October 17, 2013

Sleepless in a Milkwaukee airport terminal.

I'm stuck overnight at the Milwaukee airport because I missed my connection this afternoon. Sitting here alone, watching one Walking Dead episode after another, feels like a low-low after such an inspiring weekend at the Eddie Adams Workshop in upstate New York. We went hard, and this past week I've slept probably 14 hours total. And while that may be to blame for my missed flight, what surprised me most was how well I managed. After years of being overly cautious about getting enough sleep in, it was a good wake up call.

Each day of the workshop started with breakfast at 7 AM and went until portfolio reviews ended around 2 AM (and after that we drank). My first review was with Mr. John White, the legendary photojournalist who represented the Chicago Sun-Times for 35 years. I was nervous and even shaking at first, which was a surprise. He quickly put me at ease, and we seemed to be on the same page, and I don't think I've ever felt as good about where things are going. He quipped that my image "got Oomph!", that something extra, and that if he were one of these rich editors in the room he'd make sure I left with their card. He also gave me a title for my book project, based on what he saw in the images, and remembered my name when we ran into each other at the bonfire the next evening, something I'm not sure many of the reviewers would've.

 I also met with Ben Lowy, Josh Ritchie, James Estrin of the New York Times, David Griffin of The Washington Post, and Tom Kennedy. Not aware of who he was, just that he wasn't busy with anyone at the moment, I sat down with and ended up hitting it off with Mr. Kennedy. He made it a point to pull out and hand me his card, which made it fun finding out after the fact that he's been an influential editor at the Washington Post as well as National Geographic. But the whole weekend was like that - surrounded by individuals who are brilliant and passionate at what they do.

Met so many wonderful people and was so glad I ended up on the team I did. Team Tan was led by Carolyn Cole of the LA Times, Elissa Curtis of The New Yorker and Melanie McLean, and included Allie Hootnick, Alexis Lambrou, Rahul Dhankani, Bob Houlihan, Adnan Saciragic, Tommaso Protti, Mary Farmilant, Smita Sharma, Ting Shen, and Jason Saul Prupas. It'll be fun keeping in touch and exciting to watch where everyone lands in the next few years. (Update: A week since the workshop ended, students Stephanie Strasburg has led The New York Times' Arts section with a full-page photo and Supranav Dash was selected as a Finalist for the APA / Lucie Foundation Scholarship Award and also for the One Life 2013 Awards.)

With Mr. John H. White, formerly of the Chicago Sun-Times.