A Photographer’s Community
It may not have escaped your notice just recently, that we are planning to launch a brand-new online service for photographers.
We’re calling it the HSP Academy.
The HSP Academy is born out of the lockdown restrictions thrust upon us by the Coronavirus outbreak. All our workshops and photography courses have had to be suspended and students have been placed in limbo, not knowing how long they will have to wait until the restrictions are lifted.
I too have been placed in a similar state of unknowing. With no opportunities to run workshops or indeed book any for the immediate future, what to do? I certainly wasn’t going to sit around twiddling my thumbs. I’ve never been someone who likes to sit still, I have to be doing something.
Over the last 12 months I have been experimenting with Zoom meetings, mainly one-to-one teaching sessions but also a few small group meetings. A few of my privately mentored students asked me if it was possible to continue meeting with me online. For some sessions this was indeed a good solution, but much of my private mentoring is about practical photography – photoshoots. These obviously are not feasible via webcam.
I love teaching photography, and there have been many times when I’ve felt I actually may even enjoy it more that photography itself. Then I have a photoshoot, get some images I’m really proud of and realise that I love both equally.
I can’t adequately put into words how it feels when you teach someone… and help them unlock a talent they didn’t even know they had. I’ve lost count of the number of people who came to me with their cameras over the last few years and unleashed creative monsters. The look on their faces as they see how good their images are and how much other people like them, is priceless.
So I had to find a solution that enabled me to teach during the lockdown and enabled students to exhibit their work for others to appreciate.
The idea of the HSP Academy was born out of this moment
I sat down (via webcam) with Matthew Williams (our website developer) to discuss the possibility of designing from scratch, a uniquely brand-new online community just for photographers. A community where I can teach and interact with everyone and everyone with me (and of course with each other too).
We brain-stormed and I got more and more excited as we explored the possibilities, and so did Matt. Actually, Matt’s enthusiasm was infectious and the more we talked the more ideas came pouring forth.
Imagine a place where photographers can meet and share their photos. Where they can discuss techniques and help each other and develop friendships.
Where they can meet up (once lockdown restrictions are lifted, of course) with other like-minded photographers and go out for the day with their cameras.
Where regular on-line teaching is available, and photo-assignments give photographers purpose and motivation.
Then add to that, once lockdown is over, the opportunities to learn off-line too. And those you have met online, now also meet in the classroom. And everyone continues on their photographer’s journey together.
Photography no longer has to be a lonely hobby
Matt has spent so many hours coding the Academy. There have been frustrations and moments of great elation. Now it is beginning to come together, and beta-testing starts this weekend.
Obviously, we don’t have the vast resources of the social media giants, but the HSP Academy site is coming along just nicely. There is a lot more we know we want to do, and our bucket list just seems to get bigger every day.
When we launch, I sincerely hope to see you there. Give us your feedback. We are keen to know what we can do for you, how we can best serve you on your own photographer’s journey.