The leaves were changing color, the grass verdant from a boatload of recent rain and temperatures were warm up in lovely Jeffersonville, NY. I just spent a glorious fall weekend in the Catskills leading Team Turquoise at the Eddie Adams Workshop, (EAW). For the last 24 years, EAW has brought together leading photography professionals and 100 carefully selected students to participate in an extraordinary, free, four day workshop at the late Eddie Adams’ farm. Famous photographers and editors were coming out of the woodwork. Each year, Alyssa Adams and Executive Producer Mirjam Evers round up the faculty and the usual suspects were up there at the barn turning on their particular brand of high wattage charm and inspiration. Just the right mix of crazy and brilliant.
Joining me as Team Editor was Maura Foley of the New York Times, Team Producer Victoria Will, and ten student photojournalists from the United States, Denmark and Germany. We kept Andrew Gombert busy as our IT person. Victoria spent months finding and researching stories to illustrate our “Transitions” theme, including stories on a returning Marine from Afghanistan, a young pregnant woman, a family with several developmentally disabled children, and an elderly couple living the remainder of their lives in an adult care facility.
The brotherhood of the Eddie Adams Workshop is exceptional. The most moving moment of the workshop was the tribute to Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington at the memorial to fallen photographers that Eddie had constructed on the hill behind the barn.
In 1990 I was a student at the third Eddie Adams Workshop, on Team Orange, lead by Joe McNally and editor Michelle McNally. I was assigned to shoot a beauty school and a team of baton twirlers.
I slept about six hours in four days and can honestly say the workshop kicked my ass. At the time it was not necessarily fun and I felt that I had barley survived the experience. But in the subsequent days the lessons flooded in to my psyche. Lessons that have carried me throughout my career. Everything from learning to withstand difficult critique; pushing myself and never accepting anything less than my best effort; to knowing when NOT to do a keg stand.
Thanks to everyone on the Black Team, White Team and in the Eddie Adams Workshop family.
I hope our students go back to their lives and share their newfound knowledge and inspiration.
Remember, you can’t keep it if you don’t give it away!