Dutch Master Classes

The Dutch Masters of the 17th century created visual art the likes of which the world had never seen. In what you might call an explosion of creativity, they changed visual art, its accessibility, and its popularity forever.

It turns out that they had certain commonalities. In particular, they combined the following:


  • An amazing amount of technical knowledge.
  • Fortuitous timing: technology, education, trade, and societal wealth were all on their side.
  • A great degree of creativity.
  • A great emphasis on light.
  • A love of realism.
  • Clear picture storytelling (“narrative directness”).
  • A love of portraiture.
  • Great informal rapport with their subjects.
  • Master Classes, held by experts for their apprentices.
  • An inquisitive and exploratory nature. A number of Dutch Masters travelled to Italy to learn Light Theory.
  • The Masters carefully painted some nudes—as much as the times allowed.
  • They engaged in speculative art: for the first time, they created art without a sale, in the hope it would sell later.

It turns out that these are exactly the things that makes photographers great. Hence the Dutch Master Class theme: you can learn from history. The Dutch Masters would be delighted that their art, their learning, their creative insights are being used and taught today, almost 500 years later. In my Dutch Master classes, that is what I do: by continuing the tradition of many centuries, I set your creativity free.

I am therefore happy that this message is catching on. This blog is widely read; my workshops are popular (The October 16 Hands-On Flash workshop has just one spot left), and my non-DRM e-books are read worldwide.

These are great days for photographers, whatever doom and gloom messages you may hear. Sure, there will be change, but photography is not about to become less popular. Today, there is an easier-than-ever path from a vision in your head to a beautiful print on museum paper (or an image on your screen). Allow me to help you achieve that dream, the dream of being able to visualise your artistic vision and create lasting art.

And this blog will help, as will the other ways in which I teach. Stay tuned and see you on one of the seminars.

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