Two local photographers come together to teach one amazing workshop
Walking into Poppy de Garmo and Margo Duvall’s Santa Cruz studio is like stumbling upon an artsy treasure trove. A large backdrop takes up nearly half the space, artwork hangs on the walls, and a rack bursting with colorful clothing pops out near the back. Their studio feels like a space of inspiration and collaboration.
When a colleague introduced de Garmo to Duvall about a month ago, their connection was instantaneous. Both photographers love taking portrait shots, and both have taught classes in the past. So, De Garmo thought they should pull their talents together and suggested teaching classes together.
“We started getting really excited about it,” says Duvall. “So, we just jumped into it.”
The series of classes, called “Learning Light on Location,” takes place over four evenings, June 19, 21, 26, and 28. Students will be taken on field trips to Wilder Ranch, Capitola Village, the Boardwalk, and Natural Bridges from 6-8 p.m. Duvall and de Garmo designed the classes with busy, working people in mind. “[The classes] are shorter, which I think for the summer will work with peoples’ schedules better. And, you’re not making a really long commitment,” says Duvall.
De Garmo noticed a lack of photography classes in Santa Cruz. “Everybody thinks they know how to use a camera because everyone’s got one,” she says. So, the two photographers created the series of classes to focus on the basics of taking pictures—finding the right lighting and placement for the subject.
“Everyone is outside taking pictures, and usually pictures of people,” she adds. “But the sun is too bright or something. So, we are going to try to teach people how to place people—to get a good shot.”
De Garmo has been a photographer for about 40 years, mainly shooting portraits of people, yogis, and athletes. Her portraits of yogis can be found in Village Yoga: Bend a Little, for which she shot over 100 yogis in a three-month period. She believes taking portraits is a “lost art” and enjoys finding the subjects inner “aura” or “essence” through the portrait.
Other than shooting portraits, Duvall freelances for Photojojo, an online photography newsletter about photo tips, gear, and DIY projects. She has taught at many colleges, such as University of Nevada Reno and San Jose State University. Duvall also makes fine art, which she describes as “less in-the-camera work, more physical.” She often draws inspiration from the energy of the people around her.
Duvall and de Garmo have more classes planned this summer, including an image transfer workshop in July, which was inspired by Duvall’s own image transfer work. They are also planning another basics class that will focus on the various functions of cameras. “A lot of people just have their cameras on automatic,” says de Garmo. “There are a lot of other ways they can work it. It’s not that difficult, but people get scared.”
Beyond that, De Garmo adds that it’s just as rewarding to “get people excited about it!”
“Learning Light on Location” takes place 6-8 p.m. June 19-28. Fee: $150. Learn more or register online at facebook.com/thestudiosantacruz.