The Truth & Beauty of You – Possible Models

In a previous post link I mentioned Bruce Gilden’s five day workshops Be Yourself for which he charges $1,300 to $1,700 for 12 to 14 participants. Anna rightly pointed out that he is famous and I am not so fees may be lower. This got me thinking about a number of models of learning I am aware of and possible fee structures.

In my second career I was an executive coach at board level for large corporations and consultancies. I worked for Praesta, the premier executive coaching company in the UK, and built my own business. In my own business coaching individual clients at senior level my favoured fee structure was £12,000 for a six month contract. In that contract I committed to one 2 hour face to face coaching session per month. In addition I was available for email and phone contact through the duration of the contract. Most of these contracts consumed less than 12 hours of face to face and for 90 pct of the contracts very little additional work on email or phone. All my clients left happy and used me again.

Coaching and developing a photography capability have a lot in common. You can’t change people quickly. There is a process of making the client aware of something from which follows a process of play, practice and assimilation. The client then absorbs this new activity in to their own being or practice or rejects it and keeps with what they prefer. Bruce Gilden used to teach his jump out and flash photograph subjects style in his earlier workshops. He then found clients did it in the workshop but rarely again. This is why he came up with the Be Yourself idea.


I believe there is a lucrative market available for my retreat. One idea for me to consider and work on over the next year is combining with a photographer who has a name and is interested in the idea of The Truth & Beauty of You. I have a Masters in Psychology, am trained in Gestalt Psychology and have ten years of coaching people behind me. I can provide the retreat structure and the personal development aspect of the work. Let’s say I take a young recognised name not yet earning what she would like and team up with her name and skills aiming at the premium market.


There are a number of models I am aware of that are worth considering as a structure for my own retreat or learning experience.

  • The Falmouth MA in Photography. It costs individuals around £10k for a two year programme. There is a lot of self study backed up by world class lectures and teaching staff.
  • The Photography Institute link charges £699 for a 12 module diploma. I took this course in 2016 to reenter the photography world and get up to speed with digital after a 20 year absence. It is mostly self study and a much lower level of engagement than the MA but is well structured and does get limited access to tutors to review work.
  • The Cleveland Institute iGold programme in Gestalt and Organisation development link is an immersive learning experience over 18 months in five countries. There is a permanent faculty of 4 with guest faculty and 36 attendees. The current charge is $13,700 per person. This is where I learnt my Gestalt practice in 2008/9 in Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Holland and Portugal. I paid £15,000 for five weeks of learning in which we followed the make aware, play, try, execute and assimilate model. In my coaching business this fee paid itself back many times over. My class of 36 are still a very close network of professionals and friends to this day.
  • Tim Mannakee photography holidays and workshops link is another experience to consider. I have been to Tuscanny and Venice with Tim. He charges €1790 per person for six people for his Dordogne Workshop to €7000 per person for nine people in Uzbekistan doing the Silk Road. Tim’s value proposition is he finds the places and knows where the images are that people want. He then gets them there at the right time. Most participants are experienced photographers and there is little tuition from Tim. The model works very well.

I need to do a lot to put more detail in to the retreat proposal and this will take the balance of this year to do.

Categories: Project Development SP, Sustainable Prospects


I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.