At the 23rd annual Eddie Adams Workshop, which took place over Columbus Day weekend, speakers frequently referenced the many ways
still photographers of the past are transitioning into visual journalists of the future. The rustic farm in Jeffersonville, New York, where the workshop takes place may have sparse cell phone service, but technologies like the iPad and DSLRs that shoot HD video were in use and discussed throughout the weekend.
In a first for the Barnstorm, the Saturday evening line up of speakers included a motion picture producer. Michael Hausman, the producer of films such as Amadeus, Brokeback Mountain, The Firm and Gangs of New York, showed two clips to illustrate how digital video capture is changing filmmaking. He first showed a clip from The Firm, a Hollywood movie shot with 35 mm Panavision cameras and lenses, which cost more than forty million dollars to make; his second clip was shot with the Red camera and a Canon 5D.
He noted, “When I started you couldn’t make a film without 250 of your closest union buddies. Today we made a film for $40,000 with the Red camera and the Canon 5D.”
Also on Saturday evening, Chris Hercik, Sports Illustrated Creative Director, and David Link, co-founder of the design firm The Wonder Factory, gave the audience a tour of photos, video and text on the SI’s iPad app, which they said offers subscribers 30 to 40 percent more content than the print magazine. On Sunday, MaryAnne Golon, former director of photography at Time, moderated a panel with Santiago Lyon of Associated Press, Michelle McNally of The New York Times and David Griffin of National Geographic on how mobile devices have changed our lives and reading habits in the past 12 months.
Referencing the headline of a recent Wired magazine article, “The Web is Dead, Long Live the Internet,” Lyon said there has been a shift away from people surfing the Internet to seeking story elements curated and delivered by editors and journalists. Griffin said that cooperation between news gatherers is critically important, explaining that photographers must move beyond a focus on the content itself to grasp a story’s bigger issues. “Be well read, understand customer and consumer needs and think about a wide diversity of content,” he advised the aspiring photojournalists in the audience. The speakers agreed that an evolution of the medium requires more cooperation between an organization’s editorial and business sides.
During the image makers’ presentations, Ami Vitale, a 1993 workshop alum, showed work in two media. She presented highlights of her still photography career and her recent experimental filmmaking efforts (shot for workshop sponsor Nikon) about Indian culture.
As at every Barnstorm, when not attending lectures, midnight portfolio reviews and a Sunday afternoon memorial to Adams, workshop veterans Jay and Sandy Colton, Al Paglione and to colleagues who died covering war, the young Workshop attendees spent most of the weekend rushing to fulfill assignments. The stories –ranging from subject driven topics such as Teens in Sullivan County to loose concepts like Taking Chances and the Fall of Life—are assigned to ten color coded teams. Advising the students are 150 professional photo editors, producers and image makers, who volunteer to work as team leaders, editors and digital techs.
Each team was also assigned a multimedia producer, to assist with the audio, video and stills to produce one multimedia story per team.
Individual assignments are developed “to get students out of their comfort zone,” said Josh Ritchie, producer for the orange team. A 2001 workshop alumni, Ritchie began researching stories for his team in July, brainstorming with team editor Maura Foley of The New York Times. While assignments are not disclosed to students until they arrive at the farm, shortly after the teams were announced in August, Ritchie created an Orange team blog, allowing students and instructors to correspond about everything from equipment queries to image sharing to logistics. Ritchie also e-mailed individual students, “asking what [they] wanted to get out of the workshop, and what their strengths and weaknesses were photographically. I used that information to try and find subjects that worked and to pair the students up with their assignments,” he says.
Ritchie assigned a wholesome story on the 53-year marriage of high school sweethearts to a photographer known for expressionistic black and white reportage. A photographer with a passion for dance was assigned a story on an Elvis impersonator. Other assignments included stories on a grumpy old man, 91 year-old twins and a hair stylist who also works as a prison guard.
When the final presentations were screened before the assembled audience on Monday night, several awards were also given out:
Lung Liu of Vancouver, Canada received the grand prize of Nikon gear worth approximately $10,000.
Brad Vest, an Ohio University masters student, received a $1,500 cash award from National Geographic.
Fred Dupoux of Miami, Florida received the Sandy and Jay Colton Award for the student who best embodies the spirit of the workshop, including a $1,000 cash prize and a spot on the 2011 black team.
Aaron Ontiveroz of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Chris Griffin of San Antonio, Texas each received a $500 cash award from Life magazine.
Numerous awards in the form of photo assignments were given by AARP, the Associated Press, the Denver Post, Getty Images, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, Parade, People, Sports Illustrated, TV Guide and the Wall Street Journal.
Additional awards of photo gear or services were offered by Adobe, Agency Access, B& H Photo, Mac Group, Manfrotto and Photoshelter.
On October 27, the Eddie Adams Workshop will be honored with the Visionary Award from the Lucie Foundation during their 8th annual awards ceremony at New York’s Alice Tully Hall.
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