Elisa Ferrari: Barnstorm XXVII: The Eddie Adams Workshop
Today’s post is written by Elisa Ferrari, an Argentine/American photographer based in Los Angeles, California. After spending 10 months in Sweden documenting Sami reindeer herders and the effects of climate change on their lives (featured on Lenscratch last year), she applied to the Eddie Adams Workshop, the premier workshop for emerging photojournalists. She shares her experience here.
We were blinded by the sun’s stubborn idle on the horizon. Looking down, a beautiful red carpet flowed beneath our feet as we ascended the hill towards the crooked silo. Above us, drones buzzed with their curious video cameras focused on the herd. And to our left and right, the world’s finest photographers and editors cheered us on to the soundtrack of Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome,” as if we were a mob of marathoners. What seemed like a dream was actually the prelude to my unforgettable experience at the 2014 Eddie Adams Workshop in Jeffersonville, New York.
The workshop’s center of gravity was Eddie and Alyssa Adam’s beautiful barn, where a slew of photographic legends shared their stories. It was a place filled with laughter and tears many times over, provoked by both the gravity of the images and the passion with which these visionary photographers and editors dedicated themselves. There are too many to name, but some of my favorite speakers from the weekend included Phil Toledano for his wit and ingenuity, Erika Larsen for her thoughtfulness and honesty, Barbara Davidson for her tenacity and courage, and Tom Kennedy for his profound words of wisdom.
In the late evenings, we had portfolio reviews with several industry leaders. My first session was with Elizabeth Krist of National Geographic. I have been an avid reader of this iconic publication since I was a young girl, so I’m quite certain my anxiety was palpable to anyone living in upstate New York. Despite my nervousness, I learned a lot from my review with Elizabeth and am grateful for her honest, but kind feedback. I feel that the reviews provided just what I was looking for, which was critical feedback, however I came away feeling that the reviewers were so much more down to earth and kind than what I had mentally prepared for.
This brings me to a larger point. Although the Eddie Adams Workshop is an intense learning experience in photography, sleep deprivation, and networking, it manages to also be a fairly intimate experience full of candid, yet constructive criticism. Given that the workshop is immensely competitive and attendees are chosen solely on the quality of our work, it could have digressed into a festival of egotism. Instead, students and teachers arrived with open minds and hearts, which allowed us all to soak in the infectious atmosphere of learning, inspiration, enthusiasm and encouragement.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to our team producer Lisa Krantz, team leader Gregory Heisler, team editor Genevieve Fussell, team technician Micahel Heiman, and to all of the amazing people that donate their time year after year to make the Eddie Adams Workshop such an unforgettable experience. Thank you Black and White teams.
For those of you interested in applying. I highly encourage you to do so, and to continue to apply each year that you are eligible. Many (like me) do not get in on their first try, but the experience is well worth the perseverance.
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