Reid Callanan, the Director of the prestigious Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, talks a bit about how the workshop program came to be what it is today, and what sets it apart from other workshop programs. (photo, left, by Nina Callanan)

For newer photographers who aren’t familiar with the particulars of Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, can you tell us a bit about what the program offers?

Santa Fe Photographic Workshops offer world-renowned photographic educational opportunities and experiences. Ours is a total emersion, hands-on learning experience, and low instructor-to-student ratios and camaraderie with fellow participants are key components. Each year we run over 200 workshops in Santa Fe, for beginners to professionals, with 2-day, 4-day, and 5-day formats built to work with almost anyone’s schedule. We also run programs in Cuba and Mexico. Each and every workshop or program we offer is led by the most influential and creative photographers in the world.

Please talk a little about the journey that led you to found Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.

I attended a two-week workshop at the Maine Photographic Workshops in 1975, and I loved the experience so much I stayed in Rockport, Maine for 14 years, working in every capacity that business had.  In 1990, I decided to strike out on my own so I moved to Santa Fe to start the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. That’s the short and sweet version of a much longer journey.

What makes Santa Fe Photographic Workshops different from other photo workshop programs?

Santa Fe, New Mexico is one thing other programs can’t offer.  A large part of our success over the years has been our inspirational setting in Northern New Mexico. Another big difference is our campus.  Most workshop programs don’t have a year-round campus.  Ours is the most complete workshop facility in the world.  Our campus offers beauty and serenity, as well as comfortable housing, amazing meals, classrooms, a 3,000 square foot lighting studio, and our state-of-the-art digital lab. After 23 years in business we have the experience and the staff to run the best photographic educational programs in this crowded field. We also offer programs in Cuba and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with staff richly experienced in navigating the maze of government regulations in these foreign lands.

We attract the best instructors in the world because of our reputation and Santa Fe as a destination.  Who doesn’t want to come to Santa Fe?  Instruction is a key to a successful educational experience, and we have the most talented and giving instructors of any workshop program I am aware of.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of running Santa Fe Photographic Workshops?

It’s really hard to describe just one aspect, so here are my top three: Seeing our participants grow and change over a very short period of time. Being able to truly change people’s lives during a workshop experience. Working together with the amazing staff at The Workshops to produce our programs. 

If there’s one thing participants take away from a workshop at Santa Fe, what do you hope that is?

Again, here are my top three: A sense of the role that photography plays in their lives. A renewed passion for making pictures, a passion that they will take home and incorporate in their daily life. Seeing the world with more clarity and insight. 

(above photos by Reid Callanan)

What are some of the workshops you currently offer that you’re most excited about and why?

I am most excited about our new format of shorter, intensive workshop experiences. For Summer 2013 we are offering 2 and 4-day workshops, running back to back each week.  This will enable our participants to come to Santa Fe, customize their program, and get more educational opportunities for their precious and valuable time.  In general, people have less time to be away from home and work these days, so we are addressing this reality by offering shorter and more intense learning experiences. 

We offer over 200 workshops a year, so it’s really hard to single out a few that I am excited about, because I am excited about all of them. But of course I’m thrilled that we’re partnering with Lensbaby for the “Lensbaby Intensive: Creativity Unleashed” with Charles Needle, February 14-16, and the “Lensbaby Intensive: Creative Portraiture” with Jill Enfield, April 19-21!

Do you have much time to shoot these days? If and when you do, what do you shoot (both subject matter and your favorite gear)?

I don’t have much time to photograph these days, so most of my image making happens when I travel to Cuba. I am creating a series of black-and-white portraits of the Cubans I meet on the streets, and it is the project that is feeding my creativity these days.

 (above photos by Reid Callanan)

Click here to sign up for Charles Needle’s Lensbaby workshop or here to sign up for Jill Enfield’s workshops at Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, or to check out any of the other wonderful classes they offer.