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Mimi Mollica's Sicily Photography Workshop Retreat
By Jean M Jameson
Posted on 6/5/2018 9:00 PM
Five Society members, one past member and a friend spent 5 days in Sicily in May being the first group to experience Mimi Mollica’s new venture.  Mimi, an award-winning photographer who enthralled us in October 2014 by presenting to us his work on the Sicilian mafia, designed the masterclass to combine an intense hands-on workshop with a relaxed atmosphere.

The intensity was reflected by the participants having to send in advance their objectives for the workshop, or some work that inspired them, to help Mimi to design the optimal experience, and by the personalised feedback at the end of each day on the images themselves and how they could be processed.

The relaxed atmosphere was created by the idyllic location in Mimi’s rural family home in western Sicily, the flexible itineraries off the beaten track of tourist trails, the wonderful local and home cooking (by Mimi’s sister Paola), and by Mimi’s warm encouragement.

Each photographer came away with a portfolio of inspiring images that told the story of the workshop and had Mimi’s seal of approval.

Natalie said that she had returned from the trip re-energised, feeling that her photography had been rejuvenated.  As well as her trademark minimalist images, she had been taken well outside her comfort zone and had some brilliant street and documentary shots.

As a professional portrait photographer, Chris made full use of the opportunity to take portraits of the wonderful faces and characters that they met.  There was almost no objection to the use of photography, even though Chris used flash to balance the strong natural light.

Alan is in the middle of a photography degree and used the workshop to develop sequences of images for his current study module, that were related either by subject or by formal attributes.  He set the whole sequence to music and produced a mesmerising slideshow.

Ellen learned to take photographs of everything that took her eye, rather than trying to be instantly selective.  The editing process came later in the review with Mimi.  We got a great impression of what it would be like to attend the workshop from Ellen’s lovely pictures of the farmhouse, its garden, the lush vegetation, the food, the scenery and the other participants having a wonderful time.

Jean felt that she had learned, not only from Mimi, but also from the other participants.  She discovered that normally she focuses more on the big picture than on the details, while other participants noticed details that had previously escaped her.  In another improvement of detail, she was also inspired to use back button focussing to ensure that focus was where she wanted it to be.  And next time she takes out her camera, she will feel the spirit of Mimi at her shoulder whispering “Get closer”!

Mimi wrapped up by explaining how the workshops fit into his philosophy of photography being a means to engage with the world and as an expression of emotion.  We all wished that we had been there too!

Congratulations too to Alan Larsen for winning the Tiger Trophy for his winning image, taken in Sicily, of Windy Kitesurfing. He has chosen ‘a splash of colour’ for June's theme for our Pick of the Week Flickr competition. Thanks to Terry Fallis for his photos of the evening.

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