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Arts council offers master class on photography

May 29, 2022 12:51PM ● By Li Occon

By Lj Occon | [email protected]

Laura Bischoff, a member of Cottonwood Heights’ Arts Council, invites aspiring photographers to “take advantage of opportunities that come up because there are opportunities for people to learn from others and opportunities that [are hard to come by].”

The Arts Council wanted to bring more photography opportunities to the community other than their annual photography show. Bischoff said the council wanted to run a masterclass to help newer members in the community or even novice photographers “make beautiful, creative photographs.” Then Brendon Porter, a professional photographer and Cottonwood Heights resident, stepped into the picture.

Bischoff said their process to find Porter started with his local roots. “We reached out to him first, and he was interested. We are excited to work with him in a different capacity. Not as just a participant but as a professional who shares his skills with the community….Master classes are neat because it’s someone who is sharing their personal experiences with you.”

She added it allows participants to “skip a lot of rough patches.” In this master class with Porter, the trial and error aspect is decreased but not ignored.

Bischoff said that the motivation behind bringing a professional into the annual photography events was to “enhance the existing favorites.” The goal was to help encourage members of the community to pursue photography. This would allow them to participate in the annual photo show, which will take place from June 6 to July 6.

“The show takes your breath away,” Bischoff said. “It’s like walking into a museum, and it’s free. I hope people take advantage of seeing local art.”

With a master class and show afterward, what do the amateurs and professional photographers of the community have to look forward to? Considering Porter’s skills, Bischoff said “the class helps us learn skills that enhance our photography such as lighting, setting, timing, and equipment is always helpful to make it a better experience.”

Porter is a sharing artist; he loves to teach and help others learn about the art behind photography. “The best part about him is that he’s willing to share their talents and skills with those on a local level,” Bischoff said.

Not many artists enjoy sharing their “secret recipe,” but Porter seems to be open to helping others achieve his level of mastery. Typically, an artist of his caliber charges much more than a typical professional for this local master class. This creates an opportunity for professionals, locals, and even amateurs to “step into the frame,” Bischoff said. “This is a reasonable deal to help those who are interested or just curious.” Porter’s master class was on May 11 and 14.

Following Porter’s photography master class, the photo show will be around the corner. It is open to experienced and upcoming artists. Various categories welcome new and even young artists. There is only one category reserved for professionals, but the other categories are open to the public. Bischoff’s advice to aspiring photographers is to “take advantage” but also remember that “when you participate, you can discover that photography is something that you want to do.”

Porter gained a passion for still and motion pictures from his high school teachers. "I started in high school with videography classes, and that's where I learned basic principles," he said.

Porter said his initial interest in videography "naturally progressed" into photography. "They're both very similar. I've been doing this since the mid-90s." Porter started with old-school film cameras, which he isn't a fan of. His excitement exploded when digital cameras started coming out. "I got really interested in digital photography….I like digital, the process of developing film and things like that wasn't my favorite." As a self-proclaimed "tech guy," he saw digital photography as a diving board into a sea of possibility.

With photography becoming more mainstream and everyone having a camera on their phone, Porter hopes to get people excited about photography with his workshop. Porter said that his classes are usually for experienced artists. Although he admitted that "telling a story is just as easy with a big camera as it is with a phone camera." Porter wants to help people in the community understand the basic principles of photography so it can "be more exciting the more you do it."

He hopes that those with and without experience will join the workshop. Porter encourages everyone interested in photography to "go out and explore. Explore the environment, explore your equipment, go out and shoot." He also invites the community to try new things. "Don't be afraid of [it],” he said.

Porter's gallery is available online for anyone to see at