The buzz over the impending application deadline for the Eddie Adams Workshop has sparked my nostalgic side.
It was 1994, Iâ€™d tried a couple times already, but I was going into my second year as a staffer, so time was running out when I finally got that acceptance letter.
I had no idea what to expect as I drove my Honda Accord hatchback out the winding highways to upstate New York. I knew if would be intense. I knew there would be a lot of talented young photographers. I knew the faculty would be top notch and I had no idea where I fit into all that.
My memories are mostly of snippets. Vignettes and anecdotes. I was on the Mint team, the first-ever digital team (letâ€™s remember, this was 1994) and our assignment was to document the workshop. No sooner did I arrive at the hotel that first night than they handed me a Kodak DCS420, gave me a very brief lesson in how to use it and off I went.
Our team leader was Jon White. Out team editor was Vin Alabiso. We had a team of Vinâ€™s staff there to teach us the ins-and-outs of the digital cameras. I remember Cliff Schiappa and Mike Martinez from that group. I also remember out team producer, Beth Ryan, who was a schoolteacher and sister to the NYT Magazineâ€™s photo editor. She was something of a big sister figure to all of us, helping with logistics and planning and just calming us down when we got off track.
And much as I have lived my life I spent the weekend doing my best to be a fly on the wall as everything happened around me. I donâ€™t recall making many (if any) really memorable photos. Between the technical challenges of the camera and a certain amount of mental overload I was not at my peak. I still have a CD somewhere with some of my images on it (which clearly I have found).
What I do remember especially are some of the people I met. I remember riding a golf cart across the farm with Eddie and Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and talking about my feelings about the advent of digital photography.
I remember watching the daughters of Donna Ferrato and Bobbi Baker Burrows playing on a tire swing. I remember helping Joe Rosenthal get a photo of Carl Mydans printed and stapled to a stick so he could hold it during the group photo on the last day because Mydans had to leave early and wouldnâ€™t be there for the photo. I remember Rosenthal marveling at the digital technology.
There were fleeting glimpses of some of my friends as they moved through their assignments, looking at their slides, meeting with editors and team leaders.
There were portfolio critiques, which in the end I was too insecure to seek and there was very little sleep.
Like I said, it was an intense experience. In the end perhaps I didnâ€™t get as much out of is as I could, but the memories I do have remain strong and I never hesitate to recommend the opportunity.