Day 3: Diving into the life of strangers

by Madiha Kark

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.

Adriana Zehbrauskas guides a student on her story. Photo © Neal Jackson

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.

Panel discussion on Working in Latin America. L-R Dario Mills-Lopez, Rodrigo Cruz, Michael Robinson Chavez, Natalie Keyssar, Adriana Zehbrauskas and Pedro Valtierra. Photo © Neal

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.

Day 1 : The story begins…

by Madiha Kark

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.”

Students arrive at the registration tables on the first day of Foundry workshop. Photo © Madiha Kark

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…

Stay tuned to this space for more updates.

Juan Pablo Ampuda and Adriana Zehbrauskas speak to the Foundry 2017 students about safety in Mexico City. Photo © Neal Jackson

January Sale – Foundry Cape Town 2016

January Tuition Sale
Kirsten Luce, a Foundry instructor and staff member, reviews images from her class in Antigua, Guatemala at Foundry 2014.

Save $100 or $50 from the price of Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Cape Town, South Africa. Throughout January 2016, you can take off $100.00 USD (or $50.00 if you are from the local/regional list; see below)

* 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.

Welcome to the 2010 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop

At this year’s Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, top instructors and students from around the world have converged on Istanbul, Turkey, a city long known as a melting pot for exactly the kind of diversity this workshop strives to cultivate.

Students arrived Sunday, June 20, from countries on six continents, particularly nearby nations, including Egypt, Yemen, Palestine/Gaza, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Bosnia, Moldova, Russia.

After registration, everyone packed into a small attic room at the Nazım Hikmet Culture Center for a quick welcome from Foundry Director Eric Beecroft, and Utku Kaynar of the Photographic Arts Federation of Turkey. Instructors Maggie Steber and Kael Alford then shared their “Top Ten List”of tips for photojournalists (coming soon).

In the afternoon the instructors met for the first time with students and then the evening finished up with an intimate party.

We hope you enjoy this slideshow, capturing the feel of the first day’s meetings, and that you will keep checking in this week as Miki Johnson and Neal Jackson bring you regular updates from the workshop. If it seems like something you’d enjoy, we’d love to see you next year in South America!

Welcome to the 2010 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop from Foundry Workshop on Vimeo.

Next workshop: Istanbul, Turkey 2010

Foundry 2010


and more to be announced in coming weeks…*

* instructors and guests are slated to appear; however, the demands of international reportage and assignments may require lineup changesRead more

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