Hungry Ghost Festival

Rogan Coles Workshops?

WORKSHOPS – what workshops?

OK , we have a quite a few things happening here. And, to be frank, we also have a little bit of “future faking” going on here as well – you know, “projecting”.

Our intent is this, in the near future I would like to be running a series of photo workshops focusing on street photography. The intended location – where else but, the streets of Hong Kong.

Placing an order at cooked foods shop on Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong
HONG KONG – AUGUST 17: Customers queuing and buying up selections of take away cooked food at a shop on Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong on August 17, 2015. (Photo by Rogan Coles)

These photo workshops will be geared towards “committed” photographers – those who have made a serious investment into who they are and what they do in the realms of photography.

Why Hong Kong? Well, I’ve lived a good portion of my life in this part of the world. Was Hong Kong ever home? No, not really. As a British expat, this was never likely to be – despite the fact my daughter was born here, that I speak a plausibly fluent Cantonese and, that I’ve lived here some 20+ years.

Two women sharing a moment on Reclamation Street in Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong
HONG KONG, YAU MA TEI – AUGUST 18, 2014: Two women in intimate conversation at a market stall on Reclamation Street in Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong on August 18, 2014. (Photo by Rogan Coles)

These workshops? Not likely to happen at the moment – given the current state of “panic” – the reference being to the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty regarding any sort of meaningful travel plans – be this from the point of departure and then, on arriving in Hong Kong.

But, this does not detract or deter us from making future plans and preparing ourselves for the time when we can actually get out there – unencumbered – and this, to do our thing.

A haberdasher in conversation with customers in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong
HONG KONG – NOVEMBER 28, 2016: A haberdasher in conversation with customers looking to make a purchase at his street stall on Ki Lung Street, in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong on November 28, 2016. (Photo by Rogan Coles)

As part of our intended programme, I’ll be taking you through some of my favourite haunts – namely the streets of Hong Kong, through the so called “wet markets” [referring to a host of fresh produce markets found all around Hong Kong], some of Hong Kong’s shopping districts, around Victory Harbour, up to Victory Peak, on to some of the country districts and perhaps, out to some of the outlying islands. There’s a lot to see. There’s a lot to do. But, there’s only so much we can in a day. We’ll need to be selective.

Hungry Ghost Festival
HONG KONG, SHAU KEI WAN -AUGUST 21, 2010]: Events relating to the celebration of the Festival of the Hungry Ghost in Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong on August 21, 2010. (Photo by Rogan Coles)

Some of the workshops will be set up to coincide with anyone of the many cultural events that take place throughout the year in Hong Kong. While the Lunar New Year period might be out, there’s the Hungry Ghost Festival, the Fire Dragon Dance, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival – to name but a few.

Beach rubble
HONG KONG – JUNE 04, 2015: This beach rubble, a mix of broken glass, shattered ceramics, building rubble and other artifacts litter the shoreline of this beach in Hong Kong, taken on June 4, 2015. The actions of the sea, sand and pebbles have polished and pitted the glass and other artifacts into a rubble that is now part of this shoreline. (Photo by Rogan Coles)

There will also be fun stuff. Between being out on the streets and time spent back the meeting room, there ought to be time enough for you to go out and do your own thing.

The point of these workshops? To provide you, the photographer, with ample opportunities to “discover” what makes you unique – as a photographer, as a visual communicator, as a story teller.

These workshops are not intended to be hand-holding, how-to exercises. AND, they are certainly not going to be glorified walking tours. The programmes I am looking to put together are intended to be an intensive, fully immersive experience. I am hoping to create a forum of sorts, one where we can exchange ideas, share experiences, explore concepts, engage in a discourse of ideas, thinking and philosophies.

Tourists taking selfies on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
HONG KONG – MAY 18: Tourists and visitors taking selfies of themselves from a vantage point on Victoria Peak with Hong Kong as a backdrop on May 18, 2014. (Photo by Rogan Coles)

Why Hong Kong? Other than being familiar with the territory, so to speak, I’m sure I could do much the same thing in, say, Shanghai or Singapore. Or, in getting out of Asia altogether and doing something similar, say, in New York, London, Paris and wherever. That’s easy, perhaps too easy. I’m looking to set up something a little more challenging shall we say.

For attendees heralding from Europe, the Americas, Australasia and elsewhere, Hong Kong is “foreign” enough without being too foreign. For those attendees more local to the region, it would be nice to move away from the narrative that, what I do is just another “foreigner’s” view of local or indigenous culture. What I am hoping to achiever with these workshops, is to share an experience and, in return, for us to learn as much as we can from the opportunities afford us. Simple, right?

There are likely to be as many reasons for attending one of my workshops as there would be people interested in signing up. This might be a cultural thing as in wanting to explore other cultures. It might be a people thing. It might be all about details. Maybe objects? It might be about wanting to build up or to diversify a portfolio. It might be wanting to do something different. Whatever it is, it’s all here waiting for you.

On our “to do” list…

In working further with this website – and while putting together the workshops section – this is what we have lined up:

  • Putting together an FAQ to cover what are likely to be the most frequently asked questions regarding our workshops,
  • A basic course outline to cover what is likely to be an intense and immersive 5 day workshop. We are looking at 5 days as this seems to fairly standard. 3 days seems too short and 7 days maybe too long.
  • A check-list of sorts covering travel, arrival, places to stay, what to bring, what to do and what not to do – that kind of thing.
  • A resources list,
  • Our terms and conditions as well as some other useful stuff.

WAIT, there’s more…

This website is also a means to an end. In the process, We are in putting together other useful photography related content. A kind of “supplement” to any practical “on the road” photography we might be doing in the workshops. Here I refer to setting up on-line photography tutorials or web based courses of some description or other.

Image file management
A view of profiling the location of archived images on an external hard drive.

In this regard, two things come to mind immediately –

  • DAM [Digital Asset Management] and,
  • My digital image workflow.

Both are crucial in the greater scheme of things – as in what you do to your images after doing your photography AND what you do with you images – full stop.

Added to this, we may look at aspects of web design and things relating to websites in general and all of this with a view to marketing your work.

Well, there we are. We’ve made a start. Thank you for indulging me. Details and plans are likely to emerge in due course.

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