special Notes:

Class will meet 2:00-4:00 pm (Mountain Time) on Tuesdays and Fridays starting January 19 and ending February 5 (six online group sessions). Enrollment is limited to 12 participants.

Zoom Video Conferencing software (available for no charge from Zoom.com) will be used to facilitate the class sessions. Further details will be emailed to registrants.

View updated Withdrawal and Transfer Policies for 2021 online programs.

Santa Fe Workshops always aims to produce a high-quality experience for our online attendees. That said, variables including regional and local internet provider speeds, traffic on Zoom's servers, and your own computing hardware can contribute to a less than ideal streaming event. While we do our best to minimize the impact of these variables, they are outside the control of Santa Fe Workshops.

Please Note: During the online registration process you will be asked about housing and meals. Answer no to both questions.


View Withdrawal and Transfer Policies for online programs.

For the convenience of participants, recordings of each class session are posted privately for one month after the end of each session. Santa Fe Workshops takes the recordings down after one month to protect the intellectual property of our instructors.

Tuition INFO:

Includes tax.

Creative Vision
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