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In Griff's Element

Photographers, take note: Those of you who have long admired photographer J. Griffis Smith’s inventive work for Texas Highways can now learn just how he manages to capture those memorable 1,000-word images. Griff will lead a workshop June 18-24 at the esteemed Santa Fe Workshops in New Mexico, and his lucky students will have their work featured in the October 2000 issue of New Mexico Magazine.

Griff Smith’s unplanned shot of Hermina Silvas at El Paso’s Tigua Indian Reservation illustrates the value of flexibility.Just how does a photographer illustrate a feature story for a national travel publication? “The key,” says Griff, who has logged some 100,000 miles illustrating stories for Texas Highways, “is to be flexible. You have to be willing to shift your viewpoint, because what you envision when you first go into an assignment may not work out once you get there.”

Here’s how it works: Students in Griff’s The New Mexico Magazine Assignment workshop will spend the week shooting the sleepy town of Cerrillos, New Mexico (just southwest of Santa Fe), capturing its architecture, people, and landscapes. Among other tricks of the trade, students will learn researching and interviewing skills (“The first step,” says Griff, “is to gain access to the subject”) and techniques for playing with light and shadow. “Above all,” says Griff, “as opposed to simply shooting photos of a town, they’ll learn how to illustrate a story.”

Tuition for the workshop costs $695, plus fees. For more information, write to Box 9916, Santa Fe, NM 87504-5916, or call 505/983-1400. Web site:

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