Monday, 11 August 2014

POV: In Praise of The Foundry Photojournalism Workshop (Again)

Photo © Adriana Zehbrauskas
As this blog's followers and readers know, I attended the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in La Antigua Guatemala just over two weeks ago. It was my sixth workshop as a faculty member; having missed Sarajevo out of the workshops held in Mexico City, Manali, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Chiang Mai and now La Antigua,

Once again, while it is the students and instructors who are in the limelight during the workshop, it's the unsung heroes of the Foundry's staff,  its administrators and the local volunteers who consistently make them such wonderful successes. This particular workshop in La Antigua was particularly challenging in view of its venue (the conference rooms at the Casa Santo Domingo) being so dreadfully expensive to rent.

As always, Eric Beecroft, as the visionary force behind the Foundry Workshops, deserves singular praise. He had the  idea of creating such a workshop some 7 or 8 years ago, and made it a reality despite enormous obstacles. Eric, the staff and local volunteers worked around the clock, and deserve enormous credit for the success of yet again another wonderful Foundry.

I've often suggested to my class participants that attending a Foundry workshop is not only about enhancing their craft with advice of some of the best (and certainly selfless) photographers/photojournalists in the business, or about the class they've chosen or even about their own stories and image-making, but it's also about rubbing shoulders with other participants, whether these are peers, or just starting their photography careers, or veterans, and with all sorts of other styles of's about augmenting their exposure to different worlds, about exposing themselves to divergent thought processes, to varying points of view, and in doing so...grow as human beings (and yes, as photographers too).

In my previous POV post, I refer to my personal photographic evolution...and there's little doubt in my mind that my involvement in the Foundry since 2008, meeting and viewing the work of my fellow instructors, as well as that of the students, has inspired a shift in my travel photography trajectory...and caused an evolutionary progress in my way of seeing...from the narrow focus on stock travel photography to a more documentary type of travel photography.

I'm quite certain of this, and I'm equally certain that many students, and possibly other instructors, have had their their own photographic evolution influenced by the osmotic phenomenon of the Foundry Photojournalism Workshops.

So when the next Foundry Photojournalism Workshop is announced (either Indonesia or East Africa...maybe), grab the opportunity and register.