Christopher Burnett on Photographic Workshops

How much the workshop environment has changed since then becomes even more pronounced with the publication in 1999 of Mark Goodman’s book, A Kind of History. His photographs and narrative poignantly describe the experience of Apeiron Workshops and nearby Millerton, New York. His “perpetual” residency for years in the 1970s goes well beyond White’s categories of “blitz” and “intermittent” to total immersion in a kind of visual subculture. But more than a “workshop junkie,” Goodman carried with him the innate sensibilities of an anthropologist and committed photographer who could use his workshop experience to reveal the multi-dimensional life of a small town over years of involvement. His attachments to photography and the people of Millerton amount to a tale of two cultures involving the tension of proximity and distance and mixed allegiances as he moved back and forth between Millerton and Apeiron at Silver Mountain. His work reflects back on Apeiron and the capacity of workshops to form, complete, and project an extended body of work beyond the internal “transactions” of an artists’ enclave. He embraced the several levels of workshop involvement from short-term intensity, intermittent study, to persistent residency. He demonstrated the purpose of workshops to integrate learning and life growth.

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