About the Artist - Penny Knobel-Besa

Art of Photography classes are held in Sanctuary Studios in a lovely woodland setting only 5 miles off I-68.  The studio is open for public visits by appointment; it’s the joint studio for Knobel-Besa and her husband - international artist Hilmar Gottesthal - whose work is in several museums in Europe.  Come Visit!

An Art of Photography workshop attendee works with a model.

A general shooting exercise during the Art of Photography workshop. See Prices page for details.

I’m a fine arts photographer, playwright (directed and produced Off-Broadway), and theatre director (founded Maryland Theatre Arts Company). In the past I was named Maryland Photographer of the Year, won awards, and enjoyed being published in various literary journals. My photos are usually un-cropped and shown as they were taken but now and then my creative urges move me to make computer art. Even with film I used blur and reflections to make paintings with my camera. I like it all, black & white, bold color, abstract, portraits and street photography. I drove alone 18,000 miles camping my way to Alaska, via interviewing and photographing women in laundromats for a book to be called “Dirty Laundry” but then started including other people - from trappers at the Arctic Circle to a New Orleans poet security guard.  The art of photography is my joy.

I really enjoy meeting strangers and hearing where they are in their lives. One repeating area of my work, whether in the studio or on the street, is shooting people. That’s shooting with a camera!  I once had an exhibition called “Drive By Shootings” where all the photos were taken from a moving vehicle. I’ve always been a candid photographer and a people-watcher. I believe that my theatre background as a director allows me create images as I did for stage & press photos.
Several Laundromat photographs were exhibited and published in the National Award winning literary journal, “Antietam Review “and I was the selected as the photographer for the 2012 issue of, “Backbone Mountain” and also published in “Ginseng” journal.  

I enjoy exhibiting my work: 2018 Washington Fine Arts Museum, Hagerstown, MD. and 2017 in New Orleans, LA.  In 2011 my three-week exhibition in Vienna, Austria, was opened by the American Embassy cultural attaché.  On my way there I traveled 7,000 miles before, during, and after the exhibition via rental car to capture “Random Moments,” this time with my husband, shooting in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Germany, Holland, Slovakia and Austria.  In 2012 I had an exhibition of these works at the Saville Gallery in Cumberland, MD and in 2013 spent five weeks in South Africa and Zimbabwe.  In 2014 I traveled for nine weeks exploring Greece, Italy, and Switzerland, ending with an exhibition at the Gilchrist Museum in Cumberland in September 2015.  

The art of photography is what I enjoy and share in my workshops at Sanctuary Studios, offering a One-Day "Art of Photography Workshop" that includes a fun “Scavenger Hunt” and ends with a 2-hour model shoot. Workshops are scheduled January, April and September and private sessions can be booked. Senior class photos are fun events and from time to time a wedding to celebrate love. For more information or to make a purchase please contact me.

Nothing But a Hound Dog - Currently on display at the Washington Fine Arts Museum.

1 Odalisque copy

Odalisque - winner of the 2017 jurors award at the Maryland Federation of the Arts, Annapolis

Athens Street Market - Smithsonian juror honorable mention

The Waiting - Displayed at the national show at the Saville Gallery in Cumberland, Maryland 2017