Later this week, I am off to Lodz, Poland for a Magnum Photos documentary photography workshop with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb. I am beyond excited, and honestly, fairly terrified at this opportunity!
For those of you that don't recognize the name, Magnum is "an international photographic cooperative owned by its photographer-members, with offices located in New York, Paris, London and Tokyo" ( from the Magnum website ) whose members include a long list of incredibly talented photographers. To name a few: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Capa, Alec Soth, Steve McCurry, Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr and of course, Alex Webb.
The workshop is titled Finding Your Vision and consists of four days of instruction, shooting, critique and discussion to help produce a cohesive photo story that will then be presented on the 5th evening, during the opening night of the Fotofestiwal in Lodz. One lucky participant will also have their story featured in the British Journal of Photography. Wow!
To be considered and accepted for the workshop of 18 participants, I was asked to submit five images from a recent photo story and to answer a few short questions about my experience and my hopes for the workshop. I selected these images from a recent home birth :
It still doesn't feel quite real that I will be working on a photo story under the guidance of such accomplished photographers next week, but it is slowly sinking in as I am making preparations for the trip.
I have some homework due before the class begins next Sunday. I am reading the Polish book (translated) Dukla by Andrzej Stasiuk. Once I arrive in Lodz, I have a follow up photography assignment to shoot based on the theme of the book, appropriately - light. I will then select my best image to be reviewed by Alex and Rebecca at the first class. I am also to bring about 30 prints from my portfolio, for a critique and review with Alex. Have I mentioned I'm excited? And terrified?!
And of course, I will have to decide on a topic for my photo story. Quickly. Thankfully, I was recently sent a list of potential topics for inspiration. Even better, a photographer friend of mine from Poland has connected me with her brother-in-law who is studying in Lodz. He has graciously agreed to show me around the day before the workshop begins. My hope is that with his help, I will find a subject I may not have discovered on my own.
Please feel free to leave any advice, photo story ideas in Lodz, or even words of encouragement in the comments below, and stay tuned for more details about my experience!