Deepen your writing practice through photographic principles.

In the image-centric world of digital media, it’s crucial for writers, both aspiring and published, to understand photography as our other language--with its own lexicon, syntax and rules of grammar.  “Photography for Writers” will deepen your understanding of this medium and improve your imaging skills. But, more importantly, it will introduce you to photography as a way of seeing and as a powerful tool for making you a better writer.

During this workshop, you’ll learn how to use photographic principles as perceptual tools. We’ll enhance your ability to manipulate the characteristics of light, of camera optics, of composition and color, both in camera and with basic after-capture techniques. With these skills as your toolbox, you’ll keep a daily photographic journal, every entry supplemented by text notes in a series of specialized writing exercises. These will range from simple word-associations and freeform captions, to progressively more complex and nuanced essays, each precisely grounded in the visual reality of your photographs. A few of the areas we’ll explore in this word/picture format are:

• The myth of photographic truth.  

• Figure-ground organization and the principle of the visual gestalt.

• Visual literacy and the “grammar” of photographic imaging.

• The idea/image resonance I: Extracting the hard details of a person or object or place from its photographic “reality.” Exploring the image qualities that alter or amplify these details.

• The idea/image resonance II: The nuances of evocative relationships between image and text. The craft of creating and also perceiving atmospheric features in a photographic subject. Inferring mood impressions from these features and translating them into precise, well-crafted text.  Conversely, extracting the same features from text and expressing them as a photograph or photo essay.

Prerequisites for this class are simply a passion for writing, along with sound composition and copy editing skills. Some technical proficiency with digital cameras and basic after-capture skills are desirable. The main photographic requirement is a willingness to abandon any thoughts of content-free, “shoot from the hip” photos.  They simply don’t apply to the theme of this workshop.

Winter/Spring lodging and meal package available for $475. Includes breakfast and lunch Monday - Friday. Dinner services are not available during our Winter/Spring session. Meal plan (mandatory) with our lodging $125.



Richard Reitz Smith

Richard Reitz Smith, recently, was selected as Book Artist in Residence at Maine Media Workshops + College where he wrote, illustrated, printed and bound a limited-edition abecedary of alliterative haiku. 

Richard received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in painting and illustration.  After working for three years developing products for Crayola and Liquitex, he returned to school and earned an MFA in graphic design (Tyler School of Art- Temple University). Then started a five-year tour of universities as an art and design professor which led him to New York City where he taught at Pratt Institute and School of Visual Arts. While doing this, he freelanced as an illustrator and graphic designer for companies like The GAP, Macy's, American Craft Museum, Metlife, Pearson Education and Scholastic. Then he took positions at Clicquot, Inc. and Clinique Cosmetics consecutively.  For Clinique Cosmetics, he managed multi-million-dollar, international, seasonal product and promotional launches as the director of package design-worldwide. For Clicquot, Inc. he was a one-person art department for the wine importer/promoter of Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Bouchard and many other ultra premium wines. 

It was in NYC, that he found and frequented The Center for Book Arts learning much about letterpress and the book as an art form. 

In 2002, Richard moved to Maine. He worked in-house at William Arthur Stationery and Briggs Advertising, then started Design& Smith Creative Ventures, a Camden-based art and design studio focused on creative custom solutions for visual problems. Richard’s work has won awards across a wide-ranging platform like logo and brand development, package design, print collateral, as well as book arts, painting and drawing.  He is comfortable marrying traditional skills with technology and often incorporates handwork into Adobe Creative Suite.   

Also, Richard is co-owner of the Letterpress Studio at Steel House Collaborative in Rockland where he has taught letterpress workshops.

Course Dates

Apr 2 to Apr 8



Class Size