The Richard Dischler Photo Workshop Scores Big at the 2019 San Mateo County Fair Fine Arts Galleria

Once again, the Workshop members received outstanding awards in this annual juried exhibit.

The Lois Kelley Exhibitor of the Year was awarded to David Craven. This prestigious Award is given to the top Visual Artist of the year. This is an outstanding achievement.

In fact, eight out of the last nine years, Workshop members received this award.

Best of Show Color Print also went to David Craven.  Again, congratulations, David!  While many have come to mistakenly believe that the Workshop focuses primarily on black-and-white images, this award demonstrates the Workshop focuses on the print.  

Best of Show Black and White went to Olya Gary.  Indeed, we do have a reputation for Workshop members developing compelling black-and-white prints that move the soul.  Congratulations Olya!

Workshop members swept the “Carry the Light” awards.  First Place went to Greg Lim; Second Place to Olya Gary; Third Place to Joel Rubin.  Awesome!

The Workshop raked in the ribbons as well, across all categories, including Cell Phone, Abstract, Color, and Black-and-White.  A total of 86 ribbons were awarded, of which 45 went to RDPW members.  We earned a total of 17 First Place Blue Ribbons, 14 Second Place Red Ribbons, 14 Third Place White Ribbons, and 33 Honorable Mentions Yellow Ribbons.

The members submitted 34% of the entries and received over 50% of the awards.

In this digital world, so many images end up in the ether, but the RDPW is committed to The Print—a standard of print production that excels in quality.  It is clear that the RDPW standard was on full display at the 2019 San Mateo County Fair Fine Arts Galleria, and that standard was appreciated and recognized for its excellence.  It creates a lasting impression.

It’s the Print.  Again the Print. The standard shows.

One-Light Studio Class, May 4

5 hours @ $299.00

In this hands-on workshop, we will demonstrate the use of one light source for portrait lighting. You will be able to see the effect of one light source from different angles on the portrait subject and how you, the photographer, can impart, evoke, and provoke different emotions and reactions. It is an exciting photographic adventure.

What to bring:
• A camera
• Laptop with imaging software (RDPW preference for Adobe LightRoom)
• Comfortable attire
• A sense of humor (It goes a long way)

Walkabout in Palo Alto, April 27

Saturday, April 27, 2019, 11:30am-4:30pm

220 S. California Avenue, Suite 115A/B
Palo Alto, CA 94306

Fee: $30

For more details and to sign up, click here.

Call for Entries – San Mateo County Fair 2019

The San Mateo County Fair is coming soon. Official rules and dates are available on the SMCF Fine Arts Galleria page and PDF. Bay Area Masters deadline for application (which involves JPEG’s emailed) is April 16th. General SMCF entry deadline is May 7, with actual images May 28th.

New 6-month pre-visualization workshop starts on June 1st!

This workshop is geared from the serious amateur to the professional photographer interested in improving their skills and is the prerequisite for the one-year advanced study Pre-Visualization Workshops. Members from Dischler’s current and previous six-month and one-year Pre-Visualization Workshops continue to receive public recognition for their work in juried and non-juried local, regional, national and international art and photography exhibits.

  • For more details on the workshop, click here
  • To see the session dates and sign up, click here


Carmel, California

The Center for Photographic Art (CfPA) conducts an annual juried international competition. In 2018, it fielded approximately 1,300 entrants, out of which its jury chose 90 images to hang in its exhibit hall in Carmel, California. From this esteemed and honored group were nine (9) members of the Richard Dischler Photo Workshop (RDPW) from Palo Alto, California. Their comments and images are highlighted below.

Now in its 10th year, the purpose of the RDPW is for photographers of all levels to discover and develop their “photographic voice” through customized group and individual interactions with founder Richard Dischler and other workshop members. This process leads a photographer to elevate his or her images to a level of excellence that demands—and deserves—a final output: The Print. The print is developed to the point that it explodes in expression, bold color, compelling black-and-white and is called to be matted, framed, and hung on a wall of honor where people can view and appreciate it, above and beyond the digital ether, where so many images get lost, forgotten, or disappear forever.

Comments from Members of RDPW:

I have always held The Center for Photographic Art in Carmel in high esteem because it’s associated with Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, among other photographers whom I admire. Naturally, when I received the email that my image was going to be exhibited at the 2018 International Juried Exhibition, I felt proud, honored, and excited. Within a minute, I texted Richard Dischler ( to share the news with him. Richard has taught me the value of classic photography and post processing in the classic black-and-white style.
Golnaz Abdoli

I was surprised and amazed when my picture was chosen among those to be on the “wall” of the CfPA 2018 Juried Exhibition.  It was all the more exciting to learn that pictures by eight other members of the Dischler Workshop had also been juried in.  At the opening reception, it was a scramble for all of us to get out into the courtyard and take some snapshots of our group. We got back into the packed gallery for the awards ceremony, just in time to hear that Golnaz’ picture had won Best of Show.
Jay Bergman

I saw the email come in from the Center for Photographic Arts, and my initial reaction was, and I’m quoting a text message here, “Well, color me shocked.” I was honored to be chosen in an exhibition with such an esteemed history. I was unable to attend the opening, but did visit later. To be shown at the Center’s gallery amongst many other excellent images leaves one both honored and humbled. It is a tribute to this workshop that we number approximately 10% of the show’s population. I am proud and honored to be counted as a member.
Fred Carter

A few year ago, I was invited to a CfPA reception with a friend whose photos hung in their exhibit hall. I had a good time with my friend and other artists on that day, and I wished I was one of them.  This past year, the enjoyment of the reception was enhanced because my photo was chosen for the online exhibit and featured in their catalog. I was delighted and felt appreciated. Additionally, the CfPA reception was a fun and exciting experience as I got the opportunity to meet other artists and see their work. At the same time, it reminded me how much I’ve learned and grown in photography. The experience further reminded me of my teachers, including Richard Dischler, and friends who have coached and encouraged me along with way, and I am still learning.
Kim Dang

Ultimately, while I photograph as a creative personal outlet, to express myself in visual language, I also find it necessary to submit my work for juried review, to have my work judged and see if my images are speaking clearly and saying what I intend them to say. I submitted a handful of my best images to the Center for Photographic Art (CfPA) 2018 International Juried Exhibition. The CfPA enjoys a long and storied history in West Coast photography, and I was honored and thrilled to have one of my images selected.
Elizabeth DeBruin

This particular event at the CfPA was extremely gratifying because the competition was international—a first for me. We were nine out of ninety individuals chosen out a total of thirteen hundred that were recognized as possessing exemplary talent. Our combined success was evidence of the guidance that we Workshop members receive from Richard Dischler. I was proud for him, and I am proud to be associated with so many talented and generous photographers.
Tomás Garza

I was surprised and honored to be included in the CfPA Juried Exhibit. I was able to get down to Carmel to view the art and was ecstatic to see my work included amongst such talented artists. I applaud the CfPA as an organization in their efforts to be inclusive and supportive of photographers of all skill levels. 
Dave Leder

SHOCKED- I was shocked!
DISBELIEF – I thought it must be a mistake.
NUMB/EXCITED- As I read the email again and again, I was a little numb, but this quickly gave way to excitement at having one of my pictures selected for such a prestigious exhibition.
HONORED – I am truly honored to be included among such talented photographers.
GRATEFUL- I am even more grateful to be part of the incredible Richard Dischler Photo Workshop and the opportunity to learn from Dick and the other workshop members.
Greg Lim

Having my print “Sunbathers” chosen to be in an international juried show was a real honor and, needless to say, personally satisfying. That the exhibit was sponsored by an organization that owes its roots to the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston made it even more satisfying. And then to be exhibited along with other members of the Richard Dischler Photo Workshop completed the experience.
Dan McLean

Kim Dang: Boat Person, Refugee, Survivor and Photographer

War is hell. It is a supremely destructive force of humanity. It kills people, destroys communities, separates loved ones. It also presents people with opportunities to unveil their real character. Acts of courage, heroism, and love abound, pushing back the boundaries of evil inherent in war. Only fortune, acts of God, and the hearts of men and women shape the outcome.

That is part of the fabric woven into Kim Dang’s life story. Her father died in 1968, during the Vietnam War. By 1975, the War was officially over, but for 25-year-old Kim, her life was shattered when the North Vietnamese overtook Saigon, the city where she was born and raised as the youngest of four children. All the joy in her life was gone.

Both Kim and her boyfriend, Chinh Quoc Tran met at work, formerly the tax office of the south Vietnamese government, which was subsequently taken over by the communist regime. He had been a law student at the university and had almost finished his master’s degree. After the communists took over, he still worked at the communist Vietnamese version of the IRS, but he was not replaced because he was young and smart. He also had relatives in the north, so he was protected to a certain degree. Kim’s role in the same organization was at a lower level, was not so safe. She feared she would be conscripted into the communist army and sent to fight in Cambodia, as had already happened to friends and acquaintances.

She and her family attempted to escape, but were caught, and her sister was sent to prison. Rather than succumb to fear, she became more determined than ever to escape this oppressive, evil regime. Chinh was not in favor of escaping at that time, as he was the eldest son in his family, who was expected to say behind and remain with the family.

Loving Kim and not wanting to lose her, he proposed marriage, but she feared that would lead to pregnancy and then she would never escape. She declined his offer.

In a period Kim calls “Black April,” she once again made the choice to risk her life and attempt an escape. She told her boss she was taking a week-long vacation. Instead of staying behind, Chinh’s love for Kim and appreciation for her indefatigable spirit led him to join her in the getaway. Kim and Chinh left behind siblings, parents, and friends and all her earthly possessions.

It cost money to escape. The normal cost of escape was 10 to 15 bars of gold. Kim saved for five years. Because the man planning the escape was a friend and colleague of Chinh’s, he accepted only the two gold bars she had. This friend also owned a 13-meter fishing boat, which he used to help 50 people embark on the arduous and dangerous escape journey out of communist Vietnam.

Everyone was instructed to dress like farmers, dig fox holes at night, and hide in them during the day. Men and women were separated, so Kim and Chinh lost track of each other for awhile, frightening Kim, but not deterring her. They only had a few morsels of rice to eat every day because people who were helping hide them and feed them had to do it on the sly. At 11 o’clock at night, someone with a flashlight signaled them to crawl out of the holes. Dirty and sweaty, they quietly made their way to the boat awaiting them inside Vung Tau City on the Baahria River. They all knew if they got caught, they risked imprisonment, torture, or death. To avoid detection, they lay like sardines on top of each other on the boat bottom. Once they reached international waters of the South China Sea, they tossed everything possible overboard to lighten the load.

The first night sea was stormy. The boat hugged the Thailand coastline for three or four days and nights, crossing choppy, sometimes violent waters. There were no toilets, so conditions were highly unsanitary. Only a handful of rice and little water was apportioned to each person. They finally landed in Malaysia, where they sought safe haven in the first of several UN refugee camps, including Pulau Tanga and Pulau Bidong, where they learned English, underwent psychological exams, and interviewed for sponsorship to her adopted country. Dirty, exhausted, and hungry, Kim also experienced belated relief when the reality of her survival sunk in; they had heard that almost everyone died on two earlier boats that never landed safely.

Kim and Chinh first moved to Seattle, where her brother-in-law had escaped in 1975, and the two subsequently married in Seattle in 1987.

Kim returned to Vietnam in 1992, returned again every year from 2000 to 2008, and not again until 2018. During the latest trip, Kim unveiled more of her family history, discovering secrets and lost relatives.  Using the eyes of her heart, Kim also captured some of her most powerful and timeless images.

Kim’s photographs showcase her native Vietnamese community through a highly sensitive and intimate approach to her subjects, lending each one a gentle, quiet—yet profound—dignity.

In 2000, Kim Dang began taking photographs with a film-based camera, whose images she believes might be worth resurrecting in a digital format. Kim has been an RDPW member for 6 years.

Kim Dang’s images are currently on display at the San Mateo County Art Fair from June 9–17, 2018.

Artist’s Reception at the Triton

On Sunday, November 19, the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara hosted an Artist’s Reception in the afternoon to kick off their Winter Exhibitions. One of the exhibitions on display is the Salon at the Triton: 2D Art Competition and Exhibition, which received more than 1,000 entries this time.

The jurors selected approximately 125 works for inclusion in the exhibition, and, among these, 37 were photographs. The Richard Dischler Photo Workshop had a strong presence at the event, with 11 of the 37 selected photographs belonging to ten current workshop members. If we also consider the works from former workshop members, then 14 out of the 37 photos were created by twelve current and former RDPW members. Congratulations!

Richard and the current workshop members with photos on display at the Triton: Fred Carter, Thomas Laye, Golnaz Abdoli, Daniel Vaquero, René Sterenthal, Craig Colvin, George Herman, Kim Lien Dang, Paul Italiano, and Bernard Lint (not in the picture)