At the tender age of 6, Mark Cafiero received his first camera. Though it was broken and filled with cartoons his father had drawn of Mark and his sisters, that camera sparked an early interest in photography. Since then, that spark has erupted into a full-fledged passion, leading Mark to become a professional photographer who has snapped photos for hundreds of clients, including celebrities and professional athletes. To share his spark with others, Mark founded Chimpsy, an resource that helps photographers of all experience levels calibrate their skills with casual in-person and online classes.
Available in more than 30 cities across the nation, Chimpsy's two-hour crash course features a hands-on shooting session and campfire-style presentation on topics ranging from camera anatomy to photo composition. For home study, online classes help photographers—beginners and aspiring pros alike—get more from their pictures through two-hour video tutorials that cover photo-editing software, shooting tips and techniques, and steps on how to build a photography business. From the comfort of their bedrooms, students can watch these professional photographer-led tutorials live or replay previously recorded sessions. Along with instructional classes, Chimpsy offers shutterbugs a place to submit photos for contests with monthly prizes or for feedback from peers, pros, and sentient picture frames.
John Hand had a theory: for any problem a person might have, someone in their local community has a solution. To that end, he founded Colorado Free University, continuing a tradition that began with the Denver Free University of the 1970s and early '80s. Whereas the Denver Free University was created as a political move to make education more accessible, the Colorado incarnation sets its sights on simple personal betterment, becoming more of a learning network than a school. All of its teachers are independent contractors culled from the local community, and together they helm skill-based and enrichment classes for adults, spanning a range of artistic, humanitarian, and business disciplines.
Students can receive training in foreign languages or ASL, business or digital marketing, or acting, visual arts, or woodworking. The school's facilities also accommodate CompuSkills computer-training classes, which progress from basic sessions in computer operation to advanced sessions in photoshopping a ghost out of a family portrait. There are cooking classes, foreign language courses, and style classes, all of which turn out well-rounded pupils. The campus's 89-seat John Hand Theater, meanwhile, hosts intimate performances from local Firehouse Theater Company and Spotlight Theatre Company.
Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
Spanish Is Fun founder Silvia Cubillos Velez knows that learning Spanish will be of great practical use in her students’ lives and careers, but the school’s goals don’t stop there. "We want people to be enchanted with the classes so they, too, can love the language and the culture," she told Viva Colorado. Though she traveled to Spain to complete her language education, Velez retains a deep love for the traditions of her Colombian homeland, and accordingly makes sure to weave Latin American literature and culture into her classes.
No matter what age or ability level they teach, the school’s staff of native Spanish speakers focus on communication rather than just conjugating verbs and memorizing vocabulary. Their formula has now been bringing students toward comprehension and fluency for more than a decade. Instructors immerse language learners in Spanish through techniques such as leading them in discussion groups or dunking them in a replica of the Alhambra fountain. They’ll also often swap classes to familiarize students with an array of accents and sounds, making full use of backgrounds that range from South America to Europe.
Open Media Foundation's staffers skillfully craft websites, edit videos, and capture studio broadcasts, but they don't work in a high-rise office building or inside a film-production studio. Instead, they use their tech savvy to help Denver community members to turn up the volume on their own stories. In addition to designing websites, producing videos, and providing other media services, the staff runs small-size classes to teach the fundamentals of video production, animation, and audio production to students hungry for the knowledge. The foundation also arms its protégés and members with high-tech hardware, such as video cameras, editing systems, and discreet teleprompters, to make professional-grade projects more accessible.:
An active Denver photographer since 1985, Bart Levy imparts hard-won wisdom to aspiring photographers in upbeat, three- or four-hour workshops. In these workshops, the seasoned shutterbug demystifies DSLR cameras, teaching pupils how to harness ISO speeds, manual settings, and flash settings to produce crisp, memorable images of lens caps. Students also learn how to compose visually striking snapshots and Levy will also demonstrate the differences in digital file formats, so acolytes can upload and share pictures without setting their web browsers on fire.