An e-course for photographers who want to overcome blocks,
cultivate a truly original vision, and step into their full power as artists.

 

 

Light Atlas:
The Path to Wholehearted Seeing

Next Session: Starts October 21st


Artists need to reinvigorate themselves every so often - to shake off the dust and get back in touch with the raw, vital energy of creativity. When your artistic spirit feels tired or blocked…it’s time to invite a breakthrough.

Here’s the important thing: creating deep, meaningful, ground-breaking work is possible for you. It’s about honoring your creative whims and making images that sing to your soul. It’s about feeling your breath catch in your throat when you see a gorgeous slant of light, and spending rich, delicious minutes photographing it. Because it feels right. Because it makes life more beautiful. It’s about letting go of tired formulas, shoulds, and expectations - and seeing what happens when you invite your innate creative genius to come out and play.

This is the path of the true artist.

When you take a deep breath and decide to walk this path, a brilliant new world opens to you. It’s like waking up. 

This is Light Atlas: The Path to Wholehearted Seeing. If your inner artist needs a reboot, join me for this special e-course.

Light Atlas is a heart, eye, and mind opening class. It’s almost like I walked around for years not even realizing I needed glasses.
— Socrates Gliarmis
This course opened me up to my creative self more than I thought possible. I feel more like an artist every day. It’s like an internal light has been ignited and it’s amazing.
— Jill Velinos
 

Honoring Your Art…

It’s easy to put art on the back burner and let everything else come first. But, the creative spirit weakens when it’s neglected for too long. Light Atlas opens space: space to play, to joyfully follow up with creative whims. Space to honor your art and integrate it more fully into your life. Space to move closer to your creative goals, one gorgeous image at a time.

The Experience:

Led by photographer and curator Laura Valenti, Light Atlas is a six-week e-course about getting unstuck and inviting a thriving, vibrant, wholly original new vision to emerge. You'll receive four in-depth lessons each week - including a photography assignment that helps you apply what you’re learning.

You’ll also have the chance to participate in an online group show that will be shared widely with Laura’s international arts audience. It’s a fun opportunity to get your work out there (and potentially sell a print!).

Light Atlas lessons are delivered via:
 

  • Thoughtful readings

  • Audio essays

  • Gorgeous audio slideshows

  • Feedback on all your posted images and comments

  • In-depth interviews with professional artists

  • Beautiful photography examples and resources galore!

Light Atlas is designed to fit easily into your schedule. Unlike a traditional classroom experience, you can do the lessons any time day or night (cozied up in your pajamas, if you like!).

When class begins, you’ll be invited into a warm, welcoming online community. This is where we'll expand on the themes in the weekly lessons. Expect to find lively discussions, honest (always kind) feedback, and lots of encouragement and support on themes like: 
 

  • Releasing formulas and creative baggage so you can embrace real artistry

  • What it takes to fill your images with emotional depth and power

  • Finding a unique style that brings you alive!

  • Brave image-making - finally finding your own sense of direction

  • The difference between photographing nouns and making visionary images 

  • How to use different "lenses" (like poetry, mystery, mood, and magic) to see the way an artist does

  • Finding YOU in your work - and letting go of influences that make it derivative

  • Moving beyond standard-issue tools and techniques so you can really express what you imagine

  • How to create more than just “pretty” pictures (get ready to go deep!)

  • Creating your own visual language to guide your next steps

  • Rich, thought-provoking answers to the question, “How do I make a meaningful photograph?”

  • And so much more

     

Light Atlas also includes a soulful, exclusive collection of interviews with six visionary photographers:
 

  • Heather Evans Smith: Learn how she creates breathtaking, magical images with luscious costuming and set design.

  • Susan Burnstine: Hear how she uses dreams and childhood memories as inspiration (and handmade cameras!).

  • Douglas Beasley: Learn how he draws from metaphor and mindfulness to connect with his subjects more deeply.

  • Ervin A. Johnson: Hear a deep discussion about transforming fear into beauty and photography as ritual.

  • Russel Joslin: Hear about his emotional, mysterious self-portraiture work - and how his images comfort him.

  • Maro Vandorou: Listen to an in-depth talk about her gorgeous alternative printing and installation concepts.


Light Atlas was so transformative and insightful that I do not have the words to adequately portray its significance. I highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to dig deeper and make more meaningful and personally fulfilling photos. The lessons are so positive, uplifting, and full of juicy info and they tap into ideas deep within; they really are creative catalysts. Laura is amazing at inspiring students to do new things and see in new ways.
— Tiffany Couch
 
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 Is Light Atlas right for you?

  • You’ve been feeling blocked lately and you’re craving fresh inspiration

  • You’re comfortable with your technical skills…but it still feels like something’s missing

  • You’d love to feel more trust and confidence in yourself - to let go of inhibitions that limit your creative potential

  • Your work feels a little repetitive, derivative, or humdrum and you’re ready to spice things up and find your true vision

  • You want your images to really express the joy and connection you felt when you pressed the shutter

  • You feel a stirring in your soul that says it’s time to explore new territory with your art

  • Your photos don't express much emotion (they feel a little bland, if you’re really honest)

  • You're ready for the clarity and freedom of a big creative shift

  • You know you could do more with your photography, and you’re ready to ask deeper questions and get deeper answers

  • You want to be able to say with total confidence, “I am an artist.

  • You’d love to explore all these ideas with a sweet community of supportive new artist friends

If this sounds like you…Light Atlas is a wonderful fit.

  

I take my photography very seriously and sometimes that stops me before I start. This course really freed me up. It was very non pressured, non competitive. I started creating new, easy images...and I fell in love with them. I now feel looser with the creative process, and I’m so looking forward to continuing this exploration!
— Landry Major
 
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A bit about me…

I’m Laura Valenti - the artist behind Light Atlas Creative. For me, photography is so much more than a technical exercise. I'm passionate about helping photographers become visionary artists. My teaching centers on clearing creative blocks and cultivating the insight and confidence necessary to make deeply authentic work.

I’ve had my fingers in a lot of pots in the art world, for over 20 years now. I teach interactive e-courses, support emerging photographers in my creative mentoring program, speak to photo groups, lead retreats, and curate exhibitions for galleries and photo festivals around the world. I also jury competitions and serve as a reviewer at portfolio review events, where I help photographers fine-tune their vision and promote their work with more confidence. 

Why did I create this class? Throughout my career in the arts, I’ve watched a lot of photographers diligently complete photo assignments and continually update their gear - but still struggle to say anything new with their work. They want to free up their photography and develop a clear personal style, but they’re stuck in a rut making images that feel competent…but ordinary. I created Light Atlas to help photographers access the key ingredients they're missing and breathe brilliant new life into their art.

Light Atlas opens space for major creative shifts. If you’re ready for one - join me.


I’ve taken other online photo classes, but nobody anywhere pays attention to the interior states of the heart and mind of the photographer like Laura. She taps into the unconscious where memory, dream, and reflection are the artist’s greatest allies, far beyond technology. The class discussions are so much more full-bodied and insightful than in other classes I’ve taken, where the tendency is un-usefully more towards “likes.” My question to myself is always, “How can I move my photography forward from mid-level to awesome?” I won’t say I’ve reached awesome yet, but in the two years since I took Light Atlas, I’ve had ten exhibits, including two solo shows!
— Sandy Brown Jensen

There are two ways to experience Light Atlas...

The first option is outlined above. The second option includes everything mentioned above and adds a mentoring component. Here’s what that looks like:
 

Step 1: I’ll review your past photographic work, website (if you have one), and any portfolios or other images you want to share (I really will look at ALL of it).

Step 2: We’ll schedule a 60-minute mentoring call. Ask me anything - it's your time to use however you like. I’ll offer my reflections on your strongest images and help you build on what you have. We’ll chat about your personal photography goals, and I’ll offer suggestions on overcoming any specific creative challenges you might be grappling with. 
 

The mentoring option is a wonderful fit if you’d love detailed feedback and personalized advice from a seasoned curator, photo juror, and professional portfolio reviewer. 


Imagine…

Imagine spending a glorious afternoon immersed in your photography, knowing you’re in the zone, creating work that makes your heart happy. Your photographs feel fresh - like you’re finally breaking new ground. You look at your images and know: you’re out of the slump. You’ve found your voice as an artist.

This is absolutely possible for you.

Come home to your true vision and make the images your heart is longing to see.

Join me for Light Atlas: The Path to Wholehearted Seeing.

Laura, you really are a godsend to photographers.
You help change artists’ lives and everyone should know it!
— Cathy Panebianco
 
 


Frequently Asked Questions


What kind of camera do I need?

All cameras are welcome! You don’t need anything fancy to take this course. In fact, the simpler, the better! DSLRs, point-and-shoots, camera phones, pinhole cameras made from oatmeal boxes – I have a strict equipment nondiscrimination policy. If it makes you happy to shoot with it, you've got the right gear for this class.

Tell me honestly: How good do I need to be for this?

Since Light Atlas is a conceptual photography course (not a technical class), photographers at every level are welcome. It's never too early to start seeing the world like an artist. The only prerequisite is being comfortable with basic camera operations and knowing how to upload images to your computer.

How much time do I need to put in?

We each learn and process information at our own pace, so I’m hesitant to put a number on it, but you’ll likely make the most of this course if you spend about two hours a week on the lessons and your weekly assignment. If you miss a week, you can always catch up at your own pace.

Do I need to be online at specific times?

Because photographers from all different time zones sign up for Light Atlas, there are no live, scheduled lessons that you need to be present for. You’ll get access to new lessons four days a week, but you can dive in at whatever time works best for you.

 

What happens if I fall behind my classmates?

Online classes are nice and flexible. There’s really no such thing as "falling behind." If you miss a lesson (or a few) because life gets in the way, you can catch up without missing a beat. Art doesn’t unfold on a timetable, so there is absolutely zero pressure to rush or force things in this class. You'll have access to all the lessons for three full years after the live course ends, so you can refer to them as many times as you like.



How does the online group show work?

At the end of our six weeks together, I’ll curate a show of my favorite images produced during our class (every student will be included, though you’re welcome to opt out if you like). The images will be included in a slideshow on my website and highlighted on Instagram (stories, posts, and hashtag gallery). It’s a fun chance to get your work in front of an international community of arts supporters and collectors. If someone wants to purchase a print, I’ll connect you directly with them.

What’s the refund policy?

Light Atlas is a highly-rated course that many students take more than once. If you need to leave class for any reason, your registration is transferrable to another live session of the same course. Because you'll get access to the course and all the course resources (and because you'll get to keep your access for three full years), your registration isn't transferrable to a different course offering, and it isn’t refundable.

 

I'm an experienced photographer. Is this class a good fit?

Many experienced photographers take Light Atlas to reinvigorate their vision when they're feeling stagnant. Since the class is about overcoming blocks and deepening your relationship with your photography, even photographers with many decades of experience will benefit.  

 
It’s been a highlight of the year to tune in each day to the lessons. Every day of this class has been important and enjoyable. I love Laura’s unique ability to guide and reinforce us as artists. I learned from all the other students, too - their images, courage, and insight. The result of all this has been two new bodies of work started and a different approach to seeing and making images.
— Sally Bowker
Outstanding class! You have made such a difference in my life!
— Patricia Hogan
Light Atlas pushed me and expanded my horizons. I came out of the class with new “eyes” when photographing. This class will improve your seeing and creativity 110%. I truly believe Laura has a gift for teaching, along with her gift of being an incredible photographer. Laura takes the time with each of her students to bring forth their creative side. There is no doubt I have grown immensely.
— Anne Smith
Laura’s exercises, interviews, and talks expanded my abilities by an order of magnitude. Two pictures that had their genesis in those exercises later were accepted into juried shows.
— Dennis Geller
Before I took Light Atlas, I was in a block and removed from my muse. I was struggling with making time for my photography and needed something to help me focus. This was my first online course, and I am very grateful I had the opportunity to work with Laura. She focused on the core of why I was drawn to photography. I looked deeper at my inspiration. One moment that has stuck with me was the joy I felt as I made arrangements with collected objects and explored ways to transform them into art. I still return to this group of photographs to keep that moment alive. I learned so much and have continued to grow thanks to Laura’s guidance.
— Peggy Taylor Reid
This is an extraordinary class. Laura has a way of getting photographers to see on a different wavelength. It’s a six-week meditative exercise that struck a deep chord with me.
— Alex Hernandez
Fabulous. Light Atlas is such a beautiful, positive way to begin each morning.
— Lea Murphy
This class is a gift. Thank you for your inspiration, your wisdom, and your encouragement. Thank you for helping me see where my real inspiration comes from.
— Lorraine Castillo
Laura, you have really outdone yourself with this course! There is so much wisdom, inspiration, and room for exploration in it that I could easily spend a year learning and digesting this material.
— Judith Bender
Of the (MANY!) classes of Laura’s I have taken, Light Atlas is definitely my favorite. It seemed to me that every person made some sort of gigantic leap of growth during this class - transformative growth. Highly recommend.
— Diana Nicholette Jeon
My experience was outstanding! I came away with several project ideas. This is a class that makes you really think about your photography practice, to look past the surface and dig deeper into your emotions, thoughts, and feelings. It is a transformational experience! There’s so much good stuff to absorb!
— Lisa Marie Waddell
This is such an inspiring and supportive class. The weekly themes are so relevant and eye-opening. I am grateful Laura for your thoughtful, honest sharing and your wisdom. I am also grateful for being part of such a talented group of fellow students - it’s always reassuring to not feel alone.
— Connie Gardener Rosenthal