The Thematic Image: Between the Found and the Constructed

with Larry Gonzalez

October 30 – November 16, 2023

Mondays and Thursdays; 12:30 – 2:30 pm (Mountain Time)
  • Tuition $595.00

Course Description

In this immersive three-week online workshop, we delve into the captivating world of staged photography where the boundaries between reality and imagination blur. By integrating concepts from cinema, painting, and motion picture sets, we unlock new avenues of creative inspiration.

Throughout this workshop led by Larry Gonzalez, together we unravel the intricate relationship between photography and cinema, exploring how the two art forms intersect and influence one another. We analyze the techniques employed in staged photography and draw inspiration from the meticulous craftsmanship found in motion picture sets and locations. By understanding the collaborative process between the production designer, the gaffer, and the author, we gain invaluable insights into constructing compelling images with limited resources.

Lighting plays a pivotal role in creating visual narratives, and we study the masterful use of chiaroscuro in painting to enhance our photographic compositions. The power of light in evoking emotions and shaping narratives and learning how to harness its transformative properties is an important part of the process. With a focus on working with subjects and actors, we study the dynamic interplay between human presence and the constructed environment.

To sharpen our visual storytelling skills, we look at the process of location scouting, creating mood walls, and sketching ideas. Through these exercises we learn to translate concepts and emotions into tangible visual elements, enriching our ability to create evocative and thought-provoking imagery.

Ultimately, our goal is to equip you with the technical and creative tools necessary to become a visual author. By integrating the concepts, techniques, and collaborative processes discussed in this workshop, you acquire the ability to construct compelling narratives through your photography, regardless of available resources. Prepare to embark on an illuminating journey of self-expression and artistic discovery as we explore the thematic image between the found and the constructed.

Additional Information

Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs
What You Should Know:

Working knowledge of digital workflow and manual mode on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera. Participants must be able to download and select images using image editing software for class sessions.

Special Notes:

Class will meet 12:30 – 2:30 pm (Mountain Time) on Mondays and Thursdays starting October 30 and ending November 16 (six online group sessions). Enrollment is limited to 12 participants.

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

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.


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.

Creative Vision, One-of-a-Kind
Larry Gonzalez

Larry Gonzalez is an accomplished artist whose creative journey has spanned over 25 years, marked by an evolution from a straightforward documentary approach to a more contemplative and conceptual stye. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Gonzalez received his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, where he was mentored by renowned photographers, Abelardo Morell and Laura McPhee. It was during this formative period that he began to shape his photographic vision. 

In the mid 90s, Larry attended the Yale School of Art where he was deeply influenced by Nan Goldin, Gregory Crewdson, Joel Sternfeld, and Sally Mann. In addition to his work in photography, he has also made significant contributions as a cinematographer in the realms of documentaries and commercial projects. Larry’s expertise has taken him across the Caribbean, the United States, Central America, and South America, gaining him international recognition and acclaim. Notably, his collaborations with UNESCO have solidified his reputation as one of the foremost documentary filmmakers in Latin America.

Larry has engaged with the world of commercial cinematography and directing, working on advertising campaigns and short films. He continues to push the boundaries of his artistic expression, promising yet another captivating exploration of the intersection between personal narrative and visual storytelling.

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