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  • Spirit of Structure: Abandoned Farms of North Dakota

Spirit of Structure: Abandoned Farms of North Dakota

August 20 – 25, 2017 Rugby, North Dakota Class Size: 15 Tuition: $1725 Register

Welcome to the unique opportunity of photographing in isolated, abandoned farmhouses and nearly deserted towns in north central North Dakota. Conditions of the structures range from windowless shells to intact buildings containing personal belongings of the long gone occupants. Despite the perception that photographing buildings falls under the genre of “architectural” photography these structures also provide rich possiblities for photographers with still life, portrait, abstract, and landscape interests.

We will be based in Rugby, the geographical center of North America with a population of approximately 3000. We work in several locations each day, within driving distances around the Rugby and Rolette areas. Each year, new locations are added (and some are lost to us) so for returning students there is always fresh inspiration to take the workshop for a second (or third) time. Most locations are within an hour’s drive and if there is a particular location that “speaks to you” you will have ample opportunities to explore that site as often as you feel necessary.

This is a location workshop in which we will focus on creating photographs. All camera format, film and digital, are welcome. Large format and film are always welcome in my workshop but be advised that there is no opportunity for processing film. Digital photographers should bring their own laptop to edit for critiques.

Throughout the week we will use the daytime to make images and some of the evenings for critique. I ask that you share 5 - 10 images per critique. These may be images made during the workshop or from previous work, in print or digital form. In addition, if you would like an individual portfolio review bring a representative portfolio of no more than 30 images, in print or digital format.

My Spirit of Structure workshops are designed to increase skills, challenge old habits and help you break out of ruts. Your focus during the week is not so much about making the perfect photograph but in approaching subjects differently, in shifting your perspective, in taking risks. This combination of working in a new environment and altering how you approach your subject will change your photographs long after you leave the workshop.

Transportation, Lodging: Participants are responsible for lodging, meals and transportation. The workshop begins on Sunday, August 20th at 6 p.m. and ends with dinner on Friday, August 25th.

Contact us with further questions.


  • Minot (MOT) is ~ 62 miles from Rugby.
  • Bismarck (KBIS/BIS) is ~ 125 miles from Rugby
  • Grand Forks (GFK) ~ 150 miles east of Rugby

Rental Cars

A rental car is a must for this workshop. Contact me if you are interested in sharing a car and I will put the word out in the group as registration for the workshop is completed.


When you make your reservations, let them know you are with the Tillman Crane Photography Workshop.

Northern Lights Inn
HWY 2 East
PO Box 165
Rugby, ND 58368
(701) 776 5776 – Contact the hotel to reserve your room.