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 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
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