Undeniable Alchemy | Jennifer Pritchard


I realized long ago that my curious nature benefits from regular doses of exposure, exploration, discovery and experience.  In today’s world where algorithms dictate exposure, I prefer the route of the intrepid explorer following curiosity down any rabbit hole that declares itself.  I remember an anthropologist acquaintance of mine once asking me to share my expertise - an expertise born of experience - with the plea, “I only know what I know.”  That thirst to know is what drove him, and drives me,  in any of my passions - professional or otherwise.  And it has most certainly been a sextant in my journey as a photographer.

I like surprise.  I love a good experience.  I want to be considered a pioneering, adaptive, intellectual - an intrinsically motivated person, a relevant person.

This was the state of my being when I first stumbled into the Santa Fe Workshops in San Miguel.  It was to be the portal that inspired me beyond my daily life - a rather charmed one I might add - but one that was not filled with the adventure that was to be the hallmark of this past year - the first year of my photographic life.

Workshops challenge.  There is no place to hide.  Each photographer is vulnerable and with each day’s shooting a step is made in a direction of which the photographer is unacquainted.   The path is unclear, the opportunities for making a great photo unknown, the locations a mystery, and the relationship with the teacher and other students undefined.  IF, you are fortunate, as I have been, magic happens.

Without fail, in any of the workshops I have taken, I do not deliver my best work.  It has been my experience that the requisite mindfulness for the lessons delivers a solid body of work, but not my best.  It is in the weeks after, when the lessons of the workshop have been digested and hours of practice achieved that I begin to see the growth in the photograph I make.  Once I learned this, I was released from the anxiety of the work within the workshop framework, and began to simply enjoy the discovery.

What makes the process even more rewarding is when you have fellow photographer’s who share a like mind, an interesting perspective, and a flow that is different from yours.  And,  if all of that is championed by a teacher who is accomplished, articulate, interested, and inspiring… well, that is the ultimate fertile field for growth.  Such was the case in my first trip to San Miguel de Allende in October of 2016 to study with Sam Abell.


This is where I met Ann.

And Chris.

And Arthur.

And Jeremy.

And Arnie and Virginia

And a host of other brilliant, beautiful folks.

All of whom contributed to my growth within the workshop and in the ensuing months.  I am a better photographer for my experiences with them, as well as my experiences with Sam.  It was, and continues to be,  an undeniable alchemy.

I am excited as much for the lessons and growth I know will come from the instructor, as I am for the lessons from the other fine photographers in the room who encourage, enlighten, support and challenge me.  My workshop partners are, as I am, intrepid explorers, intellectually curious, forever linked by a  shared passion (photography) …. and a workshop.



Jennifer Pritchard