For me, it all clicked while listening to renowned photojournalist Bill Eppridge give a presentation about “decisive moments.”
Sitting at the back of an old barn with a few hundred people — seasoned photojournalists, editors, staff and students – I realized that the second I stepped out of my car and into the warm sunlight of rural Jeffersonville, NY earlier that day, I had walked into one.
Now in its 24th year, the Eddie Adams Workshop is an intense four-day, tuition-free gathering of top photography professionals, along with 100 carefully selected students from all over the globe, chosen based on the merit of their portfolios. It’s the brainchild of Adams himself, the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who covered 13 wars and some of the most celebrated people in the world, but wanted his legacy to be greater than the work he created from behind the lens.
For our people at Getty Images, the Workshop is like getting together with family – and that’s whether you’re a photographer leading a team (or helping to cook Stromboli), a director of photography providing meaningful critique to a student or a blogger just visiting for the day to understand the event more deeply.
The camaraderie is powerful stuff. Just ask Mathias DePardon, former Emerging Talent on Reportage by Getty Images who was among this year’s students.
A French photographer living in Turkey, DePardon was assigned to a team led by Getty Images photojournalist Mario Tama. The team consisted of Tama, Reportage by Getty Images Senior Photo Editor Lauren Steel (as editor) and photojournalist Josh Ritchie (as producer) who worked together to coach 11 students shooting around the theme, “Equality.”
“It’s a different atmosphere than just meeting in an office,” DePardon said of the Workshop, which, along with many hours spent making pictures, included intense portfolio review sessions. “There’s more honesty in what people have to tell you.”
“And it’s social. You’re meeting photographers who inspire you. You can sense it’s a real community here.”
It was a real community, whether we were laughing at the self-portraits Eppridge shot from his dentist’s chair or standing shoulder to shoulder during memorial services – not just for Tim Hetherington or our brother (and Workshop alumni) Chris Hondros, who we lost this year – but for Adams, who died in 2004 and his colleagues: Larry Burrows, Henri Huet, Michel Laurent, Kent Potter, Kyoichi Sawada and Huynh Thanh My, who lost their lives while reporting on the world’s stories.
But why did the bond feel so strong in that place? You could argue it was the atmosphere – You need not have gone to Woodstock to know there’s something magical about upstate New York. But I think more than that, Eppridge was on to something in his speech, in which he urged all of us to keep a camera at the ready, because “you never know what’s going to happen in front of you.”
Decisive moments – maybe a whole string of them – brought us together. And, for 24 years, it’s what has kept this community coming back, so that the decisive moments of the future will not go unreported.
Getty Images Staff on Hand
Mario Tama – Team Leader
Al Bello – Team Leader
Pancho Bernasconi – Team Editor
Lauren Steel – Team Editor
Sandy Ciric – Portfolio Reviews
Pierce Wright – Portfolio Reviews
Elodie Mailliet – Portfolio Reviews
Michael Heiman – Tech Support (Black Team)
Michael Bocchieri – Cooking Crew (White Team)
Michael Loccisano – Cooking Crew (White Team)