MEXICO CITY — Less than 48 hours before the final submissions, ask any student and they’d tell you there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Students spent their day with their subjects, getting footage for their stories or consulting with instructors on road blocks and creativity. Instructors met with the students one-on-one to help edit, shape the story and critique their work. Catch a few glimpses of the day here. Stay tuned for a blog post on the stellar Thursday night panel discussion on Ethics in the Media and field advice from photojournalists who shared personal and professional stories.
MEXICO CITY — Meet one of the students at Foundry this year, Alice Driver. Dr. Alice Driver is a long-form journalist and an international speaker who focuses on human rights, gender equality, and migration in Latin America. She has received numerous prestigious fellowships and her work has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Longreads Originals, National Geographic, The World Policy Journal, The Guardian, The Texas Observer, Al Jazeera English and many others.
Driver’s project focuses on La Calle de la Belleza or “Street of Beauty” in La Merced. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Mexico City and was a center of sex work and commerce since the conquest. Today, women get all kinds of beauty treatments; like waxing, eyelash curling, eyebrow ironing, tattooed makeup and nails. She is interested in exploring the constructs of gender and beauty on this street particularly focusing on makeup tattooing and nail art.
Stay tuned to this space for more student stories.
MEXICO CITY — When one looks at projects of renowned photojournalists, it’s easy to assume that all photojournalists have brilliant minds that form amazing ideas. It’s easy to assume that they don’t have any difficulty getting access or talking to strangers or that they don’t have to work hard at their skill because they are already great at what they do.
The truth is that it takes a lot of practice to gain trust, convince people to allow a stranger to document their life. It takes courage to go out everyday and put your heart and soul into creating work that matters. Day three at the workshop and students experienced the rush to create a piece of work within the next three days. The pressure was palpable in the air as most students visited their subjects for a day of immersion and capturing the moments integral for their stories.
The evening presentations by Adriana Zehbrauskas, Rodrigo Cruz, Michael Robinson Chavez, Natalie Keyssar, Pedro Valtierra, allowed students to view current projects and a behind-the-scene of how the images were formed. The panel discussion that followed focused on how to work in Latin America, security issues and protocols. “We need to have a larger discussion on teaching young photojournalists on how to be safe,” said Keyssar, talking about her own struggles and methods to be safe when working in dangerous places.
In a jam packed hall, students listened in awe, taking notes and finding inspiration for their future stories and dreams.
MEXICO CITY — When it comes to producing content for any creative field, be it writing, photography, film or multimedia, we question ourselves. We question our skill level, our authenticity and our ability to create an impact. We ask, “What am I adding to the conversation that hasn’t already been said?” We worry whether or not a story topic has been done to death. For the students nervous about all these questions, Monday morning provided a solace, as instructors broke into small group sessions and discussed story ideas, creative road blocks and their expectations for the final projects.
The instructors stressed how pictures do not have to be sterile and perfect. “Develop empathy and understanding and give each story the time it requires,” said Natalie Keyssar explaining the importance of developing trust with subjects. The classes were an equal mix of students with beginner and advanced skill levels yet the advice given by instructors applied to everyone.
In the evening, students showcased their portfolios with one-on-one portfolio reviews with some of the top photojournalists in the field.
As the evening sun gave way to darkness, students shared stories over steaming cups of coffee and mulled over their project ideas. Sharing stories is what makes us human and dynamic visuals have the power to evoke emotions on a deeper level. It is this sense of friendship and family that binds the participants of Foundry as they explore new horizons within and outside of themselves.
MEXICO CITY — On a slightly chilly Sunday afternoon, inside the patio of Universidad de la Comunicación, about a 100 students waited to register for the 10th annual Foundry Photojournalism Workshop. Students from as far as Colombia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Argentina, the United States and all over Mexico mingled over warm coffees, laughter and stories.
What started as an idea to teach visual storytelling to emerging photojournalists has blossomed into a community of mentor, peers and lifelong friendships. The relationships that form through the workshop transcend barriers of culture, language, skills and background. “People become friends and they come year after year,” says Eric Beecroft, the founder of the workshop. “It is like a family.”
Instructors Maggie Steber, Ron Haviv and Andrea Bruce encouraged students to treat their stories and subjects with respect and be open to ideas. “Nobody owes you a story, you have to earn it,” said Steber.
In a place so visually and culturally alive, Mexico City is the perfect backdrop to find stories. Students discussed personal stories, proposed projects and received tips for better storytelling from the instructors. The evening instructor presentations and panel discussions were inspirational for the students, highlighting topics such as safety, intimacy and work ethics in visual storytelling.
Mexico City is a labyrinth of stories and visuals, waiting to be seen and told. The task to capture the stories and represent them with honesty and integrity is what Foundry is all about. This is where the story begins…
* Local/regional students must be someone whose country of origin/birthplace is on the African continent. Also included are people whose country of origin is from the following countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Christmas Island, Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Antigua, Guatemala – On Wednesday, showings of dramatic work by four instructors, and a panel discussion by three of them, capped a day in which students worked hard to advance their projects. Instructors Matt Black, James Whitlow Delano, Tewfic El-Sawy and Nacho Corbella each presented stories they have been working on – some completed, some in process. Black presented a deep look into what brings poor Mexican workers to the Central Valley of California to work as grape pickers for the raisin industry. Wondering why they came to work and live in such difficult conditions, he went to the regions and villages from which they came. There he captured images of the desperate conditions under which they lived, including the collapse of one village and its crops, as the ground slid down an incline at the rate of a meter a day. Delano presented a body of work focused on environmental exploitation by multinational corporations. The work, from Malaysia/Borneo, to Surinam, to Cameroon, to Ecuador, showed the effect timber exploitation has had on the land and the native peoples who live on it. El-Sawy presented an audio slideshow of his work the Disciples of Mehboob-Ilahi, a fascinating religious sect which combines Sufi/Muslim practices with elements of Hinduism. Finally, Corbella showed parts of an audio/video work in progress, under assignment from a major magazine, focusing on efforts by people to maintain a traditional ranching life in Patagonia. Closing out the evening was a panel discussion by Black, Delano and Corbella focusing on where they find their stories and how they finance the capture of the images.
Antigua, Guatemala – Lines began forming at 6 pm as instructors were seated at their respective tables. Then the portfolio reviews began.
Each student was assigned to an instructor that was different from the one in their class. The times and instructors (which were written on the back of their name tags) had been set by staff, but, because of work on their projects, many students were held up. Nevertheless, the attentive Foundry staff kept the process moving so everybody could be handled.
Instructors observed and commented, students listened and explained, points were made, suggestions absorbed, and each student went away with ideas for improving their work.
Antigua, Guatemala – Monday evening comes and, yes, there’s more…two hours of additional information and insights!
Students and instructors gathered in the auditorium of the Santo Domingo conference center to hear instructors talk about their work and experiences.
Leading off was Kirsten Luce, instructor and education coordinator for Foundry, as well as regular freelancer for the NY Times. She showed a variety of work, including a gripping series of images from the US/Mexico border region capturing the environment around illegal immigration.
Next came fashion photographer Claire Rosen, who focused on what helps visual and other artists to be more creative. She provided a long list of recommended activities, ranging from 20 minutes of exercise each day to recognizing your natural sleep pattern and accepting it, even if it is contrary to that of everyone around you (hear that, night owls?). It was a real crowd-pleaser.
Finally, Moises Castillo and Victor Blue talked and showed significant work covering the history of political and criminal violence in Guatemala. It was not a pleasant visual experience, but it was extraordinarily good photojournalism.
The evening ended with students heading to their lodgings to get ready to work with their subjects early on Tuesday. Maybe it is from the years of nocturnal violence, but unlike many Latin American countries, Antigua is definitely a go-to-bed-early-get-up-early culture.
Antigua, Guatemala – It’s getting-acquainted time – both with each other and with how to work in Guatemala!
Students began Monday at 8 a.m. with talks by instructors Moises Castillo, the AP photographer in Guatemala, and Victor Blue, award-winning freelancer who has worked extensively in this country and the region, on safety and security while working here. Photographing in a nation with very diverse cultures and a history of violent criminal activity will require care and sensitivity, they stressed. Each followed with a number of suggestions to reduce a photojournalist’s risks of loss or injury.
On that note, the students joined with their instructors to introduce each other and, in most cases, also to share portfolios, getting initial comments from their instructors on style and elements of their work. Then students discussed with their instructors proposed projects and plans for capturing the images needed to tell the stories.
“The teachers are great…I am so inspired and excited,” said student Ana Maria Buitron, from Quito, Ecuador. “I’m just so glad to be here.” She then noted she was getting up very early on Tuesday to travel to her subject’s location so she could continue work. She admitted that she had arrived early in Antigua to begin work before the workshop formally commenced.
As the sun climbed into the tropical sky, students fanned out to work on their projects, and then to reconvene at 7 pm for presentations by instructors.
La Antigua, Guatemala – “The world is not made of atoms – it’s made of stories,” said Foundry instructor and Mexico-based photographer Adriana Zehbrauskas in her co-opening address (with James Whitlow Delano) to the students of the 2014 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop.
The registration and subsequent event took place Sunday evening on a candle-lit plaza and convention center that is incorporated into the ruins of the former Santo Domingo monastery, here in historic La Antigua, a former capital of Guatemala.
Students from all of the Americas, Europe and Asia completed their registrations, then mixed and mingled with each other at a reception. Students and teachers spoke to each other, some in halting English and Spanish, as friends were made and photography bonds established. Former students returning for another boost to their skills, caught up with each other’s personal news.
A poll was taken by Kirsten Luce, instructor and education coordinator, on whether the language of the evening activities would be English or Spanish, and the result was both – English with Spanish translation. Some instructors elected to speak in Spanish, with English translations following.
The evening ended with instructors meeting with students for the first time and discussing the week to come.
I am psyched to be heading back to Guatemala and to meeting all of the students and faculty at this years Foundry Workshop there. It’s going to be great. Guatemala is an incredible country that I have been trying to understand for about 12 years now. It is possessed of a resilient, dynamic people and a difficult, tragic history. The war years, the massacres and the repression of the indigenous majority, and the years of fighting for justice and the reclamation of historical memory are the defining events of Guatemala’s modern history. There isn’t much that happens there now that isn’t colored by them. It can be hard to wrap your mind around all of it, but it’s important to try. Here are a few of my favorite resources for getting into Guatemala:
1. The Long Night of the White Chickens by Francisco Goldman
Goldman is one of our best American authors. Half Guatemalan, he explores his divided heritage and the fear and suspicion and intrigue of the war years in this novel. When people ask me what Guatemala is like, I give them this novel to read. As a boy, the main character Roger, falls for his Guatemalan nanny then as a young man travels to Guatemala to uncover the story of her death. The constant menace of the state and the intimacy with death that is so common to the Guatemalan experience make this the best psychological portrait of the country that I have read. And it’s fun to try and find the spots along the Sexta Avenida from the book. Extra points to whoever gets a drink in the expat/ CIA bar that’s still in Zone 10.
2. Guatemala – Eternal Spring, Eternal Tyranny by Jean Marie Simon
This is the only book of documentary photography that comprehensively chronicles the civil war years in Guatemala. It’s one of the greatest works of photo reportage ever done. Closely resembling Vietnam Inc. by Simon’s mentor Phillip Jones Griffith, it mixes strong photography, excellent reportage, and unreal access to show all the sides of a fight that cost the lives of over 250,000 people. Simon was a young photographer who dedicated herself to covering the war in Guate- one of the only foreign photographers to do so. It very deftly lays out the major events and themes from the most violent and dangerous years of the war in the early 1980’s. She was unbelievably brave. There are three printings of this, I have all three. The original English version is out of print but you can find it on Amazon. The book was reissued in a brilliant new edition in Spanish a couple of years ago, and you can get it at Sophos bookstore in Guatemala City. If you are a photographer you really ought to own this book.
3. I, Rigoberta Menchu by Rigoberta Menchu
The personal testimony of Nobel Peace Prize winner and indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchu. If you don’t have any previous experience or familiarity with the reality of life for indigenous Guatemalans, this is an important book to read. Menchu grew up in a persecuted political family and fled into exile in the 80’s and told her story to Elizabeth Burgos in Paris. There is no small amount of controversy around the woman in Guatemala, and if you feel like diving into, could be worth checking out David Stoll’s book Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans, or better yet Greg Grandin’s Who is Rigoberta Menchu? No matter who you believe, the fact is that she is a symbol for millions of indigenous folks and her story is in many ways emblematic of the struggles of Mayan folks in Guatemala for, lets face it, centuries.
4. Memory of Silence- The Guatemalan Truth Commission Report edited by Daniel Rothenberg
This is a new edition of one of the two vital human rights reports issued after the signing of the peace accords in 1996. It isn’t easy reading, but then the history isn’t easy either. It’s accessible and this new edition isn’t hard to get through. Read it, get sad, and figure out what you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
5. The Art of Political Murder by Francisco Goldman
Goldman returns with this nonfiction account of one of the greatest political crimes in modern Guatemala- the murder of Archbishop Juan Gerardi days after he issued the Catholic Church’s comprehensive report on massacres committed by the Guatemalan Army during the war. He goes deep inside a story that seems impossible to get to the bottom of, and keeps going deeper. This book is vital if you want to understand the impunity and disrespect for the rule of law that has created the ultra violence in the streets that Guatemala suffers from today. This story is an onion that Goldman peels back like a chef.
If you can get through one or more of these, you will have a head start on understanding the human rights context in Guatemala. If you have tons of time and read fast, then these are also worth checking out:
Bitter Fruit by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer – in case you weren’t aware the the CIA overthrew the popular, democratically elected govt. of Guatemala and all most of this crap in motion, this is a great history for you.
La Verdad Bajo La Tierra by Miquel Dewever – Plana A photo essay on the exhumation of mass graves from the war.
The Return of the Maya by Thomas Hoepker – Photo book on the end of the war and the return of the refugees by Magnum heavy.
Our Culture is Our Resistance by Jonathan Moller – Moller was a human rights worker and shot incredible pictures of internally displace people in the later years of the war
Silence on the Mountain by Daniel Wilkinson -A kind of personal take on the end of the war and reconciliation and trying to unwind what happened.
La Patria del Criollo: An Interpretation of Colonial Guatemala by Severo Martínez Peláez – if you are really ambitious, the definitive account of Guatemala’s colonial history and the roots of it’s underdevelopment. (I am still wrestling with this one.)
When the Mountains Tremble– Pamela Yates- this one from ’83 about Menchu and the war
Preparing for Foundry Photojournalism Workshops includes the usual pre-trip planning: booking airfare, finding accommodations, getting any suggested vaccines, and making sure your gear is ready for a week full of photographing. The last thing you want to do is find out you’ve left the charger with one of your batteries at home and the hostel you booked at is much less charming than the picture suggested.
PRO TIP: If you’re still looking for accommodations, read and post on the Foundry Forum. Many students book and share apartments for 1-2 weeks with other students. It’s a great way to gain new friends and it’s fun.
Research several story ideas.
Arrive a few days early and wander around, looking for stories. Bounce ideas off of local photographers and students from the area. Always have a back-up plan. Be flexible.
There will be lots of socializing at night at the local bars and restaurant. You will stay up late sharing work, editing your own work, going to classes and discussion panels. Show up well-rested to the workshop.
Be a sponge. There will be people from all over the world who share a passion for photography. Have a goal of making, for example, 10 new friends per day. Connect with people before, during and after the workshop.
Prepare your portfolio ahead of time.
Portfolio reviews can be the most challenging moments to hear criticism of your work, but it’s also the time when you can learn and grow the most.
Go to the evening talks and presentations. Get to know the work of the instructors so you can ask questions at their nightly talks.
Prepararse para Foundry Photojournalism Workshops incluye las preparaciones de cualquier viaje: asegurarse de los pasajes, encontrar alojamiento, conseguir vacunas si es necesario para esa parte del mundo, y asegurarse que todo tu equipo esta listo para una semana llena de fotografía. Lo último que quieres encontrar es que has dejado tu cargador con una de las baterías extras en tu casa o que el hostal que conseguiste no es para nada como se veía en las fotos.
SUGERENCIA PRO: Si aún buscas alojamiento, lee y postea en el foro Foundry Forum. Muchos estudiantes arriendan y comparten departamentos por 1-2 semanas con otros alumnos. Es una buena manera de hacer amistades y es entretenido.
Investiga varias ideas para historias.
Lo mejor es llegar unos días antes del taller para orientarte al lugar y buscar historias. Conversa de tus ideas con fotógrafos locales y otros alumnos lugareños. Siempre tenga un Plan B… y Plan C y Plan D. Sea flexible.
Mantén un ritmo moderado.
Va a haber mucha socialización en las noches en los bares y restaurantes. Vas a trasnochar, festejando y compartiendo con otros alumnos. Vas a compartir trabajos, proyectos, fotos. Vas a estar editando fotos para la clase la próxima mañana. Vas a ir a charlas y paneles de discusión. Llega al taller bien descansado.
Sea una esponja. Va a haber mucha gente de todo el mundo que comparte una pasión por la fotografía. Ten la meta de hacer muchos amigos, pues cuando uno viaja después, tendrás amigos por todo el mundo para recibirte. Conecta con gente antes, durante y después del taller.
Prepara tu portafolio con anticipación.
Reseñas de portafolio son los momentos mas difíciles porque estarás escuchando criticas fuertes y honestas sobre tu trabajo. Pero donde uno enfrenta sus debilidades y desafíos es donde uno mas crece. Puedes mostrar tu portafolio en tu iPad/tableta, en tu computador o impreso si tienes.
Vaya a las charlas y presentaciones. Conozca el trabajo de los instructors que presentarán para que puedas hacerles preguntas.
Registration, Instructor meet, Keynote speaker and Party begin at
5pm at Documentary Arts Asia
Sunday, July 29, 2012.
Address: 12/7 Wualai Road Soi 3
Haiya, Chiang Mai
You must come and register. This is mandatory unless you have gotten some previous clearance for a valid reason. It is crucial we check each student in, you meet your teacher, and begin the workshop process.
Evening panel schedules and topics, portfolio reviews, classrooms, where to go at CMU and more will be announced.
Foundry is proud to announce the winners of the first annual Facebook Shootout Contest. The winner with the most likes is Ahsan Qureshi with 1,378 votes. Ahsan wins free tuition to this year’s workshop. We have an honorable mentions as well- Spike Johnson’s stunning photo of Roma girls getting evicted takes this prize- another full tuition award, this one for Spike. Congrats to both of you, and thanks everyone for posting some great work! Even if you didn’t win please come anyway- you get a discount on tuition just for posting an image in the contest!