The workshop kicked off on Tuesday night with a get together with the other workshop participants; David, some Austin Center for Photography board members, people from the Austin area that knew David from other workshops, and Eli Reed. Eli is a UT professor and Magnum Agency photographer with David.
There were a total of 13 participants in the workshop and several people to help the out-of-towners find their way around Austin. People came from San Diego, Israel, London, and other places too. Two of us were film shooters and were going to shoot film throughout the workshop. Turns out the two of us, Michael and I, had a lot in common. We both shot with Leica's, black and white film, and have a penchant for street photography. Michael was going to develop and scan his negatives in his hotel room and I developed my films, printed and scanned my prints for the workshop in my darkroom. The rest of the participants were shooting digital cameras to which I thought was would have been an advantage for them... more on this later! Here's a link to Michael's photography: http://photomh.weebly.com/.
After mingling for an hour or so, talking with a few of the workshop members, David pulled us all together. We each had a chance to say something about what we were looking to get out of the workshop, where we were with our photography, what we like to shoot, etc. David let us know what to expect from the workshop.
Some of the participants wanted to pursue photography and make money at it. Some said they were doing weddings on the weekends and that sustained them to pursue their own work the rest of the time. I was slightly skeptical of this since I've always thought there wasn't really any money in photography, and the situation had gotten worse with all the on-line photo websites.
It was my turn to give my schpiel. I told the others that I wanted to find my eye in Austin. That I have a difficult time finding anything to shoot. The architecture is boring, there are no people on the streets, and it's Texas! Home of the right-wing nut-jobs!!! I explained that I travel in order to shoot what I want. I was hopeful that I might find my eye in this city. I could have done this workshop in NYC and been better off from a photographic sense. David asked what I did for a living, and after explaining this, David said that he would be most interested in seeing my portfolio. He thought they would be "formal" and "scientific." I told him that he would be surprised since I don't think my shots are that way at all. I was excited to prove him wrong in this way. And I think I did surprise him the next day at the first portfolio review.
What I found most amazing about David, and still do, is his commitment to each and every person in that room. You don't just take a DAH workshop and walk away. I suppose you could, but David insisted that once you take his workshop you are his student for life. We could count on him to review our portfolios and give us edit advice. If you are willing to keep at it, he's willing to find you a publisher if that is the way you wish to go. David was serious about this.
I gotta get some sleep... more later!