It’s a BIG ONE! Ten years of Foundry Photojournalism Workshops!

Mexico City, July 21 – Eric Beecroft (L) meets with PhotoWings founder Suzy Katz (C) and her crew, as well as Foundry overall coordinator, Cheryl Nemazie (R), to plan for activities at the Universidad de la Comunicación.
Mexico City, July 23 – As instructors, staff and students arrive in Mexico City, the reality is setting in that it’s been almost a decade since Foundry held its first workshop, also here in Mexico City.

Since then the workshop, true to the vision of its founder, Eric Beecroft, has moved around the world to help educate emerging photojournalists who can’t easily get formal training opportunities in visual storytelling. India, Argentina, Turkey, Thailand, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guatemala, Indonesia and South Africa have all been locations for Foundry training. Now we are back in Mexico City, where it all started.

The rich culture of this city of nine million people promises to generate great stories that need telling. With nearly 100 students enrolled, and at least thirteen instructors arriving, this year’s workshop promises to be one of the best.

But once again, before the workshop begins at Universidad de la Comunicación, many hours of work will have been done. Staff and others supporting the workshop (including the awesome crew from PhotoWings, led by the inimitable Suzy Katz) have already been here for days – planning, coorginating, collecting, and doing all the things necessary to make things run smoothly. And student have also been making their presence known, as many are here already researching their projects, arranging fixers, and otherwise preparing for the serious work this week on their photo projects.

Today the fun begins. Watch this space and we’ll keep reporting on the workshop as it proceeds!

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Final Student Work Is Presented; Shaun Swingler Wins Golden Scarf Award

Cape Town, July 16 – The main projection space at Orms Cape Town School of Photography was packed.  Everyone was waiting in rapt anticipation for the projection of student work to begin.  Then Tiffany Clark, technical coordinator, pushed the button and…there the stories were!

The story subjects included street sleepers, a childrens’ circus, seals under water (the student was with them), a troop of refugee actors from Congo, a Malawi couple making a new life in South Africa, an anti-apartheid hero who lost his legs in the struggle, a Zimbabwean artist in South Africa, and a group of Utopians living on an abandoned military base, just to name a few.

Then, the great moment of the workshop arrived – the award of the Golden Scarf.  The scarf is indeed gold in color and is signed by all the instructors and staff.  The winners have not necessarily been the best photographers in their workshop, though they have always been outstanding photographers.  Rather, they have been the student who most embodies the spirit of Foundry – cooperation, collaboration, sensitivity and excellence in photographic and journalistic skills.

This year the Golden Scarf went to Shaun Swingler of  South Africa.  Congratulations to Shaun!

Instructors’ awards went to Ray Ochieng Olewi of Kenya, Lindeka Qampi of South Africa, R.D. Hunting of the US, Gerardo Aguilar Herreros of Mexico, Juan Pablo Ampudia of Mexico, and Michelle Rosner of Canada for their work and support of the teaching exercise.

After the image-packed evening many students and faculty went to a nearby brew pub/wine bar to celebrate the completion of the work and to say goodbye to their colleagues…until next year’s Foundry – tentatively to be held in Mexico City.

Shaun Swingler of South Africa, left, who received the Golden Scarf award from instructor Jared Moossy, right. Swingler is wearing the fabled Golden Scarf. Photo by Neal Jackson.
Shaun Swingler of South Africa, left, who received the Golden Scarf award from instructor Jared Moossy, right. Swingler is wearing the fabled Golden Scarf. Photo by Neal Jackson.

 

Close to the Finish Line – Final Project Critiques by Instructors

Cape Town, July 15, 2016 – The work intensity increases as the students work with subjects to get their final images, and then meet with instructors – and, in at least one case, their subject as well – to get final critiques of their stories.

The day opened with heavy rain, which continued until the afternoon, when the famous Cape sunshine returned, showing a rainbow across Table Mountain National Park.  Meanwhile students were huddling with their instructors in the staff hotel to get critiques and suggestions on their stories.

In one case, the subject also came to the editing session.  Yamkela Nqweniso, 16, a star South African girls youth soccer player, whose story Foundry student Tracey Pennoyer has been photographing, asked to see the images and the editing process.  Her interaction with Tracy and with instructors Peter DiCampo and Edward Echwalu showed humor and delight in the images she saw.  Look at it below.

Final editing session with subject, youth soccer star Yamkela Nqweniso, 16. L-r, instructors Peter DiCampo and Edward Echwalu, student Tracy Pennoyer, and Nqweniso.
Final editing session, this time with the subject of the story, youth soccer star Yamkela Nqweniso, 16. L-r, instructors Peter DiCampo and Edward Echwalu, student Tracy Pennoyer of the US, and Nqweniso.

Other sessions, spread out in groupings with other instructors throughout the hotel lobby, continued throughout the day with equal intensity.

Instructors James Whitlow Delano and Charles Shoemaker meet with Fungai Tichawangana, of Zimbabwe to discuss the final stages of his project. Waiting for his turn at left is Ralph Hunting, of the US
Instructors James Whitlow Delano and Charlie Shoemaker meet with Fungai Tichawangana, of Zimbabwe to discuss the final stages of his project. Waiting for his turn at left is Ralph Hunting, of the US

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Photojournalism is a Business – Remember That!

Cape Town, July 14, 2016 – Today students got a large dose of something other than photography and story telling.  Your blogger taught a two-hour course in the Business and Legal Issues of Photojournalism.

The course started with the useful reminder that, to continue in photojournalism, one must earn enough to live.  Thus one has to think of their work not only as journalism, but also as a business.  To survive, the photojournalist must earn a fair income for their work and protect its inherent value.

The course then moved on to the concept of copyright – what is it, when is it created, who owns it and how is it protected.  Instructor and South African photographer Jodi Bieber, who sat in on the class, pointed out that the default ownership in South Africa for freelancers gives the copyright to the commissioning entity, unlike the US where the copyright generally belongs to the freelancer unless it is signed away.

The class then received and read a series of forms of actual form contracts between photographers and acquiring entities, with each contract being assigned to a student for analysis, after which they explained elements of the contract to the class.

The class ended with a focused discussion on negotiating, pricing and billing strategies,  including ways to find out market prices through specialized software and Web resources.

Neal Jackson, reviewing forms of contracts with students in special class on Business and Legal Issues of Photojournalism.
Neal Jackson, reviewing forms of contracts with students in special class on Business and Legal Issues of Photojournalism.

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The People Who Make it Happen – Our Staff

Cape Town, July 13, 2016 – Foundry would never happen but for the hard work of our staff.  That staff is spread across the US, and their work is proof positive of the benefits of the Internet.  Here’s a little bit about each of those working in Cape Town:

Jen Storey – Jen is an educational administrator in Utah.  She was enlisted by founder Eric Beecroft early in the life of Foundry and has been a key player throughout its evolution.  She helps plan the location, structure and operations of the workshop.

Bev Pecoraro – Bev is another educator from Utah.  She shares with Jen the top administrative responsibilities of the workshop.  In fact the internal email address for her and Jen is….JenandBev!  You don’t get just one – you get two solid operatives!

Hannah West – Hannah, another educational administrator from Utah, is the person who deals with the wide range of workshop nitty gritty, such as relations with the instructor/staff hotel and airport pick-ups.  But there is often more – this year she stepped in to help with the electrical plug converter issues (South Africa has a unique plug configuration).  In short, she prevents a lot of headaches that instructors otherwise would have to deal with.

Kirsten Luce – NY Times freelance photographer Kirsten Luce is in charge of the educational curriculum, and at times an instructor herself.  She keeps the educational component of the workshop flowing smoothly and helps the instructors with issues when needed.  A level-headed, smooth operator, Kirsten assures that the extraordinary information available from the sterling faculty gets delivered with maximum efficiency.

Tiffany Clark – Tiff is the technical coordinator for Foundry.  A freelance photographer and educator  at International Center of Photography in New York, she makes sure all the projection, sound and other technical facilities are working smoothly.  Tiff also provides digital editing training and runs an Instamatic feed of images from the workshop.

Of course, Foundry would not exist but for the foresight and continued efforts of founder Eric Beecroft, and the assistance of his wife Sharon, who administers the financial back office.  They stay quietly in the background, guiding Foundry each year to achieve its mission – educating emerging photojournalists in developing ares of the world.

And need I note that all of these staff personnel – like all the instructors – are volunteers.  None are compensated; they are only reimbursed for their expenses.

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Foundry's staff personnel - l-r, Beverly Pecoraro, Jen Storey, Kirsten Luce and Hannah West. Missing: Tiffany Clark, who was making the sound work for the next instructors' presentation. Photo by Neal Jackson
Foundry’s staff personnel – l-r, Beverly Pecoraro, Jen Storey, Kirsten Luce and Hannah West. Missing: Tiffany Clark, who was making the sound work for the next instructors’ presentation. Photo by Neal Jackson

Feedback: A Night of Portfolio Reviews

Cape Town, July 12, 2016 –  How good is your portfolio?  Well tonight students got three different opinions, from three different instructors.  And nobody left in tears.

The Orms Capetown School of Photography was teeming with students, waiting to meet the instructor who would review their portfolio.  There was tension, but also support, as instructors carefully passed out hints and recommendations about the student’s pre-workshop images.  On listening to the instuctors, there were many supporting comments from instructors, and plenty of smiles from students.

The portfolios were varied, as one would expect from students coming from every continent in the world (except Anarctica).  Each portfolio challenged the instructor to address its uniqueness and to guide the student in a direction consistent with their photographic inclinations.

At the end of the evening, students trudged out with their heads buzzing, loaded with ideas.  The tired instructors downed a few  snacks and headed out for a drink or to bed.  Tomorrow the instructors will meet with students for their first review of project images.

Instructor Edward Echwalu reviewing the portfolio of South African student Lindeka Qampi.  Photo by Neal Jackson
Instructor Edward Echwalu reviewing the portfolio of South African student Lindeka Qampi. Photo by Neal Jackson

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Need More Photo Work? Claire Rosen Can Help You Get It

Cape Town, Tuesday, July 12, 2016 – Claire Rosen once again drew a room full of students for her special lecture on marketing your photography.

Drawing of a range of concepts, even the much hated word “branding,” she walked students through the concepts behind reaching the market you want and need.  Then she gave detailed descriptions and methodology for reaching the market, ranging from face-to-face networking through unique communications methods (such as gift boxes with interesting photo-related contents inside) to online elements and social media.

At the end of the class she then shared with the student various materials that she uses to increase her work levels.

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Instructor Claire Rosen provides samples of marketing materials which she uses to reach clients.  Photo by Neal Jackson
Instructor Claire Rosen provides samples of marketing materials which she uses to reach clients. Photo by Neal Jackson

 

Students and Instructors begin Their Collaborations

Instuctors Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson review examples of storytelling with students Laylah Barrayn (US), Carina Lau (Australia) and Lindeka Qaumpi (South Africa). Photo by Neal Jackson
Instuctors Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson review examples of storytelling with students Laylah Barrayn (US), Carina Lau (Australia) and Lindeka Qaumpi (South Africa). Photo by Neal Jackson

Cape Town, Monday, July 11, 2016 – Today the work began.  Knots of students gathered in classrooms all over the Orms Cape Town School of Photography (which generously donated the excellent venue) watching examples of visual essays. and absorbing instructors’ tips and ideas on effective storytelling.

Some students were already in the field, working on their stories, or contacting subjects, fixers or others essential to developing their stories.

The evening brings presentations of personal work by instructors Kael Alford and Andrea Bruce, along with a special presentation by instructor Claire Rosen on “Brainstorming and the Creative Process.”   This was followed by a free-form discussion by Claire, Andrea and Kael. 

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The Day Before the Workshops Begin – A Maelstrom of Activity

Instructor Jared Moossy, his wife Billy Baca, and Instructor Claire Rosen catch up. Photo by Neal Jackson
Instructor Jared Moossy, his wife Billy Baca, and Instructor Claire Rosen catch up. Photo by Neal Jackson

Cape Town, Sunday, July 10, 2016 – The highly choreographed ballet known as Foundry Photojournalism Workshop has begun.

Instructors, support staff and sponsor personnel are arriving, rosters being checked, instructions given out and clarified, facilities confirmed, and an occasional beer (or this year a glass of one of the phenomenal South African wines) shared among people who may not have worked together since the last political or human rights crisis (or a prior Foundry workshop).  Then there are those instructors who came early to work on personal projects in and outside Cape Town who will arrive at the last minute.

And then there are the students.  This year students come from South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Iran, India, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada and the USA (we probably missed one or two).  Tonight they will gather for registration and introductions to their instructors.  Tomorrow the hard work begins, with students working with their instructors to select a project and then embarqing into the community to photograph it.

We will try to write a post about what’s happening here at least every day, adding photos when we can.  So check in and follow the goings-on at one of the most friendly and effective workshops in photojournalism.

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A Student’s Post-Mortem on Foundry’s Bali Workshop

July 19, 2015. Nearly a hundred photojournalists register for the 2015 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop at Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. © Neal Jackson
July 19, 2015. Nearly a hundred photojournalists register for the 2015 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop at Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. © Neal Jackson

Washington, DC, August 31, 2015.  Now that the 2015 workshop is over, many participants are suffering withdrawal pains.  The intense work, the easy access to instructors and teaching assistants, and the closeness of other committed photographer participants are gone, and the realities of real life have returned.  Back home in Singapore, Kuala Lampur, Mumbai,  Melbourne or New York, it’s time to reflect and put the Foundry experience in perspective.

One student, Neelima Vallangi of India, gave it all a good thought and on August 9 posted a review of the workshop on her blog,  Her stated viewpoint was as an Indian photographer, but I can assure you that nearly every participant would tell the same story.  Here are her reactions, in her own words:
3 weeks ago, I, along with almost hundred other photographers from all over the world were packed in a room somewhere in Ubud, spellbound by immensely powerful and beautiful visual stories by some of the world’s top photojournalists. I was at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2015 happening in Bali, Indonesia.
So what is this Foundry Photojournalism Workshop?
Few months ago, randomly scrolling through my twitter feed I stumbled upon a link to the Foundry Workshops. At the outset, the workshop is all about mentoring emerging photographers from developing nations so we can tell our own stories better. And the best part is that they get world’s top photographers, actually working in the field to mentor you as instructors for a whole week at insanely affordable cost($450). The instructors and the whole Foundry team volunteers their time to make this happen and the fees collected from attending students are just to cover the ground expenses of conducting the workshop. I took one look at the list of instructors for 2015 and I knew I had to sign up for this.
Represented by world’s top agencies such as Getty, Panos, VII and covering stories for reputed publications such as National Geographic, New York Times, TIME, etc, the list of photographers teaching at the workshop seemed too good to be true.(Anyone from developing nations who has considered or attended workshops with top international photographers knows how steep the workshop prices can be!) At that time, I had no idea how intense or inspiring that week would be.
This is how it works.
After registering at their site, few weeks before the workshop commences you get to choose your instructor(s) whose class you want to attend. You arrive at the location (changes every year) hopefully with a story idea already chalked out. Then you work on it during the whole week under the guidance of your instructor. There will be daily sessions where your work is edited, discussed, story is fine-tuned and you take the feedback and work on it the next day. At the end of the 5-day workshop, your work is edited down to a 10-image story and shown on the final night along with all other students’ work.
Along with all the shooting that you’ll do, the week is also packed with sessions – daily classes with instructors, additional classes on marketing, copyright laws, privacy, image processing etc and evening sessions where the instructors themselves showcase and talk about their work.
Despite being a travel photographer, why did I choose to attend a photojournalism workshop?
Months after registering, I was flying into Bali with much anticipation and equally anxious about le
arning the craft of visual storytelling from the best. I had chosen to attend Adriana Zehbrauskas and Paula Bronstein’s class. I was somehow very curious to know how women photojournalists worked in tough conditions. And my main motive of attending the workshop was to infuse some much needed story telling and if possible, few documentary style elements into my otherwise “just pretty” photography.

I knew I was sitting on a gold mine of important stories and had access to some insanely wonderful places and communities (a fact reinforced by discussions with few of the instructors). Going forward I wanted to be able to tell the stories of these wonderful places and communities in an insightful way and not just document them for the sake of posterity. For instance, imagine how awesome it would be if I could sensibly portray the tough life of Bakarwals, the nomadic shepherd community of Kashmir or document the mind-boggling water shortage faced in the world’s wettest place!

So what did I learn?
That photography is just like writing, actually it’s very stupid of me to not realize storytelling is the same no matter what the medium is. But this exact point was driven home like crazy during the one week, how to infuse your story into a compact set of images.
Beyond that, it was the complete approach that happened to be a great learning experience. Thinking of a story, finding your subjects then trying to form a narrative. And it felt so rewarding to go back to a place and shoot everyday on the same subject – trying to get more familiar with the story, predict what would happen and shoot images representing a specific idea.
Discussing daily with the instructors, I also learned how to interpret a story and individual images when I see one. Editing was an important part of the process; we had two instructors and two assistants. And everyone had their own way of seeing and editing a given set of images. I realized maintaining that individuality was pertinent to arrive at your own style.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible to have such a positive experience without the very patient and helpful instructors and the incredibly warm people of Bali who made me feel very welcome. I spent many hours every day in someone’s home watching and photographing them go about their work. We couldn’t communicate much because often I would be alone without my guide and my hosts would speak little or no english. But the lack of much talk notwithstanding, they always took great care of me and it felt amazing to be a part of their lives for that one week.
When I travel, this is what I look for and in many ways, I realized, working on a story leads to that exact outcome I’m after – immersive experiences that show me a glimpse of the local life and their culture. I specifically chose to document a Balian(traditional healers) who specializes in black magic. He commands unwavering faith and people take everything from him – beating, hair pulling and even spitting. It turned out to be a big challenge to first, find an authentic Balian and second, photographing the entire ritual stuck in a small box shaped room.
In the end, I’m quite happy with the story (not the result) I chose to work upon. Because any person you would speak to in Bali will have a story about visiting a Balian and this is a very integral part of Balinese culture. I will share the images from this project very soon. I found a direction and focus that I felt I was missing earlier. Hopefully, my stories henceforth will be more insightful and well thought out. *Fingers crossed*
Here are my tips to get the most out of this workshop!
  • Have a story idea ready by the time you arrive at the first class and if possible do the recce too. You will get the most out of the workshop if you get daily feedback on your shoots and image edits. Unfortunately for me, I had just one round of edit and feedback as I took long time to find my subject. Taking the feedback and heading back to shoot the next day is immensely helpful and so is the daily edit process. On an average, you’ll have classes on four out of the five workshop days before the final edit and presentation happens on the last day.
  • If there’s a particular idea or vision that you want to work on, fight for it and get guidance on how to make it work. Just doing something for the sake of doing something drastically different from your usual work won’t be helpful. Work on something that challenges you yet aligns with your end goal.
  • Do attend all the evening sessions to get massively inspired as the instructors and the assistants present and talk about their work. It’s also a great opportunity to strike a conversation with the instructors and network with fellow students who have come from all over the world. The community and the connections you make, I realized, become a very important and rewarding outcome of the whole workshop experience.
  • With a changing location every year, there are bound to be some challenges and unexpected issues. Be prepared for some minor setbacks and talk it out with your class assistants and instructors when you face any issue or feel like you are not getting enough time with the instructors.
Finally, here’s why I think Foundry is absolutely bang for buck, especially for Indian Photographers!
Storytelling and especially visual storytelling is a difficult craft that needs a lot of honing and mentoring. Above all, it needs a lot inspiration. During the 5 years that I have taken up photography, never have I been inspired so much to tell a story, any story. It was always about getting one good shot, just an independent shot that fit nowhere in the arc of storytelling. Without a purpose, I was as lost as a fish out of water. I always just thought of making pretty pictures, now I see that even a landscape can have a story to tell.
In the beginning when I had just bought my camera, I was eager to meet the photography community and go on one of those several photowalks where several DSLR-wielding people flocked a market or a slum or a busy street over the weekends. Try as I may, I could never get excited enough about the prospect of shooting in a market. They all came back with beautiful pictures but none of those images stuck with me. I forgot them as I saw. They made no sense. And when I saw a photostory, it all went above my head. Learning to see is just as difficult as telling I suppose. I related more to the traveller tribe(who always had the most outrageous stories to share) and never integrated into the photography community.
Now, it surprises me that there are so many wonderful amateur Indian photographers out there creating beautiful and strong individual imagery but so few of them actually work on a full story. I cannot even imagine the amazing work that will be produced with some guidance. I’ve noticed that many of the top visual storytellers of our country at the moment have studied in international photography schools where they possibly learnt how to tell and decode a story. Here in India, there seems to be no easy access to learn the craft and the difficult onus is completely on us if we want to find guidance, learn and understand the complex art of visual storytelling. We hardly have prominent photo festivals or a way to interact with the professional photographer community working on real stories across the country. Wish this would change in the coming years but until then, we at least have Foundry for that much-needed inspiration and learning!
P.S – Just in case you’re wondering, the entire trip and workshop was self-funded 🙂

Burmese Photojournalist Yu Yu Myint Than Wins the Golden Scarf Award!

Bali, Indonesia, July 25, 2015.  Burmese photojournalist Yu Yu Myint Than has won the 2015 Foundry Golden Scarf award! 

This award, the most coveted of the workshop, is awarded to the student who most exemplifies the spirit of Founndry.  The selection of the recipient is determined by all the instructors and awarded after the final evening program.  The prize is a gold-colored scarf signed by all the instructors and staff.  Myint Than is believed to be the only native, woman photojournalist working in Burma.

Instructor Andrea Bruce giving the Golden Scarf award to Yu Yu Myint Than, believed to be the only native woman photojournalist in Burma.  The Golden Scarf award is given annually to the student whose work, attitude and diligence most exemplifies the Foundry spirit. © Neal Jackson
Instructor Andrea Bruce giving the Golden Scarf award to Yu Yu Myint Than, believed to be the only native woman photojournalist in Burma. The Golden Scarf award is given annually to the student whose work, attitude and diligence most exemplifies the Foundry spirit. © Neal Jackson

 

 

Foundry Life Is a Blur of Activity!

Bali, Indonesia, July 24, 2015. The middle of the Foundry week is a blur to all – students, instructors and staff. So much activity, so much interaction and so much work yet to do.  Students are shooting day and night and instructors are responding to student inquiries, offering guidance where needed.  Students got quality time with their instructors, and some instructors solicited group input into the review of developing student projects.

In addition, your blogger delivered his class on the Business of Photojournalism, which was well attended and incited excellent questions and lively debates on important business and legal issues.

The students used the time waiting to meet with their instructors to talk among themselves, sharing experiences and creating bonds that will further expand the Foundry community.

So, here are a few images from the last few days…

Instructor Maggie Steber meets with student Aji Styawan from Indonesia to guide him through the development of his project. © Neal Jackson
Instructor Maggie Steber meets with student Aji Styawan from Indonesia to guide him through the development of his project. © Neal Jackson
Instructor Andrea Bruce shares her review of student project with class. © Neal Jackson
Instructor Andrea Bruce shares her review of student project with class. © Neal Jackson

 

Students share food and coffee at cantine set up for Foundry at Penangi School. © Neal Jackson
Students share food and coffee at cantine set up for Foundry at Penangi School. © Neal Jackson
Staff working with Instructor Paula Bronstein to begin setting up final presentation format.  L-R Hannah West, Peter Andersson, Taylor Savvy, videotechnician with Foundry sponsor PhotoWings, Paula Bronstein and Tiffany Clark.
Staff working with Instructor Paula Bronstein to begin setting up final presentation format. L-R Hannah West, Peter Andersson, Taylor Savvy, videotechnician with Foundry sponsor PhotoWings, Paula Bronstein and Tiffany Clark.

There’s a Reason They Call it a Workshop…There’s a Lot of Work Happening!

Ubud, Indonesia – July 22, 2015.  Foundry students are beginning to feel the pressure, so they are working harder than ever on their projects…calling subjects, fixers and others who can help them, missing meals while traveling to remote island spots to expand their coverage and waiting in rural locations for expected events to happen.  Alas, it’s the plight of a diligent journalist.

But most students found time for the evening instructor presentations at Betelnut Cafe.  There, Thorne Anderson provided working tips to students, using his work to demonstrate the tips.  Then Tewfic El-Sawy showed prior work from his career, as did James Delano Whitlow who showed multimedia pieces on human trafficking and environmental damage by human activity.

Claire Rosen delivered a special program on creativity and how to develop one’s own creative skills, after which she interviewed Maggie Steber about her own personal creative process.  Then Maggie showed her work “Secret Garden,” a dark look into one’s own emotions as a basis for developing work projects.

Foundry Instructor Thorne Anderson delivers tips to students, using personal work to illustrate their application.  Here he shows an image from work in the 1990s in Macedonia, where, he says, his cooperation with other photojournalists may have saved his life. ©Neal Jackson
Foundry Instructor Thorne Anderson delivers tips to students, using personal work to illustrate their application. Here he shows an image from work in the 1990s in Macedonia, where, he says, his cooperation with other photojournalists may have saved his life. ©Neal Jackson
Foundry Instructor Tewfic El-Sawy shows his work on Balinese ceremonies. ©Neal Jackson
Foundry Instructor Tewfik El-Sawy shows his work on Balinese ceremonies. ©Neal Jackson
Foundry Instructor Claire Rosen lectures on managing one's creative side, including managing one's emotions, building self-confidence and solving creative block.  © Neal Jackson
Foundry Instructor Claire Rosen lectures on managing one’s creative side, including managing one’s emotions, building self-confidence and solving creative block. © Neal Jackson
Claire Rosen interviews Foundry Instructor Maggie Steber about her own creative process, and how she manages it. © Neal Jackson
Claire Rosen interviews Foundry Instructor Maggie Steber about her own creative process, and how she manages it. © Neal Jackson

Day Two – Students Beginning Their Projects and…Ooops!

Bali, Indonesia, July 21, 2015. Day Two of Foundry finds students moving forward with their projects and sometimes finding, well, that the selected project won’t work!

But here is where the instructors step in. Many students discover that a slight modification results in a workable project that is often more interesting than their original.  Thus the Foundry learning process proceeds.

The day saw students reviewing work among themselves, as well as a special class by Claire Rosen on marketing oneself.  The day ended with reviews of all student portfolios by different instructors than their own.

Workshop participants Agung Parameswara of Indonesia, and Khairil Safwan and Joshua Paul Gilbert of Malaysia review work the old-fashioned way.  ©Neal Jackson
Workshop participants Agung Parameswara of Indonesia, and Khairil Safwan and Joshua Paul Gilbert of Malaysia review work the old-fashioned way. ©Neal Jackson

 

Claire Rosen lectures on marketing your skills, drawing a packed classroom of eager students. © Neal Jackson
Claire Rosen lectures on marketing your skills, drawing a packed classroom of eager students. © Neal Jackson

 

 

Instructor Tewfic El-Sawy reviewing student work  at Betelnut Cafe. © Neal Jackson
Instructor Tewfic El-Sawy reviewing student work at Betelnut Cafe. © Neal Jackson
Paula Bronstein reviews the portfolio of student Mette Lampcov. © Neal Jackson
Paula Bronstein reviews the portfolio of student Mette Lampcov. © Neal Jackson

Monday: First Day of Foundry 2015 Classes — A Tornado of Action and Fun

Bali, Indonesia, July 20, 2015. An explosion of activity…that’s the only way to describe the first full day of Foundry 2015!

Classes gathered at the Pelangi School, and instructors began their interactions with students. Each instructor had their own approach…some immediately began discussing student projects, some projected and discussed student portfolios, others discussed their own work and career, with many combining some elements of all of these. Instructor Ron Haviv introduced and explained the organizational tool “Mind Mapping” for designing photo projects.

Foundry Instructor John Stanmeyer discusses with class his World Press Photo first-place award-winning photo of Somali immigrants in Djibouti.  Thry are trying to connect with Somali cell phone signals to reach their families back home. ©Neal Jackson
Foundry Instructor John Stanmeyer discusses with class his World Press Photo first-place award-winning photo of Somali immigrants in Djibouti. Thry are trying to connect with Somali cell phone signals to reach their families back home. ©Neal Jackson
Ron Haviv introducing Mind Mapping exercise to help students plan issues around their projects. ©Neal Jackson
Ron Haviv introducing Mind Mapping exercise to help students plan issues around their projects. ©Neal Jackson

Between classes, students and instructors gathered in an open building on the school grounds where a local restaurant had set up, selling food but also moving gallons of tea and coffee!  A bit of fun was also had as the excitement of being together lowered hesitations and friendships began to evolve.

Workshop Coordinator jumps into pile of beanbag chairs, about to be placed around the Pelangi school campus for students to sit and think brilliant thoughts. ©Neal Jackson
Workshop Coordinator jumps into pile of beanbag chairs, about to be placed around the Pelangi school campus for students to sit and think brilliant thoughts. ©Neal Jackson

Evening arrived and the group reassembled in downtown Ubud at the Betelnut Café to see projections of work by instructors Adriana Zehbrauskas, Henrik Kastensnov, Andrea Bruce and Ron Haviv, followed by a stimulating panel discussion on the ethics of photojournalism led by Workshop Coordinator Kirsten Luce.

Kirsten Luce leading evening panel of Ron Haviv, Andrea Bruce, Adriana Zehbrauskas and Henrick Kastenskov discussing ethical issues in photography. ©Neal Jackson
Kirsten Luce leading evening panel of Ron Haviv, Andrea Bruce, Adriana Zehbrauskas and Henrick Kastenskov discussing ethical issues in photography. ©Neal Jackson
Students, staff and instructors watching screening of instructor work at Betelnut Cafe in Ubud.  ©Neal Jackson
Students, staff and instructors watching screening of instructor work at Betelnut Cafe in Ubud. ©Neal Jackson

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2015 Foundry Workshop Kicks off In Bali, Indonesia

Kael Alford delivering the keynote address to the 2015 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Bali, Indonesia on July 19, 2015.  She urged students not to fear taking risks with their work as a means of growing, as what appear to be failures often when adjusted just a bit can lead to major successes.
Kael Alford delivering the keynote address to the 2015 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Bali, Indonesia on July 19, 2015. She urged students not to fear taking risks with their work as a means of growing, as what appear to be failures often when adjusted just a bit can lead to major successes.

Bali, Indonesia, July 19, 2015. Nearly 100 emerging photographers, the majority from South and Southeast Asia, gathered today in the town of Ubud on the island of Bali for a weeklong workshop to hone their visual story-telling skills.

This eighth year of the workshop also brought together over a dozen instructors, including some of the worlds “name-brand” photojournalists – whose work appears regularly in major publications and media outlets around the world. These instructors will work with students to improve their visual storytelling skills. The instructors and staff volunteer their time.

In her keynote talk instructor Kael Alford, former Niemann Fellow at Harvard University and university professor of photojournalism, urged all students to take risks with their work and not to fear failing (because it rarely happens). She told stories of two former students who felt they were failing in a photographic project but actually weren’t, and who then rebuilt the “failing” projects into successes and award-winning careers.

Founder Eric Beecroft also recognized and thanked Suzie Katz and PhotoWings for their important support for Foundry.

The Final NIght – A Flood of Excellent Student Work and Awards

Andrea Bruce awards Foundry student Linh Pham the "Golden Scarf Award" after final student screenings Saturday evening.
Andrea Bruce awards Foundry student Linh Pham the “Golden Scarf Award” after final student screenings Saturday evening.

Antigua, Guatemala – Saturday evening saw the final event of Foundry 2014, with each student’s project screened before a packed auditorium at Casa Santa Domingo. Awards were also given to students for various achievements, some dubious, some humorous, some serious.

The top award, the “Golden Scarf Award,” was won by Linh Pham. This award is given to the student who best exemplifies the spirit of Foundry. In awarding the scarf, instructor Andrea Bruce noted that Pham had finished his project earlier than many in the class, but stayed on to help others complete theirs.

The “Golden Heart Award” was won by Eriko Yoshida. In making the award, instructor Maggie Steber noted that Eriko had arrived from Japan with limited English and no Spanish, yet managed to gain the confidence of a homeless woman who allowed her to photograph her extensively.

The “Best Eye Award” was won by Daniele Volpe. The “Out of Left Field Award” went to Callum Finklater, who learned of the Foundry workshop as he flew to Guatemala from the UK with the intention of having a fun vacation. Instead he signed up for the workshop and performed admirably, according to Vic Blue, one of his instructors.

Afterwards, the group adjourned to a local restaurant which had made its rooftop available to Foundry. People ate and mingled, and said their goodbyes to each other until they meet again at Foundry or working in the field as photojournalists.

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Friday: More Pressure, A Delightful Distraction And Terrific Instructor Material

Adriana Zehbrauskas comments on issues involved in her work "Beyond Assignment," while Andrea Bruce and Oscar Castillo look on.
Adriana Zehbrauskas comments on issues involved in her work “Beyond Assignment,” while Andrea Bruce and Oscar Castillo look on.

Antigua, Guatemala – Friday brought increasing efforts by students to complete projects, including further discussions with instructors, and capturing final images, editing and sequencing them.

But it was all complicated by a huge and delightful distraction – Antigua’s annual celebration of its saint’s day (Saint James). A massive parade, which seemed to include every school child in the town and many adults as well, kicked off at 9:00a.m. and continued for several hours.

Marching bands with horns and drum lines kept the rhythm alive. A diverse group of parade participants, which included ten-foot giant figures, religious clubs wearing black robes with peaked hats and masks (reminiscent of the KKK costumes), and school groups undergoing occupational training, each gave insight into the aspirations and culture of town citizens.

Goose-stepping high school students march with their band in annual parade in Antigua on July 25, the saint's day of the town.
Goose-stepping high school students march with their band in annual parade in Antigua on July 25, the saint’s day of the town.

It ended with a simulated bullfight, supported by costumed picadors, matadors and beautiful women. The crowd shouted “Ole!” each time the paper mache bull charged the matador. The procession was a photo opportunity not to be missed.

Paper mache bull charges matador in simulated bullfight, the climax of St. James Day parade in Antugua.
Paper mache bull charges matador in simulated bullfight, the climax of St. James Day parade in Antugua.

Evening brought another inspiring showing of instructor work, led off by Adriana Zehbrauskas, who showed a portion of the video “Beyond Assignment.” The work showed her photographing life in the Tepito barrio in Mexico City. It provided a telling demonstration of effective but sensitive photographer interaction with a subjects.

Venezuela native Oscar Castillo showed a body of work he had captured in his native country, which he called “Our War, Our Pain.” The images dramatically portrayed the current civic conflict within Venezuelan society, including crime and other problems.

Next, Ron Haviv presented a video on gold mining in the Amazon basin of Peru, entitled “Amazon Gold.” It traced the illegal gold extraction, which denudes forests and exposes the Amazon river environment to poisonous chemicals used in the separation of the gold.

Finally, Andrea Bruce presented work from Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala and Syria. The work, compiled with thoughtful sensitivity, often focused on those suffering around the wars, such as women, children and refuges.

The evening was topped off by a question and answer session from the audience.

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Thursday Brings Project Pressure and Instructor Conferences – But it’s Also Movie Night!

Instructor Andrea Bruce works with student, Keely Dakin, to help her refine and direct her project.
Instructor Andrea Bruce works with student Keely Dakin to help her refine and direct her project.

 

Antigua, Guatemala – Thursday saw pressure increasing on students to get their projects ready for screening to the entire workshop on Saturday.

Most students scheduled a meeting during the day or evening with their instructors to confer on their work in progress.

Instructors were met by more than a few anxious faces and sighs of frustration from students. Some were traveling into outlying villages to meet subjects and photograph people and activities essential to their stories, but were stymied by what they found in the villages or by the uncertainties of local transportation.

Students were reassured by the instructors, who also provided suggestions and ideas on how to improve their work or overcome issues in their story development.

In the evening, two movies were screened. The first, “Rite of Passage,” produced by noted videographer Brian Storm, tells the story of how instructor Maggie Steber dealt with her mother’s dementia and eventual death. It included photographs and video materials that she had taken or gathered over her mother’s lifetime.

The other was “Shooting Robert King,” which describes the early career of war photographer and former Foundry instructor Robert King, from his appearance in Bosnia at the beginning of the siege of Sarajevo, through his work in Chechnya. It traces his development and maturing as a photographer and videographer, as well as telling some of the horrors of what he saw along the way.

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