JUNE 3-24


Project Launch!

It is a perfect time to focus on finishing a body of work. Gain valuable insights on how to develop, research, edit, complete and promote a compelling photography project 




Class will meet every Wednesday at 3:15pm (Eastern Time) - June 3rd, June 10th, and June 17th. Each weekly group session will run roughly 1-3 hours, depending on lecture, discussion and critique times. One-on-ones with Jacob and Alissa will be scheduled on Wednesday, June 24th. One-on-one sessions are 20-minutes long. 




You’ve been shooting for quite some time. You make good pictures but you are getting bored of just making pretty one-offs and you want your work to progress. Does this sound familiar? This is a common predicament that many hobbyist, amateur and early-career photographers find themselves in. You are passionate about photography, and have work that you are proud of, but you don’t know how to move forward, hone your skills and find your unique voice. How can you stay engaged, productive and inspired if you don’t have a definitive purpose behind your efforts? How can the work you make have a positive impact, create new opportunities and reach a wider audience? Projects! That's how.


Well-executed projects are how careers are made in photography. One good idea carried out with precision can open doors and provide numerous opportunities for photographic advancement. Working on projects will make your photography better. Projects will give you access to people and/or places that are otherwise off limits. Projects help you decode your own unique style and gain a better understanding of what guides your eye and decision making process when composing your images. Projects force you to step outside of your comfort zone and throw variables your way that you have to respond and react to. 


The Project Launch workshop is for anyone ready to commit to the process of completing a compelling and cohesive body of work. Students should either have a project idea in mind, or in progress, for this course. We will guide students through the entire project process - from ideation to completion to distribution. In addition to your work-in-progress project, we will also encourage you to use the assignments and tools provided to brainstorm new bodies of work. 


Through guided discussions, slideshows, writing assignments, and one-on-one reviews, the Hesslers will provide invaluable insight on how to create compelling photography bodies of work. All photographers working on a project need a good editor, someone to help them cull and make sequencing decisions. Often it is difficult to remove yourself from your emotional attachment to specific images and there is a tendency to want to use more images than you should.


For students in the earlier stages of their project, we will help provide guidance on writing a strong artists statement and filling gaps in their narrative. We will also discuss the importance of research and setting deadlines. For those students close to the completion of their projects, we will help ruthlessly edit and sequence their bodies of work, letting go of images that might be holding their projects back from reaching their full potential. In this highly collaborative course, students will benefit both from our guidance and the insight of your fellow students in our group critique sessions. 


• Lecture - How to create a body of work and what constitutes a signature style. We will explore different contemporary bodies of work of all subjects matters (not just landscapes) and discuss what makes a body of work feel compelling and cohesive. We will review several artists statements and discuss best practices for drafting and fine-tuning your project statement. 

• Discuss research/development, production, storyboarding and photo treatments to make your project come together. The importance of roadmapping where you are and where you need to go. 

Assignments (due Tuesday, June 9th at 3pm)

• Draft of your project artist statement

• 1-3 images from your work-in-progress project

• 1-2 ideas for other potential projects (or other projects you are currently working on)

WEEK 2: shooting & editing 

• Each students presents project statements and 1-3 project images - critiques and feedback provided by instructors and fellow students

• Lecture and demo on editing and post processing to maintain signature style

• Best practices for getting the shot at a location, of a subject, with a time limit

   - Jake will discuss how doing projects has forced him to be a more creative photographer for his location-based  projects

   - Alissa will share tips on building a trust with subjects.


• Revised project statement

• Up to six sequenced, post-processed images (or storyboards/photo treatments) from your work-in-progress project to share with the group

(due Tuesday, June 16th at 3pm)


• Lecture/discussion on different printing mediums and means of distribution (self-publishing, fine press books, galleries, print and online zines, contests, etc.)

• Students present their revised artists statements and up to six post processed and sequenced images (or storyboard/photo treatments) from their work-in-progress project. Feedback will be provided by instructors and fellow students in a group critique format.



• Prepare for one-on-one session by writing down any questions that you have, pulling any images you would like to go over and pulling together/sequencing all of the best images or image treatment/storyboards you have made thus far from your project. 



Individual 20-minute critiques where we will discuss your future goals and road map out your next steps to complete your project. 



Skill level

This workshop is designed for photographers who want to focus their efforts on creating a compelling body of work. We ask that all students already have an idea for a project when signing up for this course. It is okay if you have already been shooting for the project for some time and need guidance on writing an artist statement, culling, finding the missing pieces, etc. Sessions will be hosted on Zoom. Once you have completed registration we will send you your Zoom login information for the course. You do not need to download Zoom to participate on a desktop or laptop computer. You do need to download the Zoom app if accessing from a phone or tablet.


Weekly sessions will be hosted on Zoom every Wednesday at 3:15pm (Eastern Time) from June 3rd until June 17th (3 sessions). Sessions will run roughly 1 - 3 hours, depending on lecture, discussion and critique times. One-on-one sessions with Jacob and Alissa will be scheduled on Wednesday, June 24th and will be 20-minutes in duration. 


A maximum of 12 students, and a minimum of 6* 


*The workshop will be cancelled if minimum enrollment is not met within 7 days of the workshop start. If cancelled, a full refund will be issued to all registered students. 


$495* (+ $15 processing fee)

*10% of the proceeds of this workshop will be donated to the AIO Food Pantry


“Even before the pandemic food insecurity in Maine was rampant. Now the need far exceeds what our food pantries are equipped for. We don't want anyone in our community to go hungry because they have seen their wages dry up.” - Alissa and Jacob Hessler





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Jacob Hessler is a contemporary fine art photographer, known for his expansive and meditative landscapes. Hessler’s work has explored rising seas, industrialized farming, borders and boundaries, invasive species, extinction, and more broadly, mankind's relationship with, and impact on, the natural world. His keen eye and use of scale connects viewers with the vastness of the human experience.

Jacob is a graduate of the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, and pursued his master’s degree in graphic design at Parsons, The New School for Design. He worked in New York as a commercial photographer and art director from 2006-2011. In 2011, Hessler left New York and moved back to his childhood hometown in mid-coast Maine to focus on fine art landscape photography. Jacob’s work is widely collected and displayed throughout the world. He is a represented artist at Dowling Walsh Gallery, Corey Daniels Gallery and Soapbox Arts. 

With a diverse background in art direction, photography, and film production management, Alissa Hessler has worked as both the director for creative talent and as the creative talent. She has shot and produced content for international publications and brands, art directed and produced commercial shoots, managed global launch events, and orchestrated rebrands of international corporations. In her free time she continues to champion young farmers and rural small business owners through her Urban Exodus project. Her first book Ditch the City and Go Country, was released in 2017, distributed by Macmillan Press. 

Jacob and Alissa jointly teach workshops at Maine Media, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and other institutions across the country. They also operate their own destination workshops on Cumberland Island and the Lost Coast of California.