A lot of you know by now that I was filled with anxiety about taking the DAH workshop in Austin. I had never taken a photography workshop or class for that matter, and was filled with apprehension.
Would this change my vision?
What's a photo essay?
Would my photography measure up?
Why do a photo workshop in Austin? Why not someplace else where there are actually people?
Would I get along with the other people in the workshop?
How could I keep up with digital shooters while I was shooting film?
The title of the workshop was the "Photographic Essay." Sounds like an easy concept to understand; Simple! you tell a story with your photos, right? Well, not exactly.
David encouraged us to pick a topic that we could get started on during the workshop. Something we could attain; something we were passionate about. Truth is, the idea of a Photographic Essay had been something that I deal with all the time. Not in the traditional "Beginning, Middle, and End" sense, but in the telling a story through the photos with each photo having all the elements of the entire story. Best way I can describe it might be like holography. If you were to split a hologram in half, you'd have two equal representations of the original hologram. Split it again and you'd have another replica of the original. Point is, each photo should tell a part of the whole essay but should be the whole at the same time.
Photo Essay's are something that I've been excited about since I started shooting when I was 8. In fact, it was the reason I started to take pictures in the first place. However, the idea of beginning and ending a photo essay in five days sounded counter-intuitive to me. My approach to photo essays has been to evolve them organically through what I see in my photos only after the act of taking pictures; not to go after them with a preconceived notion. This workshop would be a 180 degree shift to my approach. Needless to say, my thought process started immediately upon hitting "register" for the workshop. What would my essay be about? I just knew something would hit me.
I shot the first day going after my essay, then went home to develop film, print and scanned my shots at the end of the day, to come in the second day of the workshop ready for review. I was convinced that I had finished my essay. I was done! I had shot everything there was to shoot around this topic. I wanted to move on. This is when I had my first "Aha" moment of the class! As David pointed out as he reviewed my shots in front of the rest of the workshop participants. "You've got some nice shots here." David selected four of the 20 shots I brought in for review. David again, "You're done with this essay? Man... you've got a serious case of ADD (Attention Deficit Dysfunction) my friend. You haven't even started yet!" (Chuckle from the other participants) It was at this moment that I realized I have so much more to go with my essay; so much more to explore, so much more to research and learn.
more on this later... I gotta get back to my day job now! Lunch break is now over!
Born and raised in New York City. Lived in Warsaw, Poland, and Portland, Oregon. Now living in Austin, TX, for the past year.