It will be awhile before I fully process my experience at the 23rd Annual Eddie Adams Workshop. One thing I can say for sure is that I experienced magic at Eddie’s barn.
During a 1:30am portfolio review, an editor flipped to the 2nd page of my book and told me that she remembered seeing my jumping photos during the selection process over the summer when 1,500 photographers applied for 100 spots at the workshop. Her feeling back then was similar to mine: what was this person thinking? Doesn’t she know this is a photojournalism workshop?
I am so glad that doubt didn’t get in anyone’s way, and that I made it to upstate New York this past week. Yes, there were times when I felt like a fish out of water among all the documentary photographers, but it was one-sided. Everyone I met made me feel welcome. And inspiring presentations by Howard Schatz, Al Bello, and Henry Leutwyler showed me that this workshop is for photographers who love movement too.
Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, I spent 11 hours with the superb Gray Team at an adult home for our team assignment “The Fall of Life.” I had picked a name out of a hat that indicated I would be following the Jeffersonville Adult Home’s eldest resident, a 94-year-old man who mostly stayed in bed. Could my assignment have been any more different than what I am used to shooting? No, and that’s the whole point of EAW: be pushed and challenged, get out of your comfort zone, fall, pick yourself back up, stretch, grow, see differently, see more.
It became clear early on that there was zero chance that I would get a shot for this week’s 52 Project while on assignment. With an average of 2.75 hours of sleep each night and days filled with presentations, shooting and editing, I accepted that I wouldn’t even have a chance to take pictures of the autumn foliage while I was there. Then on Monday, the last morning of the 4-day workshop, Miguel Anaya, a workshop participant and former dancer with Bill T. Jones, the White Oak Project and many other dance companies, approached me saying he had seen my portfolio from afar the night before and wanted to talk to me later. I asked why, and he said: Because I’m a dancer.
In a sea of photojournalists, a dancer looking for a photographer found a photographer looking for a dancer. Magic.