Danielle Villasana | Photojournalist

Eddie Adams Workshop: Class of XXVI

I recently returned from the 26th Eddie Adams Workshop and my mind is still processing all that I learned, experienced and witnessed. As a student, I can’t imagine that I will ever have another series of moments quite like those that were squeezed into four short days. I think I most grateful for the friendships and for the wealth of wisdom that was shared with us–it was exactly what I needed to push me towards the next step. I feel incredibly lucky, inspired and motivated to keep photographing and to open my eyes in new and different ways. Thank you to everybody who makes the workshop possible every year and thank you to all of the talented, humble students who I am now proud to call family. Here are some words that were spoken over the course of the weekend that will stay with me forever:

  • “Faith, focus and flight. You must be faithful to your being, your life, your purpose. Every single day is a gift. Spread your wings, live your dreams…my assignment to you is that you stay forever in flight and be the ambassadors of love.” –John White, perhaps the most inspiring person I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
  • “Failure is not about falling. Failure is about not getting up.” –Uncle Jimmy
  • “Being a photojournalist is not about what you do, it’s about who you are.” –Mary Calvert
  • “We don’t just bear witness, we interpret.” –Gregory Heisler
  • “Take pictures of people only with their consent and with gentleness.”–Gerd Ludwig, my amazing team leader whose tough love was a big motivator to succeed
  • “Every story relates to who you are.” –Eugene Richards
  • “If I am comfortable, I’m not working hard enough.” –Stephen Wilkes
  • “First you need to know that what you are doing is honest.” –Rodrigo Abd
  • “If you love something, you have to fight for it.” –Bill Eppridge, whose spirit was most definitely present at the workshop
  • “Always be authentic. Do what is in your heart and pursue that one thing. If you want to be a photographer never, ever give up. Never let anybody take that away from you. Trust your country not your government and never, ever obey your parents.” –Marco Grob, the coolest guy ever.
  • “We have a duty to tell the other side of the story. You have to judge yourself, the photography is more about the understanding of your subject. You have to question yourself.” –Zalmai, a true role-model
  • “Be hospitable in the world. Have the courage to be who you are. Be brave in the face of chaos. Expect the unexpected and be the unexpected. ‘Come to the edge he said…he pushed them and then they flew.'” — Tom Kennedy, who gave an incredible last speech to top off an equally incredible weekend

And, last but not least, the Turquoise Team. Though every single person at the workshop was an incredible force of energy and talent, of course getting to know my teammates was one of the highlights of the weekend. Big thank you to Patrick and Gerd, who taught me so much even from over their shoulder. Alicia, you are definitely a bad ass and there is no way our stories would have worked without you. Kevin, your gentle nature and patience is unbelievable–thanks for being our backbone! Thank you to the Lopez-Román family, who were so kind and open to allowing some random photographer from the street walk into their home, you made my experience in Liberty truly memorable! And, lastly, to all my teammates (Ismail, Ian, Suzanne, Erin, Yeong-Ung, Neil, Florian, Bobby, Francesco) you all were so easy to work with and all so inspiring and it was a pleasure getting to know you. I can’t wait to see how you top this in the future, I know you will! And now, for some of my pictures of the Lopez-Román family that were selected for our story. I wish I could post our team’s video, but I don’t own the copyright so I won’t even try to go there.

P.S. If you have made it this far down the post and are a student or somebody out there who would like to attend next year’s workshop, I am happy and willing to do all I can to help in any way. So, please get in touch!

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This entry was published on October 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm. It’s filed under Photojournalism, workshop and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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