The beauty of Maine is such that you can’t really see it clearly while you live there. But now that I’ve moved away, with each return it all becomes almost hallucinatory: the dark blue water, the rocky coast with occasional flashes of white sand, the jasper stone beaches along the coast, the fire and fir forests somehow vivid in their stillness. — Alexander Chee
As a young man flying anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft for the Navy up and down the east coast, Christopher Michel lived in the tiny fishing village of Cundy’s Harbor on the Harpswell Peninsula on the rocky coast of Maine. This autumn he returns to one of his favorite places on the planet to lead a week-long workshop to rediscover the beauty and character of Maine.
Sebasco, Small Point, and Popham Beach are home base for the week, and waterside Portland, Harpswell, and Bath are our playground during this full week. Explore the backroads, sand beaches, fishing villages, waterways, revitalized small cities, that Christopher explored when he first set eyes on this coastal region of Maine. Join him and use the power of photography to reveal truths about a place—about Maine.
Photographing the coast’s unique landscape, light and color, architecture, history and culture, its people, and spontaneous moments all combine to create a unique portrait of Maine. Our days together are filled from first light to star-filled evenings. Classroom sessions include presentations on how artists have seen Maine over the last century, image reviews, and group discussions. Daily assignments to create new images to better understand and appreciate “character and place” fills the rest of our time together.
The gracious and spacious Sebasco Harbor Resort provides a comfortable and inspiring setting for our time together. Only one hour north from Portland’s Jetport, Sebasco offers breathtaking ocean views on 550 acres. We enjoy all the resort has to offer including newly renovated accommodations, a waterside restaurant, a comfortable classroom, and perfect access to coastal natural areas.
In addition to Christopher’s familiarity with Maine, Santa Fe Workshops Founder and Director, Reid Callanan, has a long history with this part of Maine and joins the group to add his local knowledge to the week. Reid also invites the group to his family’s home overlooking Popham Beach for dinner one evening. Rick Berk, a photographer and resident of nearby Bath, is in-charge of logistics and provides technical support for all cameras, lenses, and software concerns.
Come to this storied coastline and make your own portrait of Maine.
COVID-19 Update: For all in-person workshops and trips in 2023, Santa Fe Workshops highly recommends that all participants, staff, and instructors attending be up to date with Covid vaccinations (per definition of the CDC).
Working knowledge of digital workflow and manual mode on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera.
$2,395 includes tuition; opening and closing group dinners at Sebasco Harbor Resort, and a special dinner at Reid Callanan’s home overlooking Popham Beach; and model and location fees. Transportation, lodging, and additional meals are extra.
Christopher Michel is the inaugural Artist-in-Residence at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. His appointment is focused on leveraging visual storytelling to elevate the work of scientists, engineers, and medical professionals in society. Chris has spent many years working with the National Academies on science communications. He has been a member of the President’s Circle and on the advisory board of the Division on Earth and Life Studies (DELS). In addition to his current appointment, he currently serves as an advisor to the Climate Communications Initiative.
Chris is an accomplished photographer, who has documented humans working in extreme locations like the North & South Poles, Everest, Papua New Guinea, DR Congo and the edge of space (aboard a U-2 Spy Plane). He’s also had the opportunity to photograph many global leaders, including as the photographer for the 14th Dalai Lama.
His high-impact images have been seen by millions and have appeared broadly in print and in everything from Google screensavers to album covers. He has published a number of fine art books and is currently working on his latest book with travel writer, Pico Iyer.
Chris is a photography instructor at Esalen and also an adventure guide with Natural World Safaris, leading trips in the Polar regions. Chris works closely with Leica having recently completed an exhibition of his work at Leica Stores nationwide. Additionally, he was an ambassador for the launch of Leica’s acclaimed SL2 camera.
Previously, Chris founded and sold two technology companies. He is also the founder of Nautilus Ventures, a seed venture fund. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Chris flew for the Navy as a Navigator and Mission Commander aboard P-3C patrol aircraft.
Chris graduated from the University of Illinois and holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an honorary Doctorate from Tiffin University. Chris serves on the board of Dale Carnegie and Catchlight, a non-profit focused on supporting photographers and innovative leaders in the field of visual storytelling. Chris is also an advisor to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, and a member of the Explorers Club.