Day 2: Finding the subject and story

by Madiha Kark

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.

Ron Haviv and a student share a laugh during a portfolio review. Photo © Neal Jackson

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.

Michael Robinson Chavez reviewing Erika Pineros’ portfolio. Photo © Neal Jackson

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.

Michael Robinson Chavez

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Michael Robinson Chávez is a photographer at The Washington Post since 2007. Prior to that, he worked for Los Angeles Times , The Boston Globe and the Associated Press. He has covered assignments in over 50 countries including: the Congolese Civil War, the tsunamis in Indonesia and Chile, the Egyptian revolution, life in Brazil’s slums, gold mining in Peru, the 2006 Hezbollah/Israeli war, the Georgian/Russian war in 2008, the conflict in Israel/Palestine and the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Michael was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Photojournalism in 2012 and was twice named second place Photographer of the Year by Pictures of the Year International in 2014 and 2010. In 2015 Michael received a silver prize from the China International Press Photo Contest for his work on the California drought. Michael won the Scripps Howard National Award for Photojournalism and has also twice been named Photographer of the Year by The White House News Photographers’ Association.

His work has been exhibited widely, including the Visa Pour l’image festival in France, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, Imagenes Havana in Cuba, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the War Photo Ltd. Gallery in Dubrovnik and at the Museu Memorial de l’Exili in Spain.

He has published a book of his photographs from Peru: “Awaiting the Rain.” In addition he teaches and lectures at workshops throughout the world including Mexico, Argentina, India, Thailand, Egypt, Peru, the United States and El Salvador.

http://www.robinsonchavez.com/

Course Description:

Michael will be helping you master the craft of telling compelling stories and essays by improving your vision, research skills, ability to gain access to your subject matter and breaking out of your comfort zones. The device you choose can range from an iPhone to a Graflex 4×5. This is about how you see the world.


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