Discovering and Sharing
TPW started in 1994. Back then, it was no more than a few classes we ran in the height of summer.
The idea was simple; the timing was perfect. We were offering photographers of all levels the chance to enhance their vision, their creativity and their technique by spending a week with professional photographers eager to share experience and expertise.
This was something very new in Italy – indeed, in Europe.
Most importantly, we developed an ethos that still flourishes today. Okay – we may not need darkrooms anymore, and we don’t have to send a driver to Florence every morning to have colour film processed. But the essential spirit of TPW is still here, stronger than ever.
We are not a school in the traditional sense. Our classrooms are ancients castles, farmhouses and rickety barns. Our workspaces are sunflower fields, piazzas, the bars and cafes of the nearby towns.
The teachers at TPW are internationally-reknowned professional photographers who dedicate time to our students, in order to share their personal photographic techniques and aesthetics.
The rhythms of the week are simple and relaxed. Teachers assess the students’ portfolios; they conduct classes on technical and aesthetic skills; they show their own work and that of other artists. The students, supported and encouraged throughout, undertake assignments and take on projects that produce new photographs. On the final night we gather for a slide-show presentation of all the students’ work. And the morning after, students and teachers discuss the pictures created during the week. and we make plans for future projects.
But it doesn’t all end on the sixth day. Teachers, students, staff…we stay in touch after the workshop – exchanging ideas, swapping opinions about ongoing work, supporting each other in new photographic projects. TPW has created a dynamic photographic community. Every year photographers from all over the world join us for our workshops here in Italy and in other locations around the world. We learn; we share; we forge new friendships. In every sense, we expand our vision.
It sounds like a hippy manifesto. But the reality is that TPW has developed into something organic and self-perpetuating that thrives beyond the workshops themselves. Maybe it’s that for one week we are totally immersed in our passion and enthusiasm for photography…so we want to sustain that. And we do.
Welcome to TPW 2021
TPW turns 28!
More or less, one generation…
Looking at the photographs in TPW archive, in order to put together the slide show to include in our page, I can really see that it is like looking at a family album…
From the very first days in Buonconvento, back in 1994 when this started, to last summer photographs, it is like looking at a film in flashback.
There are so many photographs capturing moments of happy life together. Some of our photographers have been coming back for years – Arno Minkkinen, Paul Elledge, David Alan Harvey. The same for many of our students: they keep returning year after year, sometimes even taking the same workshop…
Together with the workshops in Tuscany, we started other projects:
in Sicily with Paolo Pellegrin in 2000, part of the series “Street life of…” all around Italy, an unforgettable winter workshop in Venice with Michael Ackerman in 2003, another unforgettable one in Genoa in 2004 with Alex Majoli… the first workshops in India, then in Transylvania, Mississippi, Prague, Bangkok….
The projects and collaborations that emerged contemporaneously: workshops with FNAC, Focus on Monferrato, TPW Light, Canon Academy, in.between, Passion & Profession…
If TPW were a mechanical box, such as a radio or a camera, it would be easy to dismantle and have a look inside, and see what it is made of…fortunately, this is not possible, and we can only imagine the components it is made of :
Location: being in Tuscany certainly helps. Not only Tuscany, but the heart of Val d’Orcia, a magic place where time has stopped. And other areas of Italy, and Sicily.
People: participants at our workshop have two things in common: a passion for photography, and a passion for life. They are all extremely nice people, with stories to tell, ready to listen and learn…well, they wouldn’t be here otherwise! Same for our teachers, they all come here to share what they know. Assistants at TPW are a very important component of our family.
And of course people of the places we visit, our friends, who have been supporting us for many years, helping us in many ways, from logistics to…anything else!
Food: come on, we can’t avoid talking about Italian food and wines.
But still there is more: maybe just the simple fact that for one week we all change priorities, and we can concentrate of what we like to do.
And the dream goes on once you go back home what you have assimilated at TPW comes back: working on the photographs you took, contacting the new friends you have made…
Every year new people join the family – it is a Facebook made of real faces – creating an international community of aficionados, people passionate about photography, coming with their own families sometimes: some have met their soul mate at TPW, others have made a life out of photography and gone on to have careers, many others impatiently wait for a new season of workshops to begin…
One of the students from last summer, during the Sunday afternoon welcome, said ” I know almost everybody!” …and it was only her third time at TPW!
TPW: a lot of photography, many words, intimacy, friendship, loves, looking at the stars while lying in a field (who does that anymore???), to stay up all night, to live to the fullest, to fall straight to sleep, to wake at sun-up, to get into conversations, try new foods, to create, to cry, to laugh…
For me, these have been years of discovery: get to know photographers from all over the world, visit festivals and exhibitions, make contacts, meet new people each year and reunite with friends from years past…did you know that every year at least 30% of our participants are former students…?
We want to expand beyond photography, to carry the spirit of TPW to other fields…. and if someone asks us what it means – easy: (almost) Totally Perfect World!
Are you always with us?
Carlo Roberti – TPW founder and director