Mentorship Student Portfolios

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Vincent Chahley
Calgary, Canada & Martha's Vineyard, MA
Workshops: MV Workshop 2013, 2014; Mentorship 2014-2015; Advanced Mentorship 2015-2016

I have always felt a special attraction to the ocean, and the soulfulness I feel when I am near the water. One of the joys of photography for me is that it brings me near to the sea more than I would otherwise go; especially to enjoy the unveiling of the day at sunrise, the peacefulness as it goes dark after sunset and the excitement of a winter storm. I always feel a sense of excitement on arrival and I am continually surprised at how unique and different the ocean can be from day to day and season to season. Many of my photos are taken with longer exposures in what seemed like darkness, but where the camera amplifies the slivers of available light to paint a canvas. For each of my photos I can remember the sounds, the smells, the wind, the waves, and my mood.

My experience with the Mentorship:
I would highly recommend the Mentorship program and any of Alison and Sue’s workshops or student programs. Although I have always enjoyed taking photos, I consider myself a "later in life" photographer, and credit becoming one largely to Alison and Sue’s coaching. Having always admired Alison’s work, I signed up for one of her workshops 2 years ago. I was amazed with the results that I and other students were able to achieve. The workshop started me down the path to make photography a more active passion/pursuit. I signed up for the Mentorship program last year. It has helped me to better develop the beginnings of a more personal style, and to organize and show my work more professionally. I surprisingly achieved one of my longer term goals when I was recently selected to show my work in a solo artist show.

There are many things I like about the style of teaching in the workshops and the Mentorship, including:
– Most of the teaching is through very hands-on work involving the photography you choose to do with advice and projects specific to you.
– The other students are talented and interesting people, and I was able to learn so much from the work and experiences of others. The format encourages interaction and the ability to observe the work and progress of other students.
– The teaching style is serious and there is strong commitment to hard work and preparation from both Alison and Sue, and the students.
– There is a culture of positive encouragement and the desire to increase confidence, while still being able to give frank and critical advice.

When I look back I can’t believe how much I have learned, how interesting, challenging and fun it has been, and how much I have enjoyed my experiences with Alison, Sue and the other students. For me the Mentorship was a very high quality experience.  

What would you say to people considering taking the Mentorship?
One year before joining the Mentorship I was taking my first photograph with a tripod – I was really a total beginner from a technical point of view. I have been so amazed how much I have grown as a photographer and how much the teaching and encouragement of Alison, Sue and my fellow students have contributed to that growth. I don’t think you need to be very experienced to get a lot out of the Mentorship program. I think it is more important that you are willing to work at your craft and are seriously interested to learn, than where your starting skill level is.

Workshops at a Glance

Focus on You

Alison Shaw, Sue Dawson
Booking now
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Sharpen your Focus:
Taking your work to the next level

Alison Shaw, Sue Dawson
October 5, 2020 –
April 30, 2021
* cancelled *
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Staying in Focus

Alison & Sue
July 27, 2020 -
June 11, 2021
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Cape Cod 3-day Weekend

Alison Shaw
September 18-20, 2020
* cancelled *
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Martha's Vineyard 3-day Weekend

Alison Shaw
September 25-27, 2020
* cancelled *
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