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Purpose driven wander

Untitled (Rob) © Monika Sosnowski

My favorite wanderer.
Rob went along with me last fall on a exploration of an abandoned and haunting place I was drawn to and had to photograph.  That project is finally starting to evolve – working title, “Once Upon a Time.”

Thank you for accompanying me in the discovery of an unlikely beauty.

Untitled (from Once Upon a Time) © Monika Sosnowski


Upcoming Weekend Workshop October 5th & 6th

Untitled (from Once Upon a Time) © Monika Sosnowski

I’m happily looking forward to teaching TURNING TOWARDS FALL: A PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPLORATION –  my new weekend workshop offered through IS 183 Art School of the Berkshires. It will run Saturday, October 5th & Sunday, October 6th.

I’m also excited that this class will take place in Williamstown, MA at the Little Red School House - thus a chance to explore a new place and scene!

What does the shift in seasons look like from our personal perspective? How do outward elements like changes in the landscape and light affect our personal realm?  The goal of this workshop is to fine-tune our photographic skills by learning to see in a poetic way.  We will focus on ways of picturing mood and emotion as a response to our surroundings – be it a landscape or our own kitchen.   We will work through exercises to explore how light, space, composition and even subtle change of perspective can convey an emotional, personal tone.

For inspiration and analysis of techniques, we will look at the work of photographers such as William Eggleston, Rebecca Norris Webb, Stephen Shore, Raymond Meeks, Palmer Davis, and Jitka Hanzlova among others who capture simple, often seemingly banal visual moments in a exceptionally personal and intimate way.

Students can expect to go outdoors during the workshop and create at least 10 images to form a mini-portfolio.

To register please contact IS 183 Art School of the Berkshires or contact me directly with any questions.  Please hurry and register by the end of this week to ensure placement!

Untitled (from Once Upon a Time) © Monika Sosnowski

Insightful Portrait workshop this weekend

Untitled (Vasundhra and Red Elderberry)

Last chance to register for my Insightful Portrait workshop this weekend at IS 183 Art School of the Berkshires.

“When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them.  Anyone I know I photograph. ” – Annie Leibovitz

The quote above by Annie Leibovitz goes to the heart of what we’ll be after in this workshop: to photograph someone in a meaningful and true way.  The portrait reveals just as much about the subject matter as it does about the photographer.  Furthermore what comes into play is the viewer’s response to the portrait.  A complex interplay of connections indeed. 

In this intensive one-weekend workshop we will focus on the elements of what makes an insightful portrait. We will consider both the technical aspects such as lenses, f-stops and lighting as well as the artistic ones such as composition and capturing the mood of the moment. Posed versus candid portraiture will be regarded as well as the challenges of photographing people we know or strangers.

We will look for inspiration to contemporary and historical photographers, both fine-art and commercial:  Susan Paulsen, Jessica Backhaus, Diane Arbus, Susan Paulsen, Annie Leibovitz, Matt Mahurin, Deana Lawson and Alec Soth, among others.

To register please click on the link here IS 183 .

Upcoming Photography Workshops in the Berkshires: The Magic Woods – Sunday, July 28th

Last chance to register for this Sunday’s workshop!
Starting out at 3,491 ft above sea level atop Mount Greylock, in the heart of the wonder-filled Berkshires, we will have an awesome, inspiring and productive day hiking, looking, exploring and photographing nature’s magic.

The Magic Woods – photographic one-day workshop with Monika Sosnowski:
Mountains and forests abound in rich symbolism which can represent emotional, spiritual or mental states. Nature’s summits and woods, powerful in their permanence and immovability, have often been associated with personal quests, overcoming obstacles, seeking inner knowledge. Artists and writers have been inspired by the majesty of mountains and the mystery of forests in a variety of ways. Herman Melville imagined Mt. Greylock as a massive great white whale and that vision fueled him to write one of the best American stories, “Moby Dick.“
“The Magic Woods” is a one-day photographic workshop in which we will learn ways of transforming the physical splendor and awesomeness of Mt. Greylock and its surrounding forest, by creating images which suggest a narrative beyond the subject matter’s natural attributes. How something is perceived makes all the difference creatively. We can find our own versions of Melville’s whale.
In this fun, adventurous workshop, we will explore the terrain of the Mt. Greylock’s summit and a few of the nearby trails looking for magical places that evoke within us some common thoughts and feelings, i.e: hope, fear, loneliness, or togetherness. By using simple techniques we will learn how to photograph a scene as if to suggest a dream or fantasy, as well as practical ideas such as abundance vs austerity. We will utilize and understand the creative impacts of the natural elements: light, shadow, wind, and time of day with the technical aspects of our cameras: lenses, f-stops, exposure. Throughout the workshop we will learn and discuss ways of training ourselves to notice both the obvious and the hidden aspects of what we encounter (which in addition to the flora and fauna can also include people hiking, signs, debris etc).
All levels of photographic skill are welcome.

$75 (includes beverages and pastries at the beginning of the workshop, and one bottle of water per person)

Please contact me asap at monikasosnowski@gmail for registration details.

Upcoming workshops at IS 183:

Intro to Digital Photography: Saturday and Sunday, August 3rd & 4th

The Insightful Portrait: Saturday and Sunday, August 10th & 11th

Christin Couture’s -The Nearest Faraway Place

Christin Couture is a visual artist – a painter.  With a mystic-like sensibility, she contemplates the world around her and colors it dreamy, or witty, or mysterious, or  mad-science fantastical and often all of the above.  Working solo or collaborating with her husband, 3-D artist William Hosie, Christin’s work is a meditation on the organic and the synthetic manifestations of life’s circumstances and mysteries.

Christin Couture’s new intimate landscape paintings are currently exhibited at Ursa Major Gallery located in Shelburne Falls, MA through May 27th so find your way there soon!  Here’s a a brief and lovely description of the work from the gallery’s press release:

For over a decade in all weather and seasons Christin has drawn, painted, photographed, and filmed from a precipice overlooking Salmon Falls, her  ’nearest faraway place’ close to her home in Shelburne Falls. Its protean nature converges in a spectacle of light and mood constantly colliding and shifting yet retaining its iconic form as place. From such a bonding fully understood moments unfold their monumental intimacy.  Afterwardm in the studio, using various mediums and tools – oil, beeswax, pigment, acrylic, colored pencils, fingertips, brushes, knives… the process itself challenges her to reflect this feeling of eternal wildness joined by rapture

More images of The Nearest Faraway Place paintings can glimpsed here.

Please also check out more of Christin’s and William’s work on their magical website Redtindebluefire.

I loved looking at the paintings over and over again when I saw the exhibit.  Each time I would notice something new and each time it felt like I was looking into this beautiful, secret world where all may not be what it seems, yet it’s safe to enter and get lost for a while.




Christin - Dear Monika,

I just stumbled upon your
Lovely words. Thank you for conveying
your impressions of my work.
That show made me very happy!
I Hope to see you again very soon.



Untitled (at least for now) © Monika Sosnowski

The last two weeks have been challenging. Physically, emotionally and creatively. Forced by circumstances beyond my control, I had to retreat for a while. I’ve rediscovered sleep and the benefits of doing the minimum. We all need some form of help when healing. Touch is magic.

Back to the process. Back to work. This morning back to the morning commute. Re-entering the familiar world as if I never left it, yet two weeks is two weeks. And the frustration of again having to carve out time, and make room, and juggle, juggle, juggle. Enough.

Learn to focus again. Sort of like the healing process where you just have to take one thing at a time.


grier horner - Monika, Nice post. Focusing when there are so many things that demand time is hard. I find mine for a short time and then I lose it again.

Monika Sosnowski - Thanks Grier. The focus is such a part of the process and it’s probably the most difficult one. The discipline to keep going, returning, to working everyday, even for a short time. We need to keep track of the short times and the long times and the in between times. Something is always germinating and growing. I also believe in breaks and watching movies, reading books, having dinner with loved ones, going away somewhere new… Time – elusive and tangible all at once. Managing it is a talent.


Remain © Monika Sosnowski


Where do your dreams sleep now
where do your fears nest
where do your hungers growl
A planet falls out of the hand
Where do your snows nap
timid fawns curious hares
gentle doves stubborn paths

every evening I lie down at their side

                 – poem by Anna Kamieńska