Alain Briot

“Focus.” Alain Briot replied when I asked him what it takes to be a great landscape photographer. In all senses of the word. Alain’s work testifies to his intense focus to producing unique and beautiful landscape images.

In discussing creativity he remarked, as I’ve heard others, that it’s increasingly hard to find a place that’s never been photographed before. The challenge is “seeing a place in a way someone hasn’t seen before.” He had made an earlier comment regarding people buying art because “we want someone else’s view of the world.”
Alain has a great web site calledĀ Beautiful Landscape. He has many essays on that site covering all aspects of photography from creativity and personal vision to marketing and selling your work. Alain is very articulate – not a requirement for a visual artist, but very helpful for those wanting to learn more.
I’ve taken several of his workshops, and studied with him privately. He broke me in to using view camera movements for landscape photography. Natalie Briot, his wife, assists and runs the workshops and brings a visual artist’s background to the experience for all participants.
During a print review today, Alain showed some of his recent abstract landscapes where he intentionally moved the camera during the exposure. The images were exquisite, forcing the viewer to focus on the light and the colors as opposed to the details. He asked the workgroup participants to try the exercise during the workshop to relax and flow into a pure creative process and move away from viewing landscape photography as always sharply technical. If only to try it out.
I’m writing this post from a workshop with Alain and Natalie in Death Valley National Park. As a fellow student was telling of a rather harrowing experience getting separated from a group in a workshop in White Sands, I suggested to Natalie and Alain a new tag line for their workshops – “We’ve never lost a student!” But then thinking back on a quote from our current governor in California in the movie Terminator 2, I thought “Come with me if you want to live.” would be a catchier phrase.

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