The idea of Retreat
Food and Photography Retreats are for people who enjoy a house party style holiday in a lovely setting where they can immerse themselves totally in photography - and eat very well too. If you’re not sure what a “house party” is, just think of it as a home from home, with someone else doing the work.
Rather than make vague promises to “improve your photography” we teach particular skills and ways of thinking that guests can use long after the Retreat has finished. This, combined with tutorials and feed-back sessions, can help photographers to make substantial progress in their creative lives, all the while enjoying themselves in a lovely setting. We place lot of emphasis on creating a relaxing atmosphere in which conversation can flow, ideas emerge - and good food be enjoyed.
There’s so much rushing around and packing it all in, today. So much measuring and comparing, so many targets and lists to be a slave to. This way of living is not conductive to the production of good art because there’s no time for reflection, no time to listen for the echo.
We believe that good art flourishes in a calm setting, through the exchange of ideas and opinions, with time to think and the opportunity to revisit and rework - even if it's just for a week. We believe too in the value of sharing good food with other interesting people and listening to their stories. It’s deeply human. And we know that you don't have to travel to the ends of the Earth to do this.
So, we create a space for you on our Retreats, then fill it with knowledge and experience, skills and ideas - along with a good measure of care. Then we watch you grow as a photographer and perhaps connect with something new for the first time.
"Thank you both for all the thought and work you put into the workshop. I came home filled with enthusiasm for using my wide-angle lens in more creative ways. As a group, I think we call came away with new ideas which will take our photography forward. We also came away well fed with Charlotte's excellent cooking and chocolates."
/ Julia K. /
As a child, Charlotte lived all over the UK as her father, a nature reserve manager, moved to new posts. This time left her with a deep and abiding fascination with the natural world, and in particular, for the wildlife and landscapes of Scotland.
For 28 years, Charlotte combined a career in the Civil Service with freelance catering and hosting roles before coming to work with husband, Niall. She took the opportunity at the end of her time in the Civil Service to retrain as a chocolatier and through her own brand, Carlotta’s Chocolates, has received several Great Taste Awards. Guests value not only her expertise in the kitchen and dining room but her attention to detail and her warmth. She has a keen eye for a picture too and is a dab hand when it comes to Lightroom processing.
Niall spent the first part of his working life running the small berry farm belonging to his family in eastern Scotland. Once the farm was sold in the late 1980’s he took the opportunity to return to University where gained a degree in Geography and European Studies. But an obsessional interest in birds, fostered from a young age by his late father, and all-absorbing fascination with photography led him down the satisfying, if insecure route of a professional wildlife photographer and writer. In the 25 years since he has accumulated a massive publication record, including six books and hundreds of articles. He has been involved in founding and running several of the biggest outdoor photographic initiatives of the last decade, including Meet Your Neighbours, Wild Wonders of Europe and 2020VISION, was a founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and is a regular speaker at conferences at home and abroad.
For what it's worth, Outdoor Photography magazine named Niall as one of the world's 40 Most Influential Nature Photographers. But more importantly, he really likes sharing what he has learned. And sometimes, you can't shut him up...
You can see galleries of niall's photography here.
(photo by daughter, Iona)